Boundaries and zoning in coastal zone

"One of the major problems in attempts to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems is determining their boundaries to use them in the protected area design. Protected area boundaries used to be dependent mainly on three variables, namely geological features, political districts or costs. If ecological boundaries cannot be identified in an appropriate manner, the result will be inappropriate boundaries and zoning of the protected area. There is no consensus on the ideal size and design of Marine Protected Area (MPA), some being in favor of “disaggregation" whereas others favoring “aggregation". Although the method of disaggregation is suitable for terrestrial protected areas, they are not equally effective when it comes to underwater areas. The best approach to the latter group of areas seems to be “aggregation" coupled with an effective use zoning scheme (Salm et al., 2000)."

“The requirements of local residents, tourism development and the conservation values and needs within an MPA often conflict with each other. It is possible to make tourism in MPAs harmonious with conversation of most areas. Even so, the construction of tourist facilities around places bordering the MPA might lead to certain damage. MPAs are often designed so that they allow for controlled and sustainable uses within their boundaries. However, the MPA should have certain zones allocated for certain appropriate uses. The method of zoning is commonly used to make sure that the most sensitive and ecologically valuable areas are free of people and the impact of visitors is limited (Salm et al., 2000). “

“One activity might be more suitable for a habitat than others. Therefore, areas should be zoned in a way that i) damaging activities are kept out of sensitive habitats, ii) intensive use is permitted only in certain sites, and iii) conflicts are prevented through a separation of incompatible activities (Salm et al., 2000).“

Zoning methodology

Activities in management zones are designed in reference to the objectives of the reserve.

The intensity of management changes from one zone to another.

“Defining the core zones, or sanctuaries. “Core zones" are defined as habitats with high conversation values vulnerable to disturbances. Such areas can be used by humans only at a minimum level and managed for a high level of protection. In accordance with both conservation objectives and replenishing depleted stocks, areas should be allocated for a breeding population of the key species and their support systems. Core zones should be designed so that they will contain as many diverse habitats as possible (Balm et al., 2000)."

“Defining the use zones. Dedicated zones in a protected area are sites with special conservation value and can tolerate different types of uses by human beings. It is useful to map different neighboring habitats and to ensure that the protected area boundary has as many of these as possible. There should be harmony between the types and locations of required zones and the range of activities. Areas among and around these zones can be considered as general conservation zones (Balm et al., 2000).“

“Defining buffer zones. It is sometimes necessary to have a buffer zone which allows for a more liberal but still controlled range of uses. Such zones are set up in order to protect the area from encroachment and other activities that might have an impact on ecosystems. Buffer zones are a significant way of keeping external influences out of MPAs, for currents can carry nutrients, pollutants and sediments over great distances. The way an external buffer and the MPA is managed is different, the latter requiring cooperation of authorities outside of the MPA (Balm et al., 2000)."