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Reference Module in Life Sciences

Marine Protected Areas: Evolving to Meet Changing Conditions

Elizabeth Mcleod, Elizabeth Shaver, Tundi Agardy

The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA, United States.


Marine protected areas (MPAs) – clearly defined spaces dedicated to achieving long-term conservation of nature and nature’s values – have been identified as one of the most effective tools for safeguarding marine ecosystems. Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) are increasingly recognized as an additional tool to achieve global biodiversity goals. As governments refine their conservation targets over the next decade and beyond, it is timely to discuss the role of MPAs and OECMs in meeting global biodiversity and sustainable development goals. Key areas needing improvement to achieve these goals include broader engagement with Indigenous peoples and community groups and increased sustainable financing and management effectiveness. In addition, MPAs and OECMs must be designed and managed to address climate change and include targeted restoration to promote recovery to effectively conserve marine ecosystems and support human needs.

Keywords: Marine conservation, Marine protected areas, Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures, Resilience, Resilience-based management.

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