The global costs and benefits of expanding Marine Protected Areas
Marine ecosystem services are increasingly threatened by human activities, but at the same time contribute significantly to the well-being of humans. Even though the expansion of marine protected areas (MPAs) is perceived as a potential solution to the degradation of marine ecosystems, there is little known about the economic feasibility. This study conducts a cost and benefit economic assessment for six global MPA expansion scenarios, and includes an analysis conducted at a high spatial resolution. It is concluded that the benefits exceed their cost by by a factor 1.4 - 2.7 and that protection in pristine, high-biodiversity areas delivers more significant results than targeting areas that have suffered more from human activities or areas with relatively low biodiversity.