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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.  

Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets

Over the last decades scientists have discovered that seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangroves – “blue carbon” ecosystems – are among the most intensive carbon sinks in the biosphere. By sequestering and storing significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean, blue carbon ecosystems help mitigate climate change. But conversion and degradation of these ecosystems can also release billions of tons of CO2  and other greenhouse gases into the ocean and atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

European Commission Science for Environment Policy Future Brief 24: The solution is in nature.

The science is clear: the biodiversity crisis, the climate crisis and the health crisis are interdependent. Political leaders from across the world, representing 80+ countries and the European Union, have also recognised this connection in the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature.  Climate change accelerates the destruction of the natural world through extreme weather events such as droughts, flooding and wildfires. Biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of nature, driven by intense anthropogenic activities, in turn, reduce resilience to and further drive climate change.

Minimizing cross-realm threats from land-use change: A national-scale conservation framework connecting land, freshwater and marine systems

There is a growing recognition that conservation strategies should be designed accounting for cross-realm connections, such as freshwater connections to land and sea, to ensure effectiveness of marine spatial protection and minimize perverse outcomes of changing land-use. Yet, examples of integration across realms are relatively scarce, with most targeting priorities in a single realm, such as marine or freshwater, while minimizing threats originating in terrestrial ecosystems.

A sustainable ocean economy in 2030: Opportunities and challenges

In this report the World Ocean Initiative assesses the challenges facing key sectors in the ocean economy, including seafood, shipping, tourism and renewable energy. We look at the role of banks and investors in financing the transition towards clean, low carbon technologies, as well as opportunities in data and analytics. We examine solutions to marine plastic pollution from source to sea, and the ocean’s potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Change in Terrestrial Human Footprint Drives Continued Loss of Intact Ecosystems

Human pressure mapping is important for understanding humanity’s role in shaping Earth’s patterns and processes. We provide the latest maps of the terrestrial human footprint and provide an assessment of change in human pressure across Earth. Between 2000 and 2013, 1.9 million km2 of land relatively free of human disturbance became highly modified. Our results show that humanity’s footprint is eroding Earth’s last intact ecosystems and that greater efforts are urgently needed to retain them.

Measuring Temperature in Coral Reef Environments: Experience, Lessons, and Results from Palau

Sea surface temperature, determined remotely by satellite (SSST), measures only the thin “skin” of the ocean but is widely used to quantify the thermal regimes on coral reefs across the globe. In situ measurements of temperature complements global satellite sea surface temperature with more accurate measurements at specific locations/depths on reefs and more detailed data. In 1999, an in situ temperature-monitoring network was started in the Republic of Palau after the 1998 coral bleaching event.

Rigorously Valuing the Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction

The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision making. Here we combine engineering, ecologic, geospatial, social, and economic tools to provide a rigorous valuation of the coastal protection benefits of all U.S.