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Ocean Ecosystems Transforming Due to Climate Change

They also help to offset declines in ocean and fisheries productivity caused by climate change, for example through the growing acidification of seawater and the reduction in plankton abundance. The reserves protect key coastal systems — mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses — creating localised reductions in carbon dioxide concentrations and water acidity. And they can provide refuges for fish as they adjust their ranges to changing conditions.

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Previously published research revealed that marine reserves can promote the rapid recovery of exploited species and damaged habitats while safeguarding intact ecosystems. With fishing outlawed and other human activity limited, they can create very productive areas which allow exploited stocks and degraded habitats to recover.

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These benefits are greater in large, long-established, well-managed reserves that have full protection from activities such as fishing and oil and mineral extraction. Relative isolation from damaging human activities adds further conservation benefits.

The research shows that protecting more of the ocean will also improve the outlook for environmental recovery after greenhouse gas emissions have been brought under control. This article was produced by Climate News Network.

While ambitious mitigation and adaptation are both needed, the ocean provides major opportunities for action to reduce climate change globally and its impacts on vital ecosystems and ecosystem services. A comprehensive and systematic assessment of 13 global- and local-scale, ocean-based measures was performed to help steer the development and implementation of technologies and actions toward a sustainable outcome.

This research show that 1 all measures have tradeoffs and multiple criteria must be used for a comprehensive assessment of their potential, 2 greatest benefit is derived by combining global and local solutions, some of which could be implemented or scaled-up immediately, 3 some measures are too uncertain to be recommended yet, 4 political consistency must be achieved through effective cross-scale governance mechanisms, 5 scientific effort must focus on effectiveness, co-benefits, disbenefits, and costs of poorly tested as well as new and emerging measures.

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The paper concludes that both the marine policy and science communities need to recognize the uncertainties and limitations of currently available climate and ocean management options; support the immediate development of the most promising ones, e. The Nairobi Convention is a partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector, working towards a prosperous Western Indian Ocean Region with healthy rivers, coasts and oceans.