Marine Reserves Can Mitigate and Promote Adaptation to Climate Change

Callum M. Roberts, Bethan C. O’Leary, Douglas J. McCauley, Philippe Maurice Cury, Carlos M. Duarte, Jane Lubchenco, Daniel Pauly, Andrea Saenz-Arroyo, Ussif Rashid Sumaila, Rod W. Wilson, Boris Worm, Juan Carlos Castilla
Created: 12/29/2020 -

Abstract

Strong decreases in greenhouse gas emissions are required to meet the reduction trajectory resolved within the 2015 Paris Agreement. However, even these decreases will not avert serious stress and damage to life on Earth, and additional steps are needed to boost the resilience of ecosystems, safeguard their wildlife, and protect their capacity to supply vital goods and services. We discuss how well-managed marine reserves may help marine ecosystems and people adapt to five prominent impacts of climate change: acidification, sea-level rise, intensification of storms, shifts in species distribution, and decreased productivity and oxygen availability, as well as their cumulative effects. We explore the role of managed ecosystems in mitigating climate change by promoting carbon sequestration and storage and by buffering against uncertainty in management, environmental fluctuations, directional change, and extreme events. We highlight both strengths and limitations and conclude that marine reserves are a viable low-tech, cost-effective adaptation strategy that would yield multiple co-benefits from local to global scales, improving the outlook for the environment and people into the future.

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Keywords

Adaptation Phase
Sharing Lessons
Scale
Multilateral / Transboundary
Sector Addressed
Aquaculture
Biodiversity
Conservation / Restoration
Fisheries
Research
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Enhance migration corridors and other connectivity measures
Create new refugia / Increase size and amount of protected areas
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Develop / implement adaptive management strategies
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Temperature
Diseases or parasites
Fishery harvest
Ocean acidification
Oxygen concentrations (hypoxia)
Range shifts
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events
Water quality
Water temperature
Habitat/Biome Type
Marine
Benthic
Pelagic
Reef
Region
International