Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1187–1205 | Cite as

Assessment of management practices regarding genetic biodiversity in Baltic Sea marine protected areas

  • Annica Sandström
  • Carina Lundmark
  • Eeva Jansson
  • Mari Edman
  • Linda Laikre
Original Paper


The aim of this study is to examine, and tentatively explain, how genetic biodiversity is handled in the management of Baltic Sea Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Genetic biodiversity is critical for species’ adaptation to changing environmental conditions and is protected by international agreements. Nevertheless, recent research indicates that genetic biodiversity is neglected in marine environments and in the management of MPAs. This study focuses on Sweden and Finland, which together govern a substantial part of Baltic Sea MPAs, and builds on in-depth interviews with regional conservation managers that are responsible for establishing and managing these areas. The empirical findings confirm that genetic biodiversity is absent, or plays a minor role, in contemporary MPA management. The findings also provide several possible explanations to this situation: unclear understandings of formal policy, lack of resources, deficient knowledge base, and the managers’ own policy beliefs. Policy makers and high-level managers need to consider these aspects in their efforts to protect biodiversity.


Biodiversity Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Genetic variation HELCOM MPA Marine management Marine policy Implementation resources Policy beliefs 



This work resulted from the BONUS BAMBI project was supported by BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and the Swedish Research Council Formas (219-2013-2045, AS, LL), and additional grants from the Swedish Research Council Formas (215-2012-1550, LL; 942-2015-996, AS).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1435 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 95 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annica Sandström
    • 1
  • Carina Lundmark
    • 1
  • Eeva Jansson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mari Edman
    • 3
  • Linda Laikre
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social SciencesLuleå University of TechnologyLuleåSweden
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ResearchBergenNorway
  3. 3.Division of Population Genetics, Department of ZoologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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