Study: Due to global warming, today’s MPAs could be uninhabitable to most of their current species by year 2100

A new study provides a grim forecast of what could happen to ecosystems and species inside current MPAs as a result of global warming. Assuming the global continuation of “business-as-usual” emissions of greenhouse gases (i.e., no new control measures), the resulting warming and reduced oxygen concentration would make today’s MPAs uninhabitable by 2100 to most species now in those areas. Even worse, many MPAs in the tropics would become uninhabitable to their current species as soon as 2050.

The main takeaway: we need significant emission reductions and we need them now. The study “Climate change threatens the world’s marine protected areas” in Nature Climate Change journal is here. If you don’t have access to the article (most of it is behind a journal paywall), a press release is here.

Thailand moving to cap marine national park visitation at 6 million annually

Thailand will cap visitation at its marine national parks to 6 million visitors a year, according to a plan drafted by a national committee on environmental issues. The parks are experiencing a rise in tourism: 4.8 million foreign tourists visited in 2017, and 5.6 million are expected this year. The cap must still be approved by Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Thailand already has annual seasonal closures for some of its national parks to allow for ecological recovery time.

Report on innovative financing opportunities for coral conservation

A significant barrier to marine biodiversity conservation is that the funding currently needed to achieve effective, lasting conservation is greater than the available funds. A new report from the International Coral Reef Initiative explores several innovative financing mechanisms that could help bridge that gap. These include green taxes, marine biodiversity offsets, debt-for-nature swaps, payments for ecosystem services, impact investments, green bonds, and parametric insurance. The report Innovations for Coral Finance also walks readers through four different business models that can be customized and integrated with conservation needs.

Report addresses impact of sporting events on biodiversity, and opportunities for improvement

IUCN has released a new report with guidance on managing sporting events to minimize their potential negative impacts on biodiversity. This includes impacts on marine biodiversity, such as from the staging of sailing events or other outdoor aquatic sports. The report Sport and Biodiversity also explains how sporting events can be harnessed to generate opportunities for biodiversity conservation, including by financing or increasing the size of protected areas.

Partnership releases guidelines on how businesses can safeguard biodiversity

The Key Biodiversity Area Partnership – involving several of the world’s leading conservation organizations – has released a new report outlining steps that businesses can take to safeguard biodiversity and avoid contributing to its loss. The publication Guidelines on Business and KBAs: Managing Risk to Biodiversity calls on businesses to adopt 15 guidelines to better manage their direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on key biodiversity areas.

Story map shows percentages of key habitats protected and unprotected in Caribbean

Story maps are highly visual tools that allow stories to be told through maps and other visual information. Their use is increasing in the MPA community. A recent example is a story map created by BIOPAMA (the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme) on Caribbean MPAs, and what percentage of particular key habitats – coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses – are protected or unprotected in the region. The findings are broken down by country.

Ocean Awards recognize several MPA-related winners for 2018

The Ocean Awards – co-presented by Blue Marine Foundation and Boat International magazine – have announced their winners for 2018. Among the recipients, several MPA practitioners were recognized including Norlan Pagal for his work to protect local MPAs in the Philippines; Kristina Gjerde for her work to strengthen ocean governance, including through high seas MPAs; and several individuals associated with the successful campaign to designate Antarctica’s Ross Sea MPA.

From the MPA News vault

Features and news items from yesteryear

Five years ago: May-June 2013

  • What Does “Ocean Wilderness” Mean, and Should We Prioritize Its Protection? Experts Respond
  • Perspective: An Overview of the Gilbert Bay MPA Oil Spill Case and Successful Prosecution of the Company at Fault

Ten years ago: May 2008

  • Creating Endowments for Sustainable Funding of MPAs: Experts Describe the Opportunities and Challenges
  • MPA Perspective: Integrating a Community-Based MPA Network at the Barangay Level in the Philippines

Fifteen years ago: May 2003

  • Private-Sector Ownership of MPAs: Cases Illustrate Challenges and Opportunities
  • MPA Perspective: Managing Conflict With and Among User Groups: Winning Strategies for MPA Managers

For these and all other issues of MPA News, go to