Home Database Research and knowledge projects Guiding Mediterranean MPAs through the climate change era: building resilience and adaptation

Guiding Mediterranean MPAs through the climate change era: building resilience and adaptation (MPA-ADAPT)


Over the coming decades, climate change will represent a rapidly increasing challenge for the ecosystems and the livelihoods in the Mediterranean area. Direct evidence of climate change is already being observed in the Mediterranean coast and in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Sea temperature increase and changes in salinity and circulation, for instance, are causing changes in native species distribution, spread of alien species, mass mortalities of macrobenthic communities and jellyfish population blooms. These changes do not only cause impacts on marine biodiversity, but human activities as well; for example, the tourism and fishing sectors are being increasingly affected by it.

MPAs can play an important role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, as they represent areas of reduced human pressure and concentrated conservation efforts. If well-managed, they can contribute to build resilience for both coastal communities and marine biodiversity. Unfortunately, climate change is not explicitly incorporated in the majority of MPA management plans in the Mediterranean and information to assist MPAs decision making is limited and fragmented, along with important gaps in capacity and funding. The MPA-Adapt project was developed to tackle those challenges through a multi-level approach. The specific objectives of the MPA-Adapt are:

  • to raise awareness of the role of effective MPAs for enhancing resilience to climate change and safeguarding ecosystem services as well as contributing to adaptation measures;
  • to strengthen capacity of MPAs to plan for and respond to climate change impacts based on a better understanding of climate risk and vulnerability;
  • to showcase how climate change can be integrated into planning and management of Mediterranean MPAs.

Five marine protected areas from three Mediterranean countries were chosen to act as pilot sites (Brijuni National Park in Croatia, Pelagie Islands MPA in Italy, Portofino MPA in Italy, Bonifacio Strait Nature Reserve in France, and Port-Cros National Park in France) for the development of climate change adaptation action plans and their integration into existing management framework.

The policy brief “Recognising connectivity and climate change impacts as essential elements for an effective North Atlantic MPA network” was published in 2019. Practical implications for the planning of MPA networks include the need to recognise marine exploited areas and deep-sea areas where biodiversity may be more resilient to climate change.

Project information


Spanish National Research Council – CISC


Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research – ISPRA (Italy), IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Public Institution Brijuni National Park (Croatia), Marine Protected Area Pelagie Islands – Management Body Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa (Italy), Consortium of Management of Portofino MPA (Italy), National Park of Port-Cros (France), The Environment Agency of Corsica (France). In addition, there are 6 associated partners: Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas - RAC/SPA of UNEP-MAP; Mediterranean Protected Areas Network - MedPAN; Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Food and Environment (Spain); the City of San Benedetto del Tronto (Italy); the Regional Natural Park of Corsica (France); the University of Malta.

Source of funding

Interreg MED Programme 2014-2020

Reference information


Published in Climate-ADAPT Feb 15 2018   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

Document Actions