SEAHORSE

Philippines

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In Depth Coverage

SEAHORSE in Philippines

The Philippines is the world’s centre of coral reef biodiversity. It contains the third most extensive reef system in the world and is home to nearly 500 hard coral species. Coral, seagrass, and mangroves form the core structure of the marine ecosystem, supporting thousands of fish and invertebrates, many of which are unique to the Philippines. These coastal habitats also support the livelihoods of many people within coastal communities through fishing. This industry provides half of the animal protein consumed in the Philippines and is vital for the economic stability of these coastal communities. This remarkable area is in crisis due to over-exploitation, sedimentation from land-use change, pollution and climate change. Conservation International estimates that only 5% of the coral reefs in the Philippines are still pristine.


Many communities have worked to counteract overfishing by establishing marine protected areas (MPAs). It is not known how quickly habitat improves in these protected areas or what areas have shown the greatest amount of habitat recovery. Information on habitat recovery is important for future MPA development and to determine whether these management interventions will help to increase resilience to climate change.

  • Link With Climate Change

    Open

    This project will focus on the investigation of sedimentation from land-use change and coral reef bleaching from rising ocean temperatures, the latter being related to local and global climate change.

  • Objectives

    Open

    This work will contribute to PSF's current Small-Scale Fisheries Programme, Ecosystem and Seaweed Farming Programme and Danajon Bank Assessment and Planning Programme – part of their five-year strategic plan. Results will feed into spatial zoning and planning by municipal local government units (LGUs). LGUs have mandates over municipal waters, but few currently have any zoning plan

  • Work plan

    Open

    Work on the images will start in early 2008, with further fieldwork planned for six months from March. An initial report will be provided by the end of 2008, including a status report on the analyses, plans for further work, and how we plan to use the results. Two PhDs that make use of the images will be submitted in 2010, and a final report will be provided in 2011 detailing the results obtained from the images and how the information has contributed to the PSF programmes. All publications and reports resulting from the use of these images will fully acknowledge the awarding body.

  • Schedule

    Open

    From 01/18/2008 to 12/31/2011

  • Technical and Scientific Approach & Methods Proposed

    Open

    To be developed

  • Results

    Open

    As part of a conservation organisation dedicated to achieving sustainable use of marine resources, we will use our findings from this project to develop management strategies that benefit coastal communities and the coastal ecosystem. We will identify what areas are most threatened by habitat loss and seaweed farming, and assess the ability of habitats to recover from degradation. This will help us work with managers and fishers to decide where it is best to create MPAs, to develop seaweed farms, and to fish. This information is currently unavailable, but is vital for setting conservation priorities. This work will contribute to PSF’s current Small-Scale Fisheries Programme, Ecosystem and Seaweed Farming Programme and Danajon Bank Assessment and Planning Programme – part of their five-year strategic plan. Results will feed into spatial zoning and planning by municipal local government units (LGUs). LGUs have mandates over municipal waters, but few currently have any zoning plans. Two PhD students, Nick Hill and Jenny Selgrath, working with PSF on these issues would make use of these images, together with PSF.

  • Deliverables

    Open

    To be developed

  • Use of Satellite Imagery and GIS Solutions

    Open

    We plan to use a time series of satellite images to map changes in the distribution of four ecologically important shallow water marine habitats (corals, mangroves, seagrass, and macro-algae) over the last 20 years, and to see how and where climate change, destructive fishing, seaweed farming and other coastal activities (e.g. fishpond development and logging in mangrove areas) have impacted these habitats. We currently do not have any satellite images of this area.

    We are requesting 10 m and 20 m multispectral images to map the marine habitats, and 2.5 m panchromatic images to map seaweed farms, which are located in shallow waters of about 1 m depth. As seaweed farming can occur on scales of 25 m by 15 m and coral bleaching may occur on a smaller scale, 10 m resolution images may miss the development of small farms and localized bleaching events. Since little remote sensing work has been done to map seaweed farming, comparing the results of these images will allow us to develop protocols for future monitoring.

    We are requesting images of the Danajon Bank from 1988 to 2007. We plan to look at long term habitat changes using images in approximate two year time intervals, depending on image availability. This long time period will allow us to look at habitat changes as they occurred during variable dynamite fishing pressure, water temperatures, seaweed farm establishment, and MPA implementation. We are fortunate to have almost ten years of in situ habitat monitoring data from MPAs across the Danajon Bank that will allow us to ground truth older images.
     

  • Local Actions

    Open

    As part of a conservation organisation dedicated to achieving sustainable use of marine resources, we will use our findings from this project to develop management strategies that benefit coastal communities and the coastal ecosystem. We will identify what areas are most threatened by habitat loss and seaweed farming, and assess the ability of habitats to recover from degradation. This will help us work with managers and fishers to decide where it is best to create MPAs, to develop seaweed farms, and to fish. This information is currently unavailable, but is vital for setting conservation priorities. s.

  • Region Name

    Open
    The DANAJON BANK, PHILIPPINES
  • Partners involved in project

    Open
    Project Seahorse Foundation (PSF) for Marine Conservation (NGO)
    Philippines
    http://seahorse.fisheries.ubc.ca/