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Marine biodiversity provides a critical set of ecosystem services and resources to society, from moderating climate to providing food, medicine, and jobs for millions of people. The primary drivers of biodiversity are overexploitation, human pressures in coastal environments (habitat loss, development, and pollution), and increasingly, climate change and ocean acidification.

The stakes are high. The unprecedented decline of biodiversity has tangible impacts on ecosystem integrity, human health, livelihoods, and food security. In the coastal zone itself, over 500 million people worldwide benefit from protection by ecosystems including coral reefs, mangroves, kelp forests, and seagrass beds. The natural capacity of the ocean to provide these ecosystem services and goods will continue to weaken without action to maintain and restore marine habitats and biodiversity.

To address losses in biodiversity and marine habitat, the international community has increasingly focused on the protection of marine areas. Global coordination to protect biodiversity for the next decade is gaining momentum and will be an area of heightened focus as countries gather at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming in May 2021. A growing coalition of scientists, Indigenous peoples, and advocates are calling for an updated global target to protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.

This Deeper Dive on Biodiversity and Marine Protected Areas features interviews with policy practitioners, philanthropists, and NGOs to explore current and emerging trends in the field and opportunities to move the needle on this issue in the coming months. It also includes a primer for readers to understand the inextricable interconnections between climate change and biodiversity and ways to pursue solutions aimed at addressing these twin crises.

Explore resources to learn about the latest trends for biodiversity and MPAs, as well as opportunities for action.

Get Informed

This Deeper Dive features interviews with leading practitioners to explore current and emerging trends as well as opportunities for action in the coming months. It also includes a curated collection of seminal field reports.

Learn More

Resource Library

Explore our curated collection of relevant published studies and reports on this topic.

For more resources about biodiversity,
visit the Our Shared Seas downloads library.