Dear Reader,

Amid this pandemic and its impacts across our work and lives, I know many of us have wished for everything to return to normal. With vaccines for COVID-19 starting to roll out, there is reason for hope.

If things returned to normal in the MPA field, what would that look like? Before COVID-19, most MPAs lacked adequate funding to meet their goals. Many sites relied on just one revenue stream. Way too many MPAs were paper parks. That was our normal.

Is that what we want again? Or do we want to build a new normal with better financing and greater effectiveness? That’s easier said than done, I know. But if new ambitious goals for national and global MPA coverage – like 30% by 2030 – are to be reached without simply creating a glut of underfunded paper parks, we’ll need to improve the ways we do things.

This is why MPA News has dedicated most of our reporting this past year to new ideas in MPA financing, in addition to how sites and practitioners have responded to COVID. We continue that focus in this issue.

In 2021, we anticipate returning to more of a traditional mix of coverage. But MPA News will continue to highlight new ideas and strategies, including expertise from other fields. Because if our field simply returns to our old normal ways of doing things, that will not be good enough.

On behalf of the MPA News team and the broader OCTO family of projects, I wish you a happy, healthy, and productive new year. Please stay in touch.

John Davis, Editor