Monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas: A generic framework for implementation of ecosystem based marine management and its application

Vanessa Stelzenmüller, Patricia Breen, Tammy Stamford, Frank Thomsen, Fabio Badalamenti, Ángel Borja, Lene Buhl-Mortensen, Julia Carlstöm, Giovanni D’Anna, Norbert Dankers, Steven Degraer, Mike Dujin, Fabio Fiorentino, Ibon Galparsoro, Sylvaine Giakoumi, Michele Gristina, Kate Johnson, Peter J.S. Jones, Stelios Katsanevakis, Leyla KnittweisZacharoula Kyriazi, Carlo Pipitone, Joanna Piwowarczyk, Marijn Rabaut, Thomas Kirk Sørensen, Jan van Dalfsen, Vassiliki Vassilopoulou, Tomás Vega Fernández, Magda Vincx, Sandra Vöge, Anke Weber, Nicklas Wijkmark, Robbert Jak, Wanfei Qiu, Remment ter Hofstede, Kim Acott, Minghua Zhao Julie Urquhart

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study introduces a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas (SMAs), which is currently being tested by nine European case studies. The framework provides guidance on the selection, mapping, and assessment of ecosystem components and human pressures, the evaluation of management effectiveness and potential adaptations to management. Moreover, it provides a structured approach with advice on spatially explicit tools for practical tasks like the assessment of cumulative impacts of human pressures or pressure-state relationships. The case studies revealed emerging challenges, such as the lack of operational objectives within SMAs, particularly for transnational cases, data access, and stakeholder involvement. Furthermore, the emerging challenges of integrating the framework assessment using scientific information with a structured governance research analysis based mainly on qualitative information are addressed. The lessons learned will provide a better insight into the full range of methods and approaches required to support the implementation of the ecosystem approach to marine spatial management in Europe and elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Policy
Pages (from-to)149-164
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adaptive management
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Management effectiveness
  • Risk analysis
  • Spatially explicit tools
  • Operational objectives


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