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Study: Marine reserves can help mitigate effects of climate change

An international research team has evaluated 145 peer-reviewed studies and concluded that "highly protected" marine reserves can help mitigate the effects of climate change.

"Marine reserves cannot halt or completely offset the growing impacts of climate change," said Jane Lubchenco, a professor in the College of Science at Oregon State University (OSU) and co-author on a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "But they can make marine ecosystems more resilient to changes and, in some cases, help slow down the rate of climate change.

Around the world, coastal nations have committed to protecting 10 percent of their waters by 2020, but thus far only 3.5 percent of the ocean has been set aside for protection, and 1.6 percent, or less than half of that, is strongly protected from exploitation. Some researchers have argued that as much as 30 percent of the ocean should be set aside as reserves to safeguard marine ecosystems in the long-term.


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