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The reef resilience TOT workshop at Zanzibar
The Nature Conservancy organised a Reef Resilience TOT Workshop from 9-14th June this year at Zanzibar. The workshop was very interesting and informative where both ecological and social resilience indicators were discussed and we had to make a communication and bleaching response plan for each of our sites. The workshop participants came from countries around the Indian ocean.
We learnt that Coral Bleaching and ocean acidification cause reef degradation which impacts the social-ecological situation. Thee reefs ability to provide goods and services is reduced and this impacts fisheries and tourism as fish catch is reduced and fewer tourists visit degraded reefs. Degraded and dead reefs can no longer serve as a source for important medicinal resources (e.g., drugs to treat heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses). The loss of reefs may affect cultural values and traditional uses of reefs and their associated resources. Such values and uses may be difficult to quantify.
Resilient social-ecological systems incorporate diverse mechanisms for coping with change and crisis. In social systems, governance and management frameworks can spread risk by diversifying patterns of resource use and by encouraging alternate activities and lifestyles which can can help to maintain valuable ecosystem services
During this training, we addressed the actions a manager can take to minimize the impacts of bleaching events. as well as build resilience to a variety of other major stressors into the natural systems they manage. Solutions involve both daily management activities and planning for change. Potential management actions include daily management activities that reduce human stressors on reefs as well as building resilience to climate change into the design of marine protected areas and networks.
This means that supporting and maintaining resilience requires addressing all of the pervasive threats to reefs including land-based sources of pollution, overfishing and climate change. Uncertainty in the ways the climate will change and what this will mean for different reefs certainly makes the situation for managers more challenging! However, it is possible to develop and implement flexible and adaptive strategies to respond to climate-related and other disturbances that impact coral reefs and the communities that depend on them.
Looking at the SocMon indicators that can be used for reef resilience I feel we should stress on assessing how the management body is doing, assess positive and negative impacts of management measures, wether the management body has incorporated the resilience indicators into their marine park design and building stakeholder participation and appropriate education and awareness programs.
(published in SOCMONITOR July 2013, issue 13