|dc.description.abstract||The ocean, composed of many highly diverse and complex ecosystems, provides essential ecosystem services that contribute to human health, society and economy. Climate change presents an unprecedented threat to the world, and the ocean is particularly vulnerable. The impacts of climate change on the marine environment include sea level rise, ocean acidification, and changes in ocean circulation. These are expected to have severe deleterious effects on marine organisms and communities. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an important tool for the conservation of biodiversity, and natural and cultural resources. There is a recognized need for climate-focused policy and management agendas, and yet, there continues to be barriers to their inclusion in MPA management. Ascension Island MPA is a large, relatively new MPA that comprises the entire exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the island, a total of over 440,000km2. The size, remoteness and the expansive pelagic ocean space, provide unique management challenges. To effectively conserve Ascension Island’s marine biodiversity, habitats and ecological functions for long-term ecosystem health while also supporting sustainable socio-economic growth, a holistic, adaptive management approach which considers and accounts for the implications of climate change is needed. This project explores how Ascension Island MPA can integrate adaptive climate change measures into their management plan. By performing a vulnerability assessment on Ascension Island MPA and reviewing what climate change adaptive measures currently exist in large MPAs, recommendations for the site have been proposed. Recommendations for Ascension Island MPA include: increase research and monitoring to better understand impacts of climate change; reduce other stressors; encourage collaborative, multi-sector ocean governance and MSP to manage stressors and protect refugia; and adaptive management in the development of Ascension Island MPA Climate Change Resilience Strategy. This work will support the adaptive management plan of Ascension Island, and contribute to the larger conversation on incorporating climate change into MPA management.
Keywords: Climate change, adaptive management, marine protected area, Ascension Island, biodiversity protection||en_US