Leandra Gonçalves, Ph.D.


Leandra Gonçalves, Ph.D.

Improving marine conservation in the São Paulo State Marine Protected Areas Network

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are often advanced as a conservation solution that can benefit both people and ecosystems. But their effectiveness usually depends on engagement from local stakeholders, who are often left out of protected area design and decision-making processes.

Leandra Gonçalves will work with stakeholders of the São Paulo State Marine Protected Areas Network, which is in a highly populated and industrialized region of Brazil, to test methods for improving local participation in MPA management. Using an analytical tool known as “Nature’s Contributions to People,” which enables diverse stakeholders to understand and quantify how nature benefits humans, Gonçalves will collaboratively produce maps of marine ecosystems in the MPA network, including their condition and the ecological services they provide. She will also investigate the role of social relationships in promoting marine conservation. This information will be shared through a series of workshops with stakeholders and decision-makers and an online toolkit of best practices for stakeholder-driven methods of improving MPA management.

To learn more about Gonçalves, read her bio.

See the full list of 2023 Pew marine fellows.

Photo credit: Deborah Gallo
Two small dogs—one dark gray and one black with white highlights around its face and white and tan coloring on the tips of its paws—sit on the sand beside two women who are standing and talking on the beach. In the background, a couple of other beachgoers stroll along the water’s edge near the palm tree-lined coast.
Leandra Gonçalves (foreground, right) speaks with a beachgoer in São Paulo, Brazil, as part of her work to engage communities in managing marine protected areas.
Deborah Gallo

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