The US Man and the Biosphere Program, a federal multiagency initiative, has published a reference manual to help MPA practitioners develop user-access strategies. It is a product of a five-year, peer-reviewed project to assess impacts of various MPA management schemes.

Alternative Access Management Strategies for Marine and Coastal Protected Areas: A Reference Manual for Their Development and Assessment offers a flowchart of the major components of managing MPAs. Its chapters — short, relatively introductory essays — follow the flowchart and offer references to sources of additional information. The topics range from establishing a legal framework and vision statement, to assessing ecosystem health and involving local stakeholders in decisionmaking.

The editor, Michael Crosby of the US Agency for International Development, said the project team purposefully kept the book succinct. It is not intended to be a comprehensive document covering all aspects of marine and coastal protected areas. Rather, said Crosby, it should serve as a quick-reference “cookbook” for managers interested in adapting its guidelines to their own operational situations.

Practitioners who are already familiar with most aspects of MPA management may still benefit from the book’s mini-case examples distributed throughout the text. The cases — featuring management strategies in the Florida Keys, Hawaii, and the Channel Islands (California) — help illustrate how particular access-management strategies can be applied. Although the cases are US-based, the book’s target audience is global, said Crosby.

To order the book:

Hard copies of Alternative Access Management Strategies… are available free of charge. To order, or to get more information on the book, contact Michael Crosby, Agency for International Development, Global Environment Center, Room 3.08, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20523-3800, USA. Tel: +1 202 712 1750; E-mail: