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A new study published in the journal Nature has revealed that oceans are remarkably resilient and could be restored to health by 2050 if “major pressures—including climate change—are mitigated.” As the BBC reported, the researchers identified nine components that are key to rebuilding the oceans: salt marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, kelp, oyster reefs, fisheries, megafauna and the deep ocean.
But the study authors noted that the window of opportunity for humans to take necessary action to meet these goals is quickly closing.
Overall, the study authors issued 45 recommendations.
And while the cost of these efforts would be roughly $10-20 billion a year, the investments would bring benefits 10 times as high.
The Study: The authors of the study were an international group of authors that reviewed hundreds of case studies on revitalized marine ecosystems, including:
A rebound of fish stocks during both world wars due to a decrease in fishing.
Coral reefs that recovered from nuclear tests in the South Pacific.
Improved conditions in the Black and Adriatic seas after the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a reduction in fertilizer use.
A major decrease in trawling in the Scotian Shelf led to the recovery of halibut and barndoor skate, two species of fish that had been approaching extinction.
Even Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific which was the site of at least two Hiroshima-size atomic tests, as well as the detonation of the world’s first hydrogen bomb, has recovered to become a premier diving spot.
Study co-author Prof Callum Roberts from the University of York explained that “Science gives us reason to be optimistic about the future of our oceans, but we are not currently doing enough in the UK or globally.”
Why This Matters: This study shows that ocean conservation works. When we protect our ecosystems they can recover but we have to make the commitment to do so. This year was supposed to be a “super year” for conservation after December’s Blue COP, but it’s likely that the COVID-19 pandemic could disrupt many of the crucial meetings that were set to take place (just yesterday COP26 was moved to 2021). Thus it will be incumbent upon us here in the United States to ensure that conservation stays on our national agenda–as we begin hashing out the next rounds of the stimulus and as the 2020 election progresses.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In Cispatá on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, scientists have calculated just how much carbon a mangrove forest stores. Up until now, that number has treated mangroves like trees on land — missing more than half of their carbon store in the soil under trees. The calculation in Cispatá estimates the […]
Over the last decade, nearly 91% of the sunflower sea star population has been wiped out, landing the species a “critically endangered” categorization last year. The sea stars, which have 24 arms, are an important part of the underwater food web: they keep kelp forests healthy by feeding on sea urchins.
Why This Matters: Between rising temperatures, overfishing, ocean acidification, among other harms, people have thrown the U.S. West Coast marine ecosystem off the balance.
Video gaming experts say that game design is now shifting towards specific environmental issues. Since games are designed by young people, it is not surprising that eco-based storylines like climate change and ocean exploration are coming into vogue. For example, the BBC Blue Planet II nature documentary inspired a video game called Beyond Blue, in which […]
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