Essential ecological insights for marine ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning
The abrupt decline in the sea's capacity to provide crucial ecosystem services requires a new ecosystem-based approach for maintaining and recovering biodiversity and integrity. Ecosystems are places, so marine spatial planners and managers must understand the heterogeneity of biological communities and their key components (especially apex predators and structure-forming species), and of key processes (e.g., population connectivity, interaction webs, biogeochemistry) that maintain them, as well as heterogeneity of human uses. Maintaining resistance and resilience to stressors is crucial. Because marine populations and ecosystems exhibit complex system behaviors, managers cannot safely assume they will recover when stressors are reduced, so prevention is a far more robust management strategy than seeking a cure for degraded systems.
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