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Governing Large Marine Protected Areas: Insights from the Remote Phoenix Islands Protected Area

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Title: Governing Large Marine Protected Areas: Insights from the Remote Phoenix Islands Protected Area
Author: Mitchell, Lillian
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Gray, Noella
Abstract: Scholars and practitioners have increasingly identified large marine protected areas (LMPAs) as an effective means of protecting marine life. But despite this recognition, some scientists argue that the political emphasis of LMPAs is undermining the ecological value of these sites and leading to poor social justice outcomes. In attendance to these discourses, this research explores the decision-making processes of LMPAs through a case study analysis of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA). In the summer of 2016 I conducted participant observation, document analysis and interviewed 48 actors about PIPA’s governance structure and its outcomes. Through this process, key themes regarding sovereignty, use of science in decision-making, the role of non-state actors, and communication of benefits emerged. Findings indicate that although PIPA is a remote, uninhabited area, even in remote spaces it is important to consider social benefits. As such, this case signals LMPAs are not the low-hanging fruit of conservation.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/11420
Date: 2017-08-10


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