Coral Triangle Maps of the Month

The Coral Triangle Maps of the Month is a bi-weekly email that showcases various maps that highlight the diversity and uniqueness of the Coral Triangle region. The maps also show some of the pressing issues that are threatening this very important resource considered the epicenter of the world's marine biodiversity. The maps are generated by the Coral Triangle Atlas team at The WorldFish Center.

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Map 02: Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle

A Marine Protected Area (MPA) is described by the IUCN as a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. Well-managed MPAs can conserve biological diversity, protect fish spawning and nursery habitats, protect shorelines, serve as a platform for scientific research and ecotourism, improve food security, and enhance the quality of life in surrounding communities.MPAs are often the cornerstone of coastal and marine resource management and are considered essential strategies in integrated coastal and fisheries management.

The map above, generated in July 2012, shows the most up to date information on MPAs within the Coral Triangle.The map was created using data from the UNEP-WCMC World Database of Protected Areas (2010) and updated with the latest information from the CT Atlas' partner governments, NGOs, and communities. This map is key to monitoring the progress of  protecting reefs and other marine resources. It is also essential for answering spatial questions such as what percentage of mangrove or reef is under protection.

Despite the importance of MPAs in protecting reefs, the Reefs at Risk Revisited in the Coral Triangle Report shows that only 16 percent of the region's coral reefs are inside MPAs, which is substantially lower than the global average of 28 percent. At the country level, reef coverage is also low.

 The estimated area of reef protected by country in the Coral Triangle      Source: UNEP-WCMC (2010) Global Distribution of Coral Reefs and MPA data compiled by the Coral Triangle Atlas  
   up to July 2012

   Note: Some limitations in this dataset are that MPAs are not defined equally, zoning or the presence of no-take zones
not always recorded, and management effectiveness is not measured. 

Having the latest and best information on MPAs is crucial in sustaining the Coral Triangle and depends on the collaboration of organizations who are working on the ground. If you want to contribute updated data of your MPAs to the CT Atlas, please contact Annick Cros at [email protected].

Want to know more about MPAs in the Coral Triangle?

To know more about  the importance of marine the protected areas in the Coral Triangle, download the briefing paper Improving the Design and Management Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas and Networks in the Coral Triangle. 

To find out more about designing effective and resilient MPAs, download the report Integrating Fisheries, Biodiversity, and Climate Change Objectives into Marine Protected Area Network Design in the Coral Triangle.  

Do you need more maps on the Coral Triangle?

Follow this link to download a high-resolution version of this map from the CT Atlas website
To see more maps, view the CT Atlas Map Gallery online
To generate your own map, check out the CT Atlas interactive map  

About the Coral Triangle Atlas

The Coral Triangle Atlas is an online Geographical Information System (GIS) database providing scientists, governments and NGOs with a view of spatial data at the regional scale. This project will improve the efficiency of conservation planning in the region by giving researchers and managers access to biophysical and socioeconomic information in spatially explicit while encouraging them to share their data to complete the gaps, therefore reducing duplicate data collection efforts and providing the most complete and most current data available.

By contributing data to the CT Atlas, NGO partners, governments and managers are helping to strengthen the effectiveness of conservation activities in the Coral Triangle through improved information flow and access to the region's best datasets.

The CT Atlas is supported by USAID's US CTI Support Program through the Coral Triangle Support Partnership. It also works to inform the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries ad Food Security - a multilateral partnership formed in 2007 by the six Coral Triangle countries to address the urgent threats facing the Coral Triangle.

For more information about the CT Atlas and to contribute data, contact: Annick Cros at [email protected] or ReefBase at [email protected] You can also participate in discussions or submit questions to the CT Atlas forum