Linkages at International, National and Local Levels
The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Frank Maes, An Cliquet, Willemien du Plessis and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray
Chapter 14: Creating marine protected area networks in Pacific North America for biodiversity conservation: Linking ecology to legislation
The vast body of evidence that global warming and climate change is occurring indicates that much of the heat generated from anthropogenic activities is held in the oceans’ waters. Oceanic currents distribute heat around the World’s continents, and changes in water temperature may induce changes in local climate, and may also pose adaptational challenges to local marine and coastal life. Evidence of this is shown in the recent reporting of marine species being found far beyond their normal distribution ranges, both in the Atlantic and the Pacific regions. These events, in addition to changes in oceanic communities due to heavy commercial fishing, must be in the minds of conservationists who are attempting to create marine protected areas in different parts of the World. The increasing use of marine protected areas for biodiversity preserva- tion, fisheries conservation, and offsetting the effects of climate change can be enhanced by a greater incorporation of connectivity among them. Connectivity among networks of marine protected areas better provides for key ecological processes, considerations of scale, and insurance against ocean catastrophes. Preserving the World’s biodiversity depends, ultimately, upon the creation of regions of habitat that allow the persistence of species and that are protected fully under the rule of law. This conservation process is already under way, as represented by nations having created national parks, nature preserves, nature sanctuaries, and protected areas for terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems, together with the legislation to operate them.
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