Handbook available on Marxan good practices

A new handbook describes good practices in the use of Marxan, a popular free software program used as a decision support tool in marine and terrestrial reserve design. Published by the Pacific Marine Analysis & Research Association (PacMARA), the handbook distills the advice of 25 expert users on issues relevant to systematic conservation planning and the use of support tools like Marxan. Although peer-reviewed internally, it is still open to comments and subject to revision. A final version is expected in early 2009.

The Marxan Good Practices Handbook, as well as the previously published Marxan User’s Manual, are available on the PacMARA website at www.pacmara.org. Marxan was described in the October 2004 MPA News, including cases in which it was used to plan marine reserve networks (MPA News 6:4).

New marine World Heritage sites named

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has inscribed two new sites with marine components on its World Heritage List. The Lagoons of New Caledonia represent the main diversity of coral reefs and associated ecosystems in the French Pacific Ocean archipelago of New Caledonia, and are among the three most extensive reef systems in the world. Yemen’s Socotra Archipelago in the northwest Indian Ocean is remarkable for its rich biodiversity and endemism: its marine component has 253 species of reef-building corals, 730 species of coastal fish and 300 species of crab, lobster, and shrimp. For more information, go to http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/451.