Guide for Planners and Managers to Design Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate

Posted on: 9/19/2018 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

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Climate change, along with pollution and overfishing, is one of the great challenges facing North America’s shared oceans today. Through the project Engaging Communities to Conserve Marine Biodiversity through NAMPAN (North American Marine Protected Areas Network)1 the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) gathered scientific information on the impact of climate change on marine protected area (MPA) networks to improve the design and management process for healthier, more resilient oceans. This guide is intended to help MPA program and network planners and managers meet the climate change challenge by providing four guidelines:

  • Guideline 1: Protect Species and Habitats with Crucial Ecosystem Roles or Those of Special Conservation Concern
  • Guideline 2: Protect Potential Carbon Sinks
  • Guideline 3: Protect Ecological Linkages and Connectivity Pathways for a Wide Range of Species
  • Guideline 4: Protect the Full Range of Biodiversity Present in the Target Biogeographic Area

Several sequential steps are suggested under each of the four guidelines, which are intended to provide a practical method or action plan for planners and managers to follow to achieve each goal. A summary table at the end of the guide presents the requirements, potential costs and levels of effort ranked as low, moderate or high to give users a quick sense of the tangible requirements to carry out each action plan.