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2001 Thesis Abstract: Yoko TamuraThesis Abstracts and Publications of SMEA Students 1978-2018 >2001

Rapid Appraisal of Social Pattern of Use in the Design of Marine Protected Areas Using Geographic Information System Case Study of the Orca Pass Initiative

Yoko Tamura

Committee Members:
Professor Dave Fluharty, Chair
Professor Terrie Klinger, Member
Professor Kathleen Bell, Member


The Orca Pass Transboundary Marine Protected Area Initiative (OPI) is a proposal to consider increased protection for the marine environment and species in the transboundary waters between Canada and the United States in the vicinity of the San Juan and Gulf Islands. This initiative is facing a need to incorporate social information in its design process.

While the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a participatory tool for stakeholders has been proven effective in MPA planning, the collection of social data poses a unique challenge that is distinct from the collection of biological data. First, the collection of socioeconomic information relevant to marine reserves design usually requires tremendous time, cost and effort. Second, the level of work required for information collection increases further when the level of participation or commitment of user groups is low. When there is little commitment to and distrust for MPA designation among stakeholders, how can social data collected with GIS technology be most effective to support outreach activities? In addition, what are the most critical data that should be collected? This thesis explores ways to incorporate social data in the design of OPI with a Rapid Appraisal Method (RAM) using GIS as a tool for information collection.

Case studies have shown that information referred to as 'pattern of use' can be an effective surrogate for a more extensive information collection process. The combined use of GIS and RAM can be effective in gaining social data and it can assist in generating commitments through stakeholder participation. GIS works as a participatory tool by graphically displaying information that represents stakeholders' patterns of use. RAM provides a less expensive, easier method to the typically difficult task of social data collection. This mechanism which facilitates stakeholder integration in obtaining patterns of use and local knowledge information may help generate the commitments of the stakeholders for data collection and may be important for long-term success of OPI.

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