In 2018, Chile designated a marine protected area (MPA) around its Diego Ramirez island, offering protection to kelp forests — ecosystems that provide nurseries for young marine organisms and lock away carbon dioxide. This is in line with Chile’s leadership in marine biodiversity: with 42% of Chile’s maritime territory protected, the country ranks 6th globally in total MPA coverage. Protecting and restoring coastal “blue carbon” ecosystems like mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes — 10 times more effective at sequestering carbon per area than terrestrial forests — is just one ocean-based solution that can help mitigate climate change. But these ecosystems are being lost; up to 50% of some global blue carbon ecosystems have already been converted or degraded. If located in the right places, MPAs can be used as a tool to protect these “blue carbon” ecosystems. In a year where countries are expected to submit more ambitious targets to tackle climate change, 2021 presents a critical moment to act. But in acting we need to move from seeing the ocean as a victim of climate change to a key part of the solution. Ocean-based action can not only help mitigate climate change, but it can also help communities adapt to climate impacts, spur economic growth and preserve some of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Yallingup Reef Protected Area in Western Australia includes all the waters of the Indian Ocean and reef within a 400 metre radius of the mouth of Yallingup Brook. Photo by Richhandley via Wikimedia Commons. The benefits the ocean brings to humanity — including the stabilization of the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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