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The global costs and benefits of expanding Marine Protected Areas

Luke M. Brander et al.
Ecosystem Services

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.