Tracking the debate around marine protected areas: key issues and the BEG framework

Andy Thorpe, Maarten Bavinck, Sarah Coulthard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-563
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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