Mapping stakeholder values for coastal zone management

Ana Ruiz-Frau, Gareth Edwards-Jones, M. J. Kaiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


There is a growing recognition of the need to incorporate multiple values in environmental management plans. While biological and, increasingly, economic values are considered in the design of management strategies, community or stakeholder values are not often taken into account. We mapped stakeholders' values for marine ecosystems and assessed their preferences for the location and type of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the coast of Wales (UK). Stakeholders were chosen to represent a comprehensive range of interests in the marine environment. Fourteen different types of value were identified by stakeholders. The spatial distribution of the different values attached to the marine environment was ascertained; this revealed the existence of areas where multiple values overlapped. Results indicated that areas perceived as ecologically important also possessed high heritage and leisure values. When locating MPAs, stakeholders balanced conservation needs with societal demands by protecting areas identified as ecologically important while avoiding those areas where restrictions could have a considerable impact on society. Data suggested a preference for MPAs that permitted a range of adequately regulated anthropogenic activities. The distribution of stakeholders' values and the identification of areas of multiple value help managers to understand the potential consequences of particular management strategies, and allow them to be aware of the location of areas where greater consideration is required when designing management plans, as multiple interests may overlap. Thus, mapping stakeholders' values in the marine environment provides a useful tool for identifying areas better suited for specific management regulations and for the development of comprehensive marine spatial plans, as these require the understanding of the spatial heterogeneity of the different ecosystem components including both ecological and human elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-249
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2011


  • Community values
  • Ecosystem service
  • Marine protected area
  • Marine spatial planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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