Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are widely used as tools to maintain biodiversity, protect habitats and ensure that development is sustainable. If MPAs are to maintain their role into the future it is important for managers to understand how conditions at these sites may change as a result of climate change and other drivers.
This study uses spatially-aggregated models for multiple variables to provide projections for MPA planners and managers. Conditions in European MPAs have been projected for the 2040s using unmitigated and globally managed scenarios of climate change and river management.
The authors state that the projections presented in the study are most useful for considering regional environmental change and the impact on networks of MPAs. However, they can also give insights into policy guidance for individual MPAs.
The obtained results highlight the vulnerability of potential refuge sites in the north-west Mediterranean and the need for more MPAs in the eastern Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea. The authors suggest that the projections obtained in the study can be used as well to inform the selection of sites to establish new MPAs.
Kay S, Butenschön M (2018) Projections of change in key ecosystem indicators for planning and management of marine protected areas: An example study for European seas. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 201:172-184