Does Marine Conservation Mitigate Climate Change?

Ocean Climate Change

Climate change refers to long-term changes in temperature and weather patterns and has become a matter of increasing concern.

Scientists discover the first evidence that marine conservation helps to reduce climate change.

Marine protected areas act as a safeguard for oceans, seas, and estuaries. These regions help in the preservation of the plants and animals that are native to these waters, but the advantages of protected areas go well beyond their boundaries. A group of experts describes how marine protected areas support ecological and social adaptation to climate change and help in the sequestration of carbon in a study that was recently published in the journal One Earth

“Marine protected areas are increasingly being promoted as an ocean-based climate solution. Yet such claims remain controversial due to the diffuse and poorly synthesized literature on climate benefits of marine protected areas,” write the authors. “To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a systematic literature review of 22,403 publications spanning 241 marine protected areas.”

The scientists discovered that carbon sequestration increased significantly in marine-protected seagrass areas, mangroves, and regions where sediment was not trawled. “Partial or full degradation of mangroves and seagrass both resulted in similar decreases of sequestered carbon, indicating that even low levels of human impact result in important carbon emissions,” they write.

In addition to boosting carbon sequestration, preserved areas were more biodiverse, had increased species richness, and showed benefits for humans, too. Marine-protected areas had greater food security, and fish stocks in waters adjacent to these protected areas swelled. The authors note that the mitigation and adaptation benefits of these protected areas were only achieved under high levels of protection and that benefits increased the longer an area had been protected.

“Across all four pathways analyzed, only full and high levels of protection resulted in mitigation or adaptation benefits,” they write. “In contrast, low levels of protection generated no benefits. Furthermore, increases in species richness and in fishers’ income only occurred for fully protected areas, where no fishing is allowed.”

Reference: “Ocean conservation boosts climate change mitigation and adaptation” by Juliette Jacquemont, Robert Blasiak, Chloé Le Cam, Maël Le Gouellec and Joachim Claudet, 21 October 2022, One Earth.
DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2022.09.002

Cell Press

Recent Posts

This Week @NASA: Work to Do Outside Space Station, Perseverance Completes Mars Sample Depot

Work to do outside the space station … Honoring a pair of former astronauts ……

February 5, 2023

New Study Alarms: Ultra-Processed Foods Linked to Increased Risk of Cancer & Death

Higher consumption of ultra-processed foods may be linked to an increased risk of developing and…

February 5, 2023

Rare Fossilized Feathers Reveal Secrets of Ancient Paleontology Hotspot

The early Cretaceous bird fossils hold key information about the ancient ecosystem of Jehol Biota.…

February 5, 2023

Unprecedented Precision – New DNA Sequencing Method Lifts “Veil” From Genome Black Box

Many life-saving medications interact directly with DNA to treat illnesses like cancer, but scientists have…

February 5, 2023

Overcoming Children’s Peanut Allergies: Boiled Peanuts Show Promise

According to the results of a clinical trial at Flinders University and SAHMRI, boiling peanuts…

February 5, 2023

Unlocking the Secrets of Cellular Uptake: Revolutionary Discovery Paves Way for New Cancer and Disease Treatments

Revolutionary bitopic inhibitors pave the way for innovative disease treatment strategies. The development of drugs…

February 5, 2023