|Categories||Communities, Corals, People|
|Date||7 Jul 2015|
Kiritimati is part of the Republic of Kiribati, one of a handful of island-nations identified as having high reef dependence, high exposure to impending anthropogenic threats, and low capacity to adapt to these threats. As the world’s largest atoll, Kiritimati’s coral reefs span an unparalleled disturbance gradient from near-pristine reefs to highly degraded ones. I lead a coupled socioeconomic-ecosystem monitoring program on Kiritimati. To date, we have data from 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. Data from this Rufford grant will allow us to assess changes in human well-being and reef health over the past nine years, which has been a period of rapid change on Kiritimati. Over the past two years in particular, fishing pressure and tourism have increased substantially on Kiritimati, and this past January the atoll was hit by the largest storm since we began our work. Monitoring data like ours are critically important for understanding how ecosystems, and the communities who rely upon them, respond to large-scale disturbances. Examining data from across years, this summer’s field season offers an opportunity to:
Unlike many monitoring programs, which began only after ecosystem degradation, our program includes near-pristine reefs, and hence will provide novel insights about the factors underlying coral reef resilience. My team and I will quantify changes in human welfare, subsistence and aquarium fishing, and coral reef health, and we will assess how fishing is impacting the reef, the efficacy of current aquarium fishery management measures, and the receptivity of the community to new measures to improve sustainability of the trade. We also will conduct conservation education activities and continue to build relationships with local resource users and managers aimed at enhancing understanding of the connections between reef health and human livelihoods, and fostering improved resource conservation measures.
Read about Julia's previous project http://www.rufford.org/projects/julie_baum or for more information contact: