National Marine Protected Areas Center
STORYMAP: CLIMATE CHANGE AND MPAs
MPAs provide long term protection to important marine and coastal ecosystems that provide a wide range of benefits, including as natural solutions to climate impacts through mitigation, adaptation and resilience, complementing essential efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This report and story map summarizes U.S. contributions towards six key aspects of successful marine protected area (MPA) networks. The U.S. has established nearly 1,000 MPAs (as defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)) to protect important places in our ocean, estuaries, coastal waters, and Great Lakes. Scientists and managers have identified the following characteristics for networks of MPAs to achieve conservation outcomes:
- Area protected
- Ecologically representative
- Ecologically connected
- Other effective conservation measures (that are not MPAs)
- Effectively and equitably managed MPAs
- Integrated into the wider seascape
The role of ecological connectivity in the effective design and management of marine protected area (MPA) networks is gaining attention in the field of marine conservation. This document provides an introduction to ecological connectivity in MPAs while highlighting information needed to fully capitalize on this important ecological process for more effective and resilient MPAs.