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A Changing Climate

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.  

Measuring Temperature in Coral Reef Environments: Experience, Lessons, and Results from Palau

Sea surface temperature, determined remotely by satellite (SSST), measures only the thin “skin” of the ocean but is widely used to quantify the thermal regimes on coral reefs across the globe. In situ measurements of temperature complements global satellite sea surface temperature with more accurate measurements at specific locations/depths on reefs and more detailed data. In 1999, an in situ temperature-monitoring network was started in the Republic of Palau after the 1998 coral bleaching event.

Rigorously Valuing the Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction

The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision making. Here we combine engineering, ecologic, geospatial, social, and economic tools to provide a rigorous valuation of the coastal protection benefits of all U.S.

Sinking Islands, Drowned Logic; Climate Change and Community-Based Adaptation Discourses in Solomon Islands

The saltwater people of Solomon Islands are often portrayed to be at the frontline of climate change. In media, policy, and development discourses, the erosion and abandonment of the small, man-made islands along the coast of Malaita is attributed to climate change induced sea-level rise. This paper investigates this sinking islands narrative, and argues that a narrow focus on the projected impacts of climate change distracts attention and resources from more pressing environmental and development problems that are threatening rural livelihoods.

Marshall Islands' National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The purpose of this Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) is to Assist the Marshall Islands to Plan for the Conservation of its biodiversity and for in the sustainable use of its biological resources. This is the first time that such a strategy and action plan has been formulated for the country. It provides an opportunity for the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to integrate principles of sustainable resource management and biodiversity conservation into the national development planning processes.

Nature-based solutions for adapting to water-related climate risks

Countries are facing a pressing, complex and interlinked set of environmental crises. While significant government resources and capacities need to focus on managing the social and economic consequences brought on by efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the global environmental challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss remain urgent. Recent major international reports (e.g.

Out of the Blue - The Value of Seagrasses to the Environment and to People

Seagrasses are one of the most valuable coastal and marine ecosystems on the planet, providing a range of critical environmental, economic and social benefits. They provide food and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people, and they support rich biodiversity, with their sediments constituting one of the planet’s most efficient stores of carbon. However coastal development and population growth, rising pollution and climate change, are threatening the survival of this vital ecosystem.

The Protective Value of Nature

The Protective Value of Nature summarizes the latest science on the effectiveness of natural infrastructure in lowering the risks to communities from weather- and climate-related hazards—benefits that we often describe as “natural defenses.” Over the past two decades, the body of research evaluating and quantifying the protective performance of natural infrastructure has increased significantly.

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. Escalating climate and global changes present an imminent threat to Pacific communities, particularly for food security, livelihoods, health and safety, cultural identity and biodiversity conservation.

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. All 10 heat-evolved strains had expanded their thermal tolerance in vitro following laboratory evolution. After reintroduction into coral host larvae, 3 of the 10 heat-evolved endosymbionts also increased the holobionts’ bleaching tolerance.