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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.  

pacific climate change portal
For further information on climate change in the Pacific, visit the Pacific Climate Change Portal which aims to ensure that climate change‐related information and tools held by regional and national institutions in the Pacific Islands are readily accessible in a coordinated and user-friendly manner.

'The Future is Now: Science for Sustainable Development' - Global Sustainable Development Report 2019

Despite considerable efforts these past four years, we are not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. We must dramatically step up the pace of implementation as we enter a decisive decade for people and the planet.

A framework for understanding climate change impacts on coral reef social–ecological systems

Corals and coral-associated species are highly vulnerable to the emerging effects of global climate change. The widespread degradation of coral reefs, which will be accelerated by climate change, jeopardizes the goods and services that tropical nations derive from reef ecosystems.

A Management and Adaptation Planning Guide for Natural Resource Managers

A Management and Adaptation Planning Guide for Natural Resource Managers. 2006. Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community (PIMPAC) document.

A Reef Managers Guide to Coral Bleaching

Marshall, P. and Schuttenberg, H. 2006. A Reef Managers Guide to Coral Bleaching. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville, Australia.

A resilient and connected network of sites to sustain biodiversity under a changing climate

Motivated by declines in biodiversity exacerbated by climate change, we identified a network of conservation sites designed to provide resilient habitat for species, while supporting dynamic shifts in ranges and changes in ecosystem composition.

A sustainable ocean economy in 2030: Opportunities and challenges

In this report the World Ocean Initiative assesses the challenges facing key sectors in the ocean economy, including seafood, shipping, tourism and renewable energy.

Adaptive marine conservation planning in the face of climate change: What can we learn from physiological, ecological and genetic studies?

Rapid anthropogenic climate change is a major threat to ocean biodiversity, increasing the challenge for marine conservation.

An assessment of community-based adaptation initiatives in the Pacific Islands

For the Pacific Islands, community-based adaptation activities are crucial, and yet it remains uncertain whether they are effectively promoting long-term adaptive capacity. Here we evaluate the performance of 32 community-based adaptation initiatives across 20 rural communities in the Pacific.

An attainable global vision for conservation and human well-being

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.

Atolls of the Tropical Pacific Ocean: Wetlands Under Threat

Atolls are small, geographically isolated, resource-poor islands scattered over vast expanses of ocean.

Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change

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.

Carbon Emissions from Forest Loss in Protected Areas.

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.

Change in Terrestrial Human Footprint Drives Continued Loss of Intact Ecosystems

Human pressure mapping is important for understanding humanity’s role in shaping Earth’s patterns and processes. We provide the latest maps of the terrestrial human footprint and provide an assessment of change in human pressure across Earth.

Changing geo‐ecological functions of coral reefs in the Anthropocene

The ecology of many coral reefs has changed markedly over recent decades in response to various combinations of local and global stressors.

Climate benefits from establishing marine protected areas targeted at blue carbon solutions

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are recognized as highly effective tools for marine conservation. They may also play an important role in mitigating climate change.

Climate Change Adaptation for Natural World Heritage Sites: A Practical Guide

Perry, J and C. Falzon. 2014.  Climate Change Adaptation for Natural World Heritage Sites: a Practical Guide.  World Heritage Papers 37.

This guide is intended primarily to:

Climate change and the future for coral reef fishes

Climate change will impact coral-reef fishes through effects on individual performance, trophic linkages, recruitment dynamics, population connectivity and other ecosystem processes.

Climate change threatens New Guinea’s biocultural heritage

New Guinea is the most biologically and linguistically diverse tropical island on Earth, yet the potential impacts of climate change on its biocultural heritage remain unknown.

Climate change to drive increasing overlap between Pacific tuna fisheries and emerging deep-sea mining industry

In ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction, various legal regimes and governance structures result in diffused responsibility and create challenges for management.

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.

Climate Change, Coral Reef Ecosystems, and Management Options for Marine Protected Areas

Marine protected areas (MPAs) provide place-based management of marine ecosystems through various degrees and types of protective actions.

Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against

Politicians, economists and even some natural scientists have tended to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood.

Community-based adaptation to climate change in villages of Western Province, Solomon Islands

People, local cultures and the environments they live in are complex and dynamic social-ecological systems that have evolved together over time and are continually affected by a myriad of factors, including climate and global changes.

Conservation of Biodiversity in the Pacific Islands of Oceania: Challenges and Opportunities

Pacific Island biodiversity has a notorious record of decline and extinction which continues due to habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, overexploitation, pollution, disease and human-forced climate change.

Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching

Grimsditch, G.D., and Salm, R. V.  2006. Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching.  IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere put shallow, warm-water coral reef ecosystems, and the people who depend upon them at risk from two key global environmental stresses: 1) elevated sea surface temperature (that can cause coral bleaching and related mortality), and 2) ocean aci

Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets

Over the last decades scientists have discovered that seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangroves – “blue carbon” ecosystems – are among the most intensive carbon sinks in the biosphere.

Deep reefs of the Great Barrier Reef offer limited thermal refuge during mass coral bleaching

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.

European Commission Science for Environment Policy Future Brief 24: The solution is in nature.

The science is clear: the biodiversity crisis, the climate crisis and the health crisis are interdependent.

Faster Ocean Warming Threatens Richest areas of Marine Biodiversity

The vulnerability of marine biodiversity to accelerated rates of climatic change is poorly understood.

Field Note - Discovery of a recovering climax Acropora community in Kanton Lagoon in the remote Phoenix Islands Protected Area

An expedition in 2002 to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in the Republic of Kiribati documented an extensive and delicate community of staghorn and tabular Acropora colonies...

First Quadrennial Pacific Sustainable Development : Executive Summary 2018

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.

Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) works to identify and draw attention to emerging issues of environmental concern. The UNEP Frontiers’ report continues to advance this work, signaling environmental issues and solutions for effective and timely responses.

Global modeling of nature’s contributions to people

The magnitude and pace of global change demand rapid assessment of nature and its contributions to people. We present a fine-scale global modeling of current status and future scenarios for several contributions: water quality regulation, coastal risk reduction, and crop pollination.

Global Protected Areas as refuges for amphibians and reptiles under climate change

Protected Areas (PAs) are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. Here, we collated distributional data for >14,000 (~70% of) species of amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna) to perform a global assessment of the conservation effectiveness of PAs using species distribution models.

Harnessing island–ocean connections to maximize marine benefits of island conservation

Islands  support  unique  plants,  animals,  and  human societies found nowhere else on the Earth. Local and global stressors threaten the persistence of island ecosystems, with invasive species being among the most damaging, yet solvable, stressors.

Heat-evolved microalgal symbionts increase coral bleaching tolerance

Coral reefs worldwide are suffering mass mortalities from marine heat waves. With the aim of enhancing coral bleaching tolerance, we evolved 10 clonal strains of a common coral microalgal endosymbiont at elevated temperatures (31°C) for 4 years in the laboratory.

How to Live a Green Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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.

IN DEEP WATER - The emerging threat of deep sea mining

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.