Collaboration, Legitimacy, and Awareness in Puget Sound MPAs

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Previous studies suggest that collaboration between management agencies and the public has the potential to increase public approval of marine protected areas (MPAs). A social survey was conducted in seven communities near Puget Sound MPAs to (1) measure the degree of perceived collaboration between government agencies and the public at each site, (2) identify factors related to agency–public collaboration, and (3) test whether government agency–public collaboration is related to increased process legitimacy. Results show that two independent variables: (a) whether resource users perceived that adequate information was used and (b) whether all views were taken into consideration are key factors explaining variance in perceived collaboration across MPA sites. Both were significantly correlated with perceived collaboration with Spearman rho rank-order correlations of 0.56 and 0.64, respectively (p < .05). Perceptions of collaboration are also significantly correlated with a measure of process legitimacy. Perceived collaboration is shown to account for 33.1% of the variance in process legitimacy, and process legitimacy is shown to mediate the relationship between perceived collaboration and public support.

Keywords: MPAs; Puget Sound; collaboration; legitimacy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Marine and Environmental Affairs,University of Washington, Seattle,Washington, USA 2: School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies,University of Washington, Seattle,Washington, USA 3: Department of Marine Affairs & Coastal Resources Center,University of Rhode Island, Kingston,Rhode Island, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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