This article was originally published on The Pew Charitable Trusts.


“In recent years, leading marine scientists have said that protecting large areas of the sea as oceanic reserves carries the added benefit of helping ocean life weather the impacts of climate change. Support for that claim was spread across numerous disparate studies—until now. In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from 10 institutions—including several Pew marine fellows and members of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project scientific advisory board—concluded that highly protected marine reserves have the potential to deliver climate resiliency benefits. Specifically, reserves help oceans and society adapt to five key climate-related impacts: ocean acidification, sea level rise, increased storm intensity, shifts in species distribution, and decreased productivity and oxygen availability.

This study shows that marine reserves can be climate reserves, especially when the protected areas are large, well-managed, in place for many years, and strict regarding what human activities are allowed.

For decades, experts have touted marine reserves as refuges for species facing population declines due to overfishing, pollution, coastal development, and other pressures. And the evidence has consistently shown that protected areas can help strengthen ecosystems and rebuild biodiversity…”

Read on at: The Pew Charitable Trusts.