In 1984 when Rod Salm and John Clark wrote the first edition of their textbook Marine and Coastal Protected Areas: A Guide for Planners and Managers, they didn’t expect they might still be working on it 16 years later. Yet that edition sold out, as did a second edition in 1989, and with demand for the book remaining high through the 1990s Salm and Clark agreed last year to undertake a third edition.

That edition — with major revisions to reflect the past decade of developments in MPA practice — is now available. It is worthwhile reading for practitioners looking for a basic handbook or refresher course, particularly in tropical MPAs.

Thanks to the cover of its original 1984 version, the guide has become known as the “Orange Book”. The cover of the new edition is now predominantly blue, but the book’s target audience has remained the same: people who find themselves with mandates to plan an MPA or system of MPAs, and who need some basic ideas and approaches to guide them.

The book offers such ideas while trying to avoid being prescriptive, said Salm, now the director of the Asia-Pacific Coastal Marine Program for The Nature Conservancy. “We are really reluctant to promote blueprints or design-by-numbers approaches,” he said. “Each case is really different, even vastly so.” His advice to practitioners is to approach an area knowing only that there are no pre-formed answers, and to realize that in many instances, even the experts don’t honestly know all the questions to ask.

Changes in the text

The new edition profiles the significant changes observed by Salm and Clark in how practitioners have come to approach the MPA planning process. The biggest change, they say, has come in the increased use and acceptance of community-management methods (i.e., local communities managing resources) and co-management methods (i.e., local communities collaborating with higher government to manage resources).

“What is different is that broad stakeholder participation is now actually being practiced routinely — rather than talked about or dabbled with — and we are learning how to do this better,” said Salm. Acknowledging this, the new edition offers a 14-page chapter titled “Community Engagement”; the 1984 edition devoted no section to such engagement, covering the topic only sporadically.

“If we have learned any lessons about co-management,” said Salm, “they are that the line between co-management and community management is blurred and that there will always be a role for government in it.” He says that the government’s role could be as simple as providing recognition and support for the rights and responsibilities of fisher communities, NGOs, or the private sector over areas that these stakeholders manage.

Clark, an adjunct scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida (US), points out that part of the basic philosophy of MPA planning and management may have changed in the past two decades as well. “Previous to the 1980s, MPA design was held captive to terrestrial ideas that had a strong no-touch ‘preservation’ philosophy,” he said. “Now there is a wider scope for design of MPAs with a multiple-use ‘conservation’ approach. In fact, many MPA management programs are now aimed at sustainable use, not no use.”

Despite these changes, said the authors, the book’s audience still faces many of the same challenges that it faced 20 years ago. “It is surprising how many people in how many countries of the world are still struggling with the same challenge: How do I go about selecting the site and establishing an MPA?” said Salm. “Even when MPAs have been established in name and now require management, the challenge of how to go about determining boundaries and zones is still there for many practitioners.”

Edition focuses on tropical MPAs

The new edition focuses in particular on MPAs in tropical waters, marking the first time the Orange Book has narrowed its focus this way. The first two editions covered tropical, temperate, and polar protected areas. The authors cite several reasons for the change, including that, over the years, most of the feedback and requests for copies of the book have come from practitioners in tropical regions.

“These countries are greatly in need of technical information and advice,” said Clark. He points out that tropical countries exhibit a relatively high dependence on coastal resources for food and economic inputs. To serve the tropical audience, the new edition offers 25 case histories of tropical MPAs and provides sections with tailored advice for planning and managing MPAs in various tropical ecosystems, including coral reefs, lagoons, and (primarily sandy) beaches.

IUCN (the World Conservation Union) has published the book since its first edition. John Waugh, director of the IUCN Marine Programme, said that this edition’s focus on tropical systems was in part due to the sense that in temperate areas, most managers have access to science advisors and are generally well-trained. Thus, the book would tend to be too general for them, he said. He added, however, that he would be open to considering the need for a companion book to cover temperate MPAs.

Waugh said IUCN is looking into the possibility of translating the new edition into Arabic, Spanish, and Thai this year.

Need for more MPA resources

Salm and Clark cite the need, beyond their book, for more resources to guide MPA planning and management. Clark suggests that readers of the guide would be well-advised to extend their reading into the area of broad coastal management on the one hand and detailed technical instruction on the other.

Salm says that MPA management is more difficult to learn from a basic textbook than MPA planning. “It is in management that the greatest difference in approach lies, and where a compendium of practical texts on different management techniques would be the most useful,” he said. He said such techniques could include the installation and maintenance of moorings; conflict management and outreach approaches; surveillance and enforcement techniques; financing mechanisms; and so on.

The authors point out that this edition, like the first two editions, was a voluntary exercise, and will generate no gain for them other than the hope that more MPAs will be established and effectively managed as a result of its publication. The field of MPA planning and management is constantly changing, and so the book represents a snapshot in time. “We would never claim the book to be a state-of-the-art treatise on MPAs,” said Salm. “It is simply the good old Orange Book updated as much as is reasonable, and back on the shelves by popular demand.”

For more information:

Rod Salm, Asia-Pacific Coastal Marine Program, The Nature Conservancy, 923 Nu’uanu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA. Tel: +1 808 587 6284; Email:

John Clark, P.O. Box 420-313, Ramrod Key, FL 33042, USA. Tel: +1 305 872 4114; E-mail:

John Waugh, IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Washington Office, 1630 Connecticut Avenue NW #300, Washington, DC 20009, USA. Tel +1 202 518 2057; E-mail:

To order the book:

The third edition of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas: A Guide for Planners and Managers costs £20.50 (US $30.75). It can be ordered (Order #8563) from the IUCN Publications Services Unit, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK. E-mail:;