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Simple rules can guide whether land- or ocean-based conservation will best benefit marine ecosystems

Many coastal marine ecosystems are threatened by anthropogenic activities, but often, the best way to restore and protect these important ecosystems is unclear. This study by Saunders et al. developed a model based on seagrass meadows and adjacent catchments in Queensland, Australia, using it to ask whether, in order to maximize the extent to coastal marine ecosystems, we should restore or protect, on either the coastal land or in the ocean. The answer was that direct, active marine restoration can be the most cost-effective approach to maximizing extent of marine ecosystems over longer (decades-long) timescales. This image shows a seagrass meadow and adjacent landscape at Carp Island, Palau.

Image Credit: Mark Priest