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A Changing Climate

The Pacific Islands are extremely vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.  However, incorporating climate change components into protected area planning is a relatively new field and for some practitioners, has not been considered in management planning or implementation.  The resources in this section are intended to assist practitioners with monitoring, managing and adapting for climate change within a protected areas framework.  

Climate change to drive increasing overlap between Pacific tuna fisheries and emerging deep-sea mining industry

In ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction, various legal regimes and governance structures result in diffused responsibility and create challenges for management. Here we show those challenges are set to expand with climate change driving increasing overlap between eastern Pacific tuna fisheries and the emerging industry of deep-sea mining. Climate models suggest that tuna distributions will shift in the coming decades.

The effectiveness of global protected areas for climate change mitigation

Forests play a critical role in stabilizing Earth’s climate. Establishing protected areas (PAs) represents one approach to forest conservation, but PAs were rarely created to mitigate climate change. The global impact of PAs on the carbon cycle has not previously been quantified due to a lack of accurate global-scale carbon stock maps. Here we used ~412 million lidar samples from NASA’s GEDI mission to estimate a total PA aboveground carbon (C) stock of 61.43 Gt (+/− 0.31), 26% of all mapped terrestrial woody C.

Global Protected Areas as refuges for amphibians and reptiles under climate change

Protected Areas (PAs) are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. Here, we collated distributional data for >14,000 (~70% of) species of amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna) to perform a global assessment of the conservation effectiveness of PAs using species distribution models. Our analyses reveal that >91% of herpetofauna species are currently distributed in PAs, and that this proportion will remain unaltered under future climate change. Indeed, loss of species’ distributional ranges will be lower inside PAs than outside them.

Mangrove reforestation provides greater blue carbon benefit than afforestation for mitigating global climate change

Significant efforts have been invested to restore mangrove forests worldwide through reforestation and afforestation. However, blue carbon benefit has not been compared between these two silvicultural pathways at the global scale. Here, we integrated results from direct field measurements of over 370 restoration sites around the world to show that mangrove reforestation (reestablishing mangroves where they previously colonized) had a greater carbon storage potential per hectare than afforestation (establishing mangroves where not previously mangrove).

A resilient and connected network of sites to sustain biodiversity under a changing climate

Motivated by declines in biodiversity exacerbated by climate change, we identified a network of conservation sites designed to provide resilient habitat for species, while supporting dynamic shifts in ranges and changes in ecosystem composition. Our 12-ystudy involved 289 scientists in 14 study regions across the conterminous United States(CONUS), and our intent was to support local-, regional-, and national-scale conservation decisions.

The past as a lens for biodiversity conservation on a dynamically changing planet

We are in the midst of a major biodiversity crisis, with deep impacts on the functioning of ecosystems and derived benefits to people (1, 2). But we still have time to pull back. To do so, it is imperative that we learn from plants’ and animals’ past actions (3, 4). Conservation biology, ecology, and paleontology all emphasize that natural systems must exhibit resilience and dynamic responses to rapid environmental changes (3, 5, 6). Both climate and land-use change have accelerated over the past decades, underscoring the urgency for increased understanding and action (7–9).

Harnessing island–ocean connections to maximize marine benefits of island conservation

Islands  support  unique  plants,  animals,  and  human societies found nowhere else on the Earth. Local and global stressors threaten the persistence of island ecosystems, with invasive species being among the most damaging, yet solvable, stressors. While the threat of invasive terrestrial mammals on island flora and fauna is well recognized, recent studies have begun to illustrate their extended and destructive impacts on adjacent marine environments. Eradication of invasive mammals and restoration of native biota are promising tools to address both island and ocean management goals.

Machine learning prediction of connectivity, biodiversity and resilience in the Coral Triangle

Even optimistic climate scenarios predict catastrophic consequences for coral reef ecosystems by 2100. Understanding how reef connectivity, biodiversity and resilience are shaped by climate variability would improve chances to establish sustainable management practices. In this regard, ecoregionalization and connectivity are pivotal to designating effective marine protected areas.

The Policy Implications of the Dasgupta Review: Land Use Change and Biodiversity

The “Dasgupta Review” of the economics of biodiversity (Dasgupta 2021) identifies many factors that threaten the ecological sustainability of our economies. This article examines how two policy failures - the underpricing and underfunding of nature – influence global land use change and terrestrial biodiversity loss. If natural areas are priced too cheaply, then converting them to agriculture, forestry and other land uses is less costly than protecting or preserving habitats. Underfunding nature further reduces the incentives for conservation and restoration.