Environmental Management

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 546–563 | Cite as

Tracking the Debate Around Marine Protected Areas: Key Issues and the BEG Framework



Marine conservation is often criticized for a mono-disciplinary approach, which delivers fragmented solutions to complex problems with differing interpretations of success. As a means of reflecting on the breadth and range of scientific research on the management of the marine environment, this paper develops an analytical framework to gauge the foci of policy documents and published scientific work on Marine Protected Areas. We evaluate the extent to which MPA research articles delineate objectives around three domains: biological-ecological [B]; economic-social[E]; and governance-management [G]. This permits us to develop an analytic [BEG] framework which we then test on a sample of selected journal article cohorts. While the framework reveals the dominance of biologically focussed research [B], analysis also reveals a growing frequency of the use of governance/management terminology in the literature over the last 15 years, which may be indicative of a shift towards more integrated consideration of governance concerns. However, consideration of the economic/social domain appears to lag behind biological and governance concerns in both frequency and presence in MPA literature.


Marine protected area Governance Marine fisheries Content analysis 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK
  2. 2.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.University of UlsterLondonderryUK

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