Connectivity in China’s marine protected areas | Science

In December 2022, China selected 49 locations for national park development, with the goal of creating a large national park system, and construction is now beginning. The sites include three sea locations and two land-sea areas (1). China’s current 271 marine protected areas (MPAs) account for about 4.1% of the total sea area under China’s jurisdiction (2). Although they help to protect coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, bays, islands, and rare and endangered marine species (2, 3), they provide inadequate connectivity among species and habitats. The five proposed marine national parks will achieve incremental improvements. As China expands its terrestrial national park system, it should also create a vast marine national park system, including existing, proposed, and future MPAs that can effectively protect intact ecosystems and maintain continuous ecological processes, such as food chains and migrations (4, 5).

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