The purpose of the DEMARN project is to explore the physical elements of the marine environment of the coast of Israel and other Mediterranean Sea countries and their spatial character, principles of conservation, human needs and institutional constraints related to the establishment of marine protected areas.

The project’s main goal is to identify institutional and societal constructs that are frequently left out of decision-making for marine protected area design and management. Research conclusions will be based on comparison of spatial outcomes.

DEMARN researchers’ task will focus on synthesizing approaches that have addressed the challenges of working in a multi-faceted, high-use marine environment in which there are varying levels of information, challenges of cooperation between local and regional managers, scientists and users and difficulty soliciting the input of relevant stakeholders.

Major phases of the research are: 1) development of a typology of the designation of terrestrial reserves in Israel and marine reserves in the territorial waters of countries along the Mediterranean Sea; 2) review and application of appropriate decision support tools that can address institutional challenges in the Mediterranean context using Israel as a case study 3) comparison of outcomes from the use of decision support tools chosen based on the country context needs and actual reserve design and management plans proposed by the nature protection authorities of the particular countries.

DEMARN will inform regulators, policymakers and conservationists about what various theoretical views and values mean when applied to conditions in the field (both in terms of physical resources and institutional constructs) and how and to what extent real-world outcomes engender preferred practices based on integrated management and ecosystem based management for marine reserves in a network context.