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Useful GUIDELINES, METHODOLOGIES and DOCUMENTS relating to Marine Spatial Planning

Document Name and Link


Balance Report on GIS tools for marine spatial planning and management

Tools are described that give examples of the approaches that can be taken in GIS to deal with aspects of marine nature conservation, the biophysical and socio-economical aspects of the sea, management through marine spatial planning and the assessment of management performance Twelve biophysical tools are described in detail. Socio-economical factors are dealt with in seven pressure tools and two state tools. The same tools may be used as indicators for the assessment of management performance using biophysical, socio-economic and governance factors. The tools are to be considered as first generation, which need testing and further development if adapted for specific purposes. This work was partly financed by the European development fund BSR INTERREG IIIB Neighbourhood Programme and partly by the involved partners.

E-participation as tool in planning processes

This report focuses on stakeholder involvement and e-participation in spatial planning. E-participation is a web-based interface for participation in planning processes that provides the opportunity for everyone to participate and make the users independent of physical offices, working hours and meetings. Information and decision backgrounds are available for everybody and discussion processes can be documented and stored.

Ecological-niche factor analysis: how to compute
habitat-suitability maps without absence data?

This paper describes a multivariate approach to the study of geographic species distribution which does not require absence data. This factor analysis compares the distribution of the localities where the focal species was observed to a reference set describing the whole study area. This approach is recommended in situations where absence data are not available, unreliable, or meaningless.

Stakeholder engagement strategies for participatory planning

Participatory mapping engages stakeholders in a mapping process to identify their resources, perspectives, and priorities. Through sharing this information, stakeholders become part of decision-making, and the process of creating maps can become as important to building community consensus as the maps themselves.
This publication provides some simple strategies for facilitators leading a participatory mapping process. While there are many aspects of participatory mapping, this publication focuses primarily on stakeholder involvement. Topics addressed include

  • Understanding the basics of participatory mapping
  • Knowing when participatory mapping is appropriate
  • Identifying and working with stakeholders
  • Collecting and reporting information

Marine Spatial Planning Stakeholder Analysis

The report provides current information on the audiences involved in coastal and marine spatial planning in the USA. In addition, the material is organized by NOAA-defined regions, making information easily accessible for a specific state or area.
The report discusses several common themes, including

  • Governance
  • The scale of MSP
  • MSP drivers
  • Data resources
  • Stakeholder engagement and support
  • The future of MSP

Introduction to Stakeholder Participation

This publication discusses some of the most important considerations in stakeholder participation and offers a guide to the most common techniques. Specifically, the document helps in

  • Determining when stakeholder participation is needed
  • Identifying and analyzing stakeholders
  • Stakeholder participation in practice
  • Evaluating the processes

Marine Managed Areas: Best Practice for Boundary Making

This handbook was written by the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Marine Boundary Working Group and sponsored by the National Marine Protected Areas Center. It represents the current best practices for marine boundary delimitation.This publication provides a short, useful guide for writing boundary descriptions for federal, state, or local MMAs within U.S. waters and for developing those boundaries within a GIS environment.
The best practices presented within this handbook are listed under three broad categories, or steps, that outline the general boundary delimitation process and the knowledge that a boundary developer must draw upon. These steps include:

  • Step 1. Conceptualize the Marine Managed Area: This step explores the context and circumstances surrounding the creation of a new MMA that a boundary developer should examine as part of the development process.
  • Step 2. Describe the Marine Boundary: This step provides guidance for writing the description of a marine boundary.
  • Step 3. Generate the Digital Boundary: This step points boundary developers to authoritative data sources and provides sound practices for developing, documenting, and disseminating digital boundary files.

CBD Technical Series No 13: Technical advice
on the establishment and management of a national system of marine and coastal protected areas#

The objective of this document is to provide technical advice on the establishment and management of MCPAs and networks of MCPAs. The document contains the key relevant
information that is needed to make MCPAs work at a national level and provides useful guidance for national level implementation of the Jakarta Mandate.



Marine Spatial Planning: A step-by-step approach towards Ecosystem-Based Management

This guide provides a clear step-by-step approach to show you how to set up and apply marine spatial planning. It is intended for professionals responsible for the planning and management of marine areas and their resources. It is especially targeted to situations in which time, finances, information and other resources are limited.

An Interactive, Online Geographic Information System (GIS) for Stakeholder Participation in Environmental Site Selection

by Christiaan Scott Adams

An interactive, online geographic information system (GIS) was developed to enhance the involvement of stakeholders in the public participation processes of site selection issues in the marine environment. Displaying educational material and interactive maps of relevant data, this new tool allows users to input personal preferences for the criteria they value in the siting decision, and produces a map showing the most and least suitable sites according to the user's weighting of the criteria. Current decision-making processes focus on finding an optimum solution from a number of alternatives using an objective analysis of the criteria, but are often inaccessible to many stakeholders, and do not consider the fairness of the outcome to the stakeholders. This tool is intended to educate stakeholders and enhance their involvement in the public decision-making process.

Geographic Technologies Applied to Marine Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Scientific Editors: Helena Calado & Artur Gil

Geotechnologies are revolutionizing the management of marine resources. What used to be hidden or inaccessible via traditional methods are now made available through remote sensing, tracking technologies and global positioning systems. These technologies enable the mapping and documentation of ecosystem characteristics for each location such as marine habitats, types of species, living and mineral resources, sea bottom morphology, and environmental condition. The capability of superimposing and analyzing these new data for each location and among various locations ensures a greater alignment with the ecosystem-based approach, which is defined as the overarching principle by the European Commission.

An Inventory of GIS-based decision support tools for MPAs
Prepared by the National Marine Protected Areas Center
in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Coastal Services Center(Danielle Pattison, David dosReis, and Hamilton Smillie)

The bulk of this inventory is in a list format with a
descriptive summary of each tool explaining what
the tool does, who developed it, what types of data
are necessary to use it, if it is geographically specific,
and how it may be useful to MPA activities.
In addition to describing tools that are currently
available for use, the inventory also lists tools
that are under development or are the intended
outcomes of current projects.

Environmental Indicators: Typology and Overview  
Prepared by:
Edith Smeets and Rob Weterings
(TNO Centre for Strategy, Technology and Policy, The Netherlands).

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the EEA 'Typology of indicators'and the DPSIR framework (Driving forces, Pressure, State, Impact, Response) used by the European Environment Agency in its reporting
activities. This report should help policy-makers to understand the meaning of the information in indicator reports.

Managing, Analysing and Presenting Public Submissions to Achieve Marine Park Planning Outcomes: An example from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
 by Innes, J, Gorman, K, McKellar, C, Lowe, D, Jago, B., Fernandes, L., Mackay, J. and Harris, G

This paper describes the process and tools developed to manage, analyse and present the 31,540 public submissions received by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority during the 2002 and 2003 planning process to re-zone the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The re-zoning, which aimed to achieve the goal of biodiversity protection by implementing a network of no-take marine reserves throughout the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, was the most extensive public planning exercise undertaken by the GBRMPA. The process to manage, analyse and present the submissions made use of qualitative methods, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and innovative database design.

A concept for biological valuation in the marine environment


In order to develop management strategies for sustainable use and conservation in the marine environment, reliable and meaningful, but integrated ecological information is needed. Biological valuation maps that compile and summarize all available biological and ecological information for a study area, and that allocate an overall biological value to subzones, can be used as baseline maps for future spatial planning at sea. This paper provides a concept for marine biological valuation which is based on a literature review of existing valuation criteria and the consensus reached by a discussion group of experts.

Building on the concept of marine biological valuation with respect to translating it to a practical protocol: Viewpoints derived from a joint
ENCORA--MARBEF initiative

Marine biological valuation provides a comprehensive concept for assessing the intrinsic value of subzones within a study area. This paper gives an update on the
concept of marine biological valuation as described by Derous et al. (2007). This concept was based on a literature review of existing ecological valuation criteria and the consensus reached by a discussion group of experts during an international workshop in December 2004. The concept was discussed during an ENCORA --MARBEF workshop in December 2006, which resulted in the fine-tuning of the concept of marine biological valuation, especially with respect to its applicability
to marine areas.


20 July 2010: EditorsJeff A. Ardron, Hugh P. Possingham & Carissa J. Klein

DECISION GUIDE: Selecting decision support tools for marine spatial planning

The Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) and PacMARA have just released a guide to a selection of decision support tools.
This guide is intended to assist practitioners in selecting appropriate decision support tools (DSTs) that can help them conduct marine spatial planning in their own jurisdictions.
DSTs that use interactive software including maps, models, communication modules, and additional components can help solve problems that are too complex and multi-faceted to solve using human intuition or conventional approaches alone.

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