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Climate Change Vulnerability Analysis for US Pacific Reefs - Integrating Exposure, Resilience, and Social Adaptive Capacity


Description:

Project Manager:
Thomas Oliver
Project Years:
2016
2017
2018
Project Summary:
Overarching Goal: Building on ongoing efforts in Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, and American Samoa to document the potential for coral reef ecosystems to resist or recover from anthropogenic stress, we will synthesize existing assessments and use existing Coral Reef Ecosystem Division in-situ datasets, remotely-sensed data, and socio-economic datasets to perform full Social-Ecological-System vulnerability analysis for the five regions in which the NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program is active : the main Hawaiian Islands, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island Areas.  Measuring Exposure, Resilience, Social Adaptive Capacity: Specifically, we will follow established methodologies to measure reef exposure to climate and local anthropogenic stressors on reefs, resilience capacity of target reefs using a standard set of 11predictors (McClanahan et al. 2012), and, for populated areas, estimate the human populations’ social adaptive capacity to cope with changing conditions. Exposure: First, we will document reef exposure to known stressors to coral reef ecosystems, including estimates of fishing, land-based pollution, warming across all CRED sites throughout the US Pacific using compiled datasets on local stressors (e.g. Halpern et al 2008) and climate projections models (e.g. CMIP5, van Hooidonk and Maynard 2015). Resilience: Second, we will compile, confirm, and generate measures of a reef’s capacity to resist the negative impact of stressors and/or recover from stress exposure, using the set of 11 factors noted by McClanahan et al. (2012).Social AdaptiveCapacity:  We will use existing economic and census data in each of our populated areas to generate relative metrics of social adaptive capacity at village or county scale, following methodologies already established in Pacific Island populations (Jepson and Colburn 2013). Using these three components, we will extend current archipelago-scale estimates of resilience, to estimate broad-sense vulnerability of US Pacific Reef sites, with the goal of identifying areas that are potential refuges from stress exposure, robust to stresses, or likely to be ecologically and/or socially resilient to such stresses. Expected outcomes of the project include (1) A publicly accessible dataset reporting the relative exposure, resilience, and social adaptive capacity metrics for all five regions, containing a clear drill-down of the environmental, ecological, and socio-economic measures supporting those metrics. (2) A set of four local manager’s reports including management recommendations to government agencies in Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and Hawai’i regarding targeted actions to reduce stress and support recovery processes. (3) A regional strategy report highlighting areas across the region that are particularly at-risk, serve as refuges from stress, or are likely to be particularly resilient to stresses.This work will provide regional planners and local managers a clear description of those areas most likely to be highly vulnerable to climate change stressors as well as areas likely to serve as refuges, or likely to resist or recover from coming stressors. It will add to existing resilience assessments both the likelihood and timing of significant climate-stress exposure and the human populations’ ability to adapt, manage and cope with changes.
Expected Outcome:
Expected outcomes of the project include: (1) Project Database: A publically accessible dataset reporting the relative exposure, resilience, and social adaptive capacity metrics for all five regions, containing a clear drill-down of the environmental, ecological, and socio-economic measures supporting those metrics. (2) Local Manager's Reports: A set of four local manager’s reports including management recommendations to government agencies in Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and Hawai’i regarding targeted actions to reduce stress and support recovery processes. (3) Regional Strategy Document: A regional strategy report highlighting areas across the region that are particularly at-risk, serve as refuges from stress, or are likely to be particularly resilient to stresses.
Project Locations:
  • Hawaii
  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Guam
  • Pacific Remote Island Areas
Jursdiction Priority Sites:
  • Faga’alu
  • Manell-Geuss Watershed
  • Pelekane Bay-Puako-Anaeho‘omalu Bay (Hawai‘i)
  • Garapan (Saipan)
Project Category:
Climate Change
Project Type:
Committed
Project Status:
Approved
Associated Products:

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