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ecological benefits

A global assessment of the direct and indirect benefits of marine protected areas for coral reef conservation

This study contributes to the evidence of the benefits of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for enhancing coral cover. A global dataset with information of 30 MPAs,  obtained with standardized survey methods, was used was to test the effects of five key MPA attributes on coral cover, algal cover and reef fish biomass. The results show that only well-managed, no-take MPAs that were at least ten years old had higher coral cover compared to unprotected areas.

Ecological evaluation of a marine protected area network: a progressive‐change BACIPS approach

Using the progressive-change BACIPS approach, this study assesses the ecological impact of a network of MPAs of five fully and three moderately protected MPAs, near the island oF Moorea in French Polynesia. The results show that coral reef habitats, density and biomass of harvested fishes increased by 19.3% and 24.8%, respectively, compared to the control fished areas. The article highlights the importance of fully protected MPAs over moderaly protected MPAs since fully protected areas have greater ecological benefits. 

Marine plastics threaten giant Atlantic Marine Protected Areas

This study assesed plastics in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in UK overseas territories in the Atlantic, and investigated the shore, sea surface, water column and seabed of the MPAs. During the research period from 2013 to 2018, drastic changes were found; marine debris on beaches increased more than 10 fold in the past decade and also plastics on the sea surface increased.

Marine protected areas enhance coral reef functioning by promoting fish biodiversity

In this article, the researchers use meta-analysis and path-analytical framework to analyse the impact of ecosystem-based management and area closures on key ecological processes. Through studies in three regions (the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean), it is demonstrated that, on average, marine protected areas enhance herbivory rates on coral reefs and increase the species richness of herbivorous fishes. In turn, these fishes enhance browsing rates on macroalgae, though only a small subset of the herbivore assemblage was responsible for the majority of browsing in the studied regions.

Marine Protected Areas - Restoring Ireland’s Ocean Wildlife

This report analyses the progress of the Irish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with the 2020 Aichi target less than two years away, and shares why MPAs are a crucial tool in ocean protection. Ireland has committed to converting 10% of its waters into MPAs that have nature conservation as their number one objective. At the moment of publishing this report, only 2.3% of the Irish waters were protected to this extend. The Irish Wildlife Trust is urging the govenment to make the establishment of effectively designed and managed MPAs a priority. 

Large Scale Marine Protected Areas Current status and consideration of socio-economic dimensions

This discussion paper deals with the topic of Large Scale Marine Protected Areas (LSMPAs) through a global analysis. The paper discusses research needs and provides insights in the benefits of LSMPAs for the marine ecosystem and the people depending on it. Recommendations on socio-economic, ecological, governance and other research topics are included in the paper. 

Biological responses in marine no-take reserves versus partially protected areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a common tool for conserving and managing marine and coastal ecosystems. MPAs encompass a range of protection levels, from fully protected no-take reserves to restriction of only particular activities, gear types, user groups, target species, or extraction periods. There is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the ecological benefits of full reserve protection, but it is more difficult to generalize about the effects of other types of MPAs, in part because they include a range of actual protection levels.

Biological responses in marine no-take reserves versus partially protected areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a common tool for conserving and managing marine and coastal ecosystems. MPAs encompass a range of protection levels, from fully protected no-take reserves to restriction of only particular activities, gear types, user groups, target species, or extraction periods. There is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the ecological benefits of full reserve protection, but it is more difficult to generalize about the effects of other types of MPAs, in part because they include a range of actual protection levels.