Marine protected areas (MPAs) are widely used as place-based protective measures for restoring and safeguarding marine biodiversity. To design effective and resilient MPAs and coherent networks of MPAs, it is necessary to take into account ecological connectivity which allows populations to thrive and biodiversity and ecosystem services to be maintained.

To date ecological connectivity is among the most infrequent and ineffectively applied ecological criteria in MPA design and evaluation, often because it is difficult to measure. However, connectivity is increasingly being studied in marine systems with enhanced efforts to overcome technical and logistical challenges.

This report by the IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group compiles and schematizes 13 connectivity rules of thumb for MPA and MPA network design.

Lausche, B., Laur, A., Collins, M. (2021). Marine Connectivity Conservation ‘Rules of Thumb’ for MPA and MPA Network Design. Version 1.0. IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group’s Marine Connectivity Working Group.