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Evaluation of spatial fragmentation of protected areas using the Spatial Assessment for Coastal Protected Areas in Caribbean Small Island Developing States

Johnson, CAB


CAB Johnson


C Trillo

C Pathirage


Climate change empirical evidence points towards anthropogenic practices, coupled with natural processes causing heighten human exposure to hazardous climatic conditions. Caribbean Small Island Developing States (Caribbean SIDS) represent a distinct group of developing countries where populations are regulated to living in coastal zones due the geographic size of the islands. The disaster risk implications to communities in coastal zones is greater due to the climate change consequences of sea level rise along with the increase frequency and intensity of storms. Although there is substantial research to support the retention of contiguous coastal ecosystems as a response to disasters, coastal ecosystems in Caribbean SIDS are plagued with the continued human encroachment. Resulting in heighten vulnerabilities for burgeoning coastal communities.
Of particular concern to this research is the persistent increase of human settlements fostering the fragmentation of protected coastal ecosystems as existing studies to monitor the spatial fragmentation on protected coastal ecosystems in the Caribbean SIDS is limited. The Spatial Assessment for Coastal Protected Areas (SACPA) aims to address this research gap through a theoretical supported, open science approach that determines the extent of loss of natural habitat in coastal protected areas and reports on the context specific conditions that foster this trend. As a new contribution to research, the SACPA provides this necessary insight utilizing open science practices to ensure that the approach can be conducted with minimal technical proficiency. This research promotes accessibility to research in protected areas through an approach where data can be collected and analyzed by community stakeholders. Open science practices are also an integral part of community research designs as it ensures that the most vulnerable are able to access the data that could inform decisions on the growth of human settlements.
Through this research endeavor, the SACPA was developed and tested via mixed method, comparative case study research design. It uncovered that despite geographic similarities, the vulnerabilities of the coastal communities of the Caribbean SIDS are not inherently the same. Based on the findings of this research mixed method research design is recommended as an integral to context specific research. This type of research design revealed the political and cultural nuisances that influence human encroachment in Caribbean SIDS. It also reiterated studies that highlight spatial change as a function of human behaviour, namely that key political and socio-cultural practices impact spatial growth patterns and therefore foster vulnerabilities in coastal communities.


Johnson, C. Evaluation of spatial fragmentation of protected areas using the Spatial Assessment for Coastal Protected Areas in Caribbean Small Island Developing States. (Thesis). University of Salford

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Apr 8, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2020
Award Date Jan 1, 2020


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