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Identifying Reefs of Hope and Hopeful Actions: Contextualizing Environmental, Ecological, and Social Parameters to Respond Effectively to Climate Change

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tim McClanahan, Timothy Daw, Professor Selina Stead, Professor Nick Polunin

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Abstract

Priorities for conservation, management, and associated activities will differ based on the interplay between nearness of ecosystems to full recovery from a disturbance (pristineness), susceptibility to climate change (environmental susceptibility [ES]), and capacity of human communities to cope with and adapt to change (social adaptive capacity [AC]). We studied 24 human communities and adjacent coral reef ecosystems in 5 countries of the southwestern Indian Ocean. We used ecological measures of abundance and diversity of fishes and corals, estimated reef pristineness, and conducted socioeconomic household surveys to determine the AC of communities adjacent to selected coral reefs. We also used Web-based oceanographic and coral mortality data to predict each site's ES to climate warming. Coral reefs of Mauritius and eastern Madagascar had low ES and consequently were not predicted to be affected strongly by warm water, although these sites were differentiated by the AC of the human community. The higher AC in Mauritius may increase the chances for successful self-initiated recovery and protective management of reefs of this island. In contrast, Madagascar may require donor support to build AC as a prerequisite to preservation efforts. The Seychelles and Kenya had high ES, but their levels of AC and disturbance differed. The high AC in the Seychelles could be used to develop alternatives to dependence on coral reef resources and reduce the effects of climate change. Pristineness weighted toward measures of fish recovery was greatest for Kenya's marine protected areas; however, most protected areas in the region were far from pristine. Conservation priorities and actions with realistic chances for success require knowledge of where socioecological systems lie among the 3 axes of environment, ecology, and society.Las prioridades de conservacion, manejo y actividades asociadas seran diferentes con base en la interaccion entre la cercania de los ecosistemas a la recuperacion total de una perturbacion (pristinidad), la susceptibilidad al cambio climatico (susceptibilidad ambiental) y la capacidad de las comunidades humanas para soportar y adaptarse al cambio (capacidad adaptativa social). Estudiamos 24 comunidades humanas y los ecosistemas de arrecife coralino adyacentes en cinco paises del suroeste del OcEano Indico. Utilizamos medidas ecologicas de abundancia y diversidad de peces y corales, estimamos la pristinidad de los arrecifes y realizamos muestreos socioeconomicos para determinar la capacidad adaptativa de las comunidades adyacentes a los arrecifes coralinos seleccionados. TambiEn utilizamos datos oceanograficos tomados de la Web y de mortalidad de arrecifes para estimar la susceptibilidad ambiental de cada sitio al calentamiento climatico. Los arrecifes coralinos de Mauricio y este de Madagascar tuvieron baja susceptibilidad ambiental y, consecuentemente, se predijo que no serian afectados por agua caliente. La mayor capacidad adaptativa en Mauricio puede incrementar las posibilidades de una recuperacion auto-iniciada y un manejo protector de arrecifes en esta isla. En contraste, Madagascar puede requerir el soporte de donadores para construir capacidad adaptativa como un prerrequisito de esfuerzos de conservacion. Las Seychelles y Kenia tuvieron susceptibilidad ambiental alta pero sus niveles de capacidad adaptativa y perturbacion fueron diferentes. La alta capacidad adaptativa en las Seychelles puede ser utilizada para desarrollar alternativas a la dependencia en recursos de los arrecifes coralinos y reducir los efectos del camio climatico. La pristinidad enfocada en medidas para la recuperacion de peces fue mayor en las areas marinas protegidas de Kenia; sin embargo, la mayoria de las areas protegidas en la region estaban lejos de ser pristinas. Las prioridades y acciones de conservacion con posibilidades de Exito reales requieren conocer donde se encuentran los sistemas socio-ecologicos entre los tres ejes del ambien


Publication metadata

Author(s): McClanahan TR, Cinner JE, Graham NAJ, Daw TM, Maina J, Stead SM, Wamukota A, Brown K, Venus V, Polunin NVC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Conservation Biology

Year: 2009

Volume: 23

Issue: 3

Pages: 662-671

ISSN (print): 0888-8892

ISSN (electronic): 1523-1739

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01154.x

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01154.x


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