A Changing Climate
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The Pacific Islands are extremely vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. However, incorporating climate change components into protected area planning is a relatively new field and for some practitioners, has not been considered in management planning or implementation. The resources in this section are intended to assist practitioners with monitoring, managing and adapting for climate change within a protected areas framework.
Both staghorn coral and an uninhabited island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. (Photograph by Andre Seale/Marine Photobank)
Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning to Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation
In this guide The U.S. Department of the Interior presents a broad synthesis of scenario planning concepts and approaches, focused on applications in natural resource management and conservation. The guide is intended to help natural resource and conservation professionals, including managers, planners, and researchers to:
A Management and Adaptation Planning Guide for Natural Resource Managers. 2006. Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community (PIMPAC) document.
This document was developed for the Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community (PIMPAC) to provide a step by step guide for Marine Managed Area (MMA) management planning. However, given more recent interest in incorporating climate change adaptation concepts into existing planning processes, this guidance has been updated to include guidance on understanding climate change impacts and including adaptation in the planning process.
A hopeful vision of the future is a world in which both people and nature thrive, but there is little evidence to support the feasibility of such a vision. We used a global, spatially explicit, systems modeling approach to explore the possibility of meeting the demands of increased populations and economic growth in 2050 while simultaneously advancing multiple conservation goals.
This volume brings together rich insights of how biological diversity matters to people and their physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being, particularly in the context of a changing climate. Notably, the volume takes a systemic approach to assembling evidence from the social, natural and health sciences, draws on practical expertise from applied case studies, and discusses findings in the frame of ongoing developments in policy and planning. By understanding the true value and potential of biodiversity for health, we can develop the policies, research and practice to safeguard and secure these crucial contributions from nature to society and to our future. This book helps understand what is at stake and what can be done.
Janishevski, L. and Gidda, S.B. 2010. Carbon Emissions from Forest Loss in Protected Areas. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and UNEP; Issue Paper No. 6.
This study combines the best available data on carbon stocks and deforestation with protected area data to estimate the area of forest loss within the protected area network of the humid tropical forest biome during 2000-2005. Regions where protected areas are simultaneously rich in carbon and under pressure from land cover change are identified.
The authors report high carbon density in Papua New Guinea and recommend enhancing management of forested protected areas in this area (along with Australasia).
The ecology of many coral reefs has changed markedly over recent decades in response to various combinations of local and global stressors. These ecological changes have important implications for the abundance of taxa that regulate the production and erosion of skeletal carbonates, and thus for many of the geo‐ecological functions that coral reefs provide, including reef framework production and sediment generation, the maintenance of reef habitat complexity and reef growth potential. These functional attributes underpin many of the ecosystem goods and services that reefs provide to society. In the absence of pervasive stressors, recovery of degraded coral communities has been observed, resulting in high net‐positive budgets being regained.
Cleaner Pacific 2025 is a comprehensive long-term strategy for integrated and sustainable waste management and pollution prevention and control in the Pacific islands region over the next decade (2016–2025). Cleaner Pacific 2025 provides a strategic management framework to address waste, chemicals and pollutants (WCP) that will reduce the associated threats to sustainable development of the region (Table 1).
Scientists are closely monitoring a key current in the North Atlantic to see if rising sea temperatures and increased freshwater from melting ice are altering the “ocean conveyor belt” — a vast oceanic stream that plays a major role in the global climate system.
Climate Change, Coral Loss, and the Curious Case of the Parrotfish Paradigm: Why Don’t Marine Protected Areas Improve Reef Resilience?
Scientists have advocated for local interventions, such as creating marine protected areas and implementing fishery restrictions, as ways to mitigate local stressors to limit the effects of climate change on reef-building corals. However, in a literature review, we find little empirical support for the notion of managed resilience. We outline some reasons for why marine protected areas and the protection of herbivorous fish (especially parrotfish) have had little effect on coral resilience. One key explanation is that the impacts of local stressors (e.g., pollution and fishing) are often swamped by the much greater effect of ocean warming on corals.
Grimsditch, G.D., and Salm, R. V. 2006. Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
This IUCN publication has information on the factors affecting tolerance of corals to increased temperatures and mechanisms by which corals can avoid bleaching during periods of warmer temperatures (e.g. ocean currents and upwellings).
The second section of this technical document provides information on ecological and spatial factors affecting resilience of corals. The third section discusses management for coral bleaching (e.g. coral transplanting, MPAs etc.) but does not go into detail. There is a useful table of management handbooks on page 27 for those wanting more details on management.
Our rapidly warming climate is threatening coral reefs as thermal anomalies trigger mass coral bleaching events. Deep (or “mesophotic”) coral reefs are hypothesised to act as major ecological refuges from mass bleaching, but empirical assessments are limited. We evaluated the potential of mesophotic reefs within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and adjacent Coral Sea to act as thermal refuges by characterising long-term temperature conditions and assessing impacts during the 2016 mass bleaching event. We found that summer upwelling initially provided thermal relief at upper mesophotic depths (40 m), but then subsided resulting in anomalously warm temperatures even at depth.
Designing Marine Protected Area Networks to Achieve Fisheries Biodiversity and Climate Change Objectives in Tropical Ecosystems: A Practitioners Guide
Green, A., White, A., Kilarski, S. (Eds.) 2013. Designing Marine Protected Area Networks to Achieve Fisheries Biodiversity and Climate Change Objectives in Tropical Ecosystems: A Practitioners Guide. The Nature Conservancy, and the USAID Coral Triangle Support Partnership, Cebu City, Philippines.
This guide provides a set of biophysical principles to help practitioners design networks of marine protected areas to achieve fisheries sustainability, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change.
Field Note - Discovery of a recovering climax Acropora community in Kanton Lagoon in the remote Phoenix Islands Protected Area
This Pacific Sustainable Development Report 2018 (PSDR) is the first quadrennial Pacific progress report on sustainable development. The report outlines high level trends on progress to date, as well as baseline information. The regional report complements national monitoring and reporting and since 2015, three Pacific Islands Forum member countries (Samoa, Kiribati and Australia), have completed their Voluntary National Review processes, and reported to the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. (HLPF). Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu are reporting to the 2019 HLPF on sustainable development. The PSDR 2018 highlights the need for increasing the pace of progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. The human impact on our planet is unprecedented. Long-term changes in the earth’s climate system are significant. The Green Climate Fund was established with a mission to advance the goal of keeping the temperature increase on our home planet below 2 degrees Celsius.
There are plenty of ways we can all positively impact the environment. If we want to stop climate change, we all need to take steps to make our lives environmentally-friendly. The following practices are an easy introduction to green living. Simple acts, such as saving water or planting a garden, give children and pre-teens an opportunity to impact their world today for a better tomorrow. Each tips offers a chance to open up the conversation as to why everyone has to do their part for the betterment of the earth
The oceans are facing more threats now than at any time in history. Yet a nascent industry is ramping up to exert yet more pressure on marine life: deep sea mining. A handful of governments and companies have been granted licences to explore for deep sea mining in ecologically sensitive waters, and the industry is positioning its development as inevitable, but deep sea mining isn’t happening anywhere in the global oceans – yet. Opening up a new industrial frontier in the largest ecosystem on Earth and undermining an important carbon sink carries significant environmental risks, especially in light of the biodiversity and climate crises facing the natural world and specifically our ocean.
Information and Knowledge Management for Climate Change (IKM4CC) Guidelines: complete set
The five IKM4CC Guidelines provide detailed advice on a range of information management topics and practices. The guidelines are relevant to information managers, information officers and any other people involved in collecting, storing, describing or sharing climate change-related information.
The guidelines include theory and practice and provide practical resources and examples from the Pacific. Topics covered by the guidelines include:
Twenty years down the road from the Barbados Programme of Action (1994) and ten years after the Mauritius Strategy (2004), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are in Apia, Samoa to take stock and define future priorities at the Third International Conference on SIDS, from 1 to 4 September.
A picture based education resource for students, teachers and facilitators.
It introduces Pasifika as an imaginary island that is nowhere but everywhere. Pacific learners and explorers can find local buildings, plants, animals, people and geographical features they can relate to. The guides have been produced for Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tuvalu in close partnership with these countries. The information is also relevant to all Pacific Island countries and territories.
MIT Climate CoLab (www.climatecolab.org) is an online crowdsourcing platform of over 58,000 members from around the world, sourcing innovative proposals on addressing climate change. Topic areas include land use, agriculture, and forestry, reducing emissions from the buildings and industrial sectors, creating sustainable ground and air transportation systems, smart zero-carbon cities, and many more.
McLeod, E and Salm, R.V. 2006. Managing Mangroves for Resilience to Climate Change. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland
This report provides information for managers regarding the potential impacts of climate change to mangrove forests (e.g. impacts of changes in temperature, CO2, rainfall, storms frequency, sea level rise).
Ten strategies are provided for managers to apply in order to promote resilience in mangrove locations. The guidelines inform managers how to assess mangrove vulnerability to sea level rise. This information is of the utmost importance to managers in all Pacific Islands. The authors provide both low-tech and high-tech solutions.
In this article, I explore the knowledge and values that allowed the people of Oceania to develop sustainable use of their marine resources, followed by the demise of these systems after western colonization and the breakdown of traditional societies. The current renaissance of customary stewardship has resulted in not only more effective management, but also a cultural reawakening in many of these island nations. The integration of customary and contemporary management regimes holds great promise for reducing reliance on foreign goods and services, while also improving social cohesion.
The ocean has been experiencing substantial changes in marine physics, chemistry and biology including ocean acidification, rising seawater temperature, ocean deoxygenation and sea level rise. These four, often interacting factors, are expected to increase over the coming decades depending on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is imperative that international decision-makers and stakeholders understand the enormous role the ocean plays in sustaining life on Earth, and the consequences of a high CO2 world for the ocean and society.
Climate change is the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific. This was reaffirmed last year when Pacific Island Forum Leaders identified climate change as one of the top five regional priorities under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, and at the same time issued the Declaration on Climate Change Action for the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris. The declaration built upon other high level declarations issued by the region prior to COP21.
Building Resilience to Climate Change in Pacific Communities
The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Programme is the first major climate change adaptation initiative in the Pacific region. Since it began in 2009 the Programme has been laying the groundwork for more resilient Pacific communities that are better able to cope with climate variability today and climate change tomorrow. The Programme approaches this from two directions: it is working to enhance adaptive capacity on the ground, and it is driving the mainstreaming of climate risks into national development planning and activities.
The Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC), headquartered in Honolulu, but working across the Pacific, integrates local climate models with models of climate-change responses by species, habitats, and ecosystems. The PICCC was established in 2010 to assist those who manage native species, island ecosystems, and key cultural resources in adapting their management to climate change for the continuing benefit of the people of the Pacific Islands.
Demonstrating the remarkable power of collaboration and big thinking that Palau so often exhibits, in 2016 a diverse partnership produced the nation’s 1st National Environment Symposium. The event brought together conservation groups, national leaders, business owners, and community members for intimate discussion and respectful debate on the successes, challenges, and opportunities facing Palau’s environment. Participants reiterated the importance of the natural environment to Palau’s culture and identity, and agreed that ongoing collective effort will preserve natural resources for future generations. The output of the symposium included better direction and prioritization that will guide improved conservation action by the government and the public alike.
Janishevski, L. and Gidda, S.B. 2010. Protected Areas and Climate Change. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and UNEP; Issue Paper No. 6
This four page issue paper discusses the importance of protected areas, which while under threat from climate change, provide a natural and economical means of mitigating and adapting to its effects. It describes the need to strengthen protected areas (e.g. in respect of management and governance), and to expand and ensure their connectivity in order to improve the global response to climate change.
Edwards, A.J. (ed.) 2010. Reef Rehabilitation Manual. Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management Program: St Lucia, Australia.
This manual captures the learnings of worldwide research into reef rehabilitation and seeks to reduce the proportion of reef rehabilitation projects that fail.
It provides detailed hands-on advice, based on lessons-learnt from previous experience, on how to carry out coral reef rehabilitation in a responsible and cost-effective manner. Methods described include: constructing and managing nurseries for asexual rearing of corals; rearing coral larvae for reef rehabilitation and methods of coral transplantation.
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