The Philippines lies within the Coral Triangle, which has the highest concentration of marine life on the planet. Its coastal ecosystems consist of an interaction of three primary components–mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs. The productivity of these ecosystems supports and contributes to sustainable fishing, recreation and tourism, natural protection, and reduction of pollution, among others. A primary strategy used to protect coral reefs and associated systems is to design, plan and implement effective marine protected areas (MPAs). To ensure long-term effective and adaptive management of MPAs, information systems are essential. These systems track the status and condition of the marine ecosystems being protected, the governance of MPAs, and the trends of these indicators for better management at all levels. Such information is crucial to improve planning and management, and to educate stakeholders, government officials, and practitioners of marine resource management.
Aim: To improve the status of coral reefs and associated habitats through complimentary monitoring in key marine biodiversity areas, tracking and analysing the status of these areas through an information system that is used in education programs for coastal communities and stakeholders and for providing feedback on coastal management efforts.
This project will improve the status of coral reefs and associated habitats through complementary monitoring in key marine biodiversity areas and tracking and analysing the status of these areas through an up-to-date digital information system. This information system will be used, in turn for education programs for coastal communities and stakeholders, and for providing feedback on coastal management efforts.
This will be achieved through to two strategies:
- Marine protected area (MPA) monitoring and evaluation; and
- Targeted information, education, and communication (IEC) of conservation-related messages through the A. White and CRM Resource Center.
A. Project Outcomes.
The project’s measurable outcomes are, as follows:
- Outcome 1: Improved conservation efforts within community-managed MPAs through both capacity-building of MPA management bodies and resource assessments using conservation indicator metrics (such as increase in reef fish density/biomass and live hard coral cover); including improved MPA management effectiveness using the CCEF MPA management effectiveness rating, as modified by the MPA Evaluation and Assessment Tool (MEAT) (increase of MPA management effectiveness rating by one level higher).
- Outcome 2: Increased popular support for coastal conservation through public outreach education, learning and communications.
B. Project Activities.
To achieve the project outcomes, specific activities for Outcome 1 are:
- Design and conduct capacity building programs focusing on MPA management and other relevant training, including trainings on MPA assessments using biophysical indicators – fish, substrate and coral bleaching – socio-economic and management effectiveness using standardized methods for local monitoring.
- Together with the trained MPA managers, assess the 50 established MPAs in Central Visayas to track ecological and socio-economic impacts of conservation efforts. In addition, the level of management effectiveness of MPAs will also be assessed annually. For this purpose, the project will support two core staff of the Research and Monitoring Team of CCEF on a part-time basis.
Their role will be to support the afore-mentioned activities and to ensure good coordination between field monitoring activities and the development of the information and database system of CCEF.
- Refine and maintain a dynamic database for all data from CCEF’s monitoring operations. This will allow analysis, feedback to stakeholders and managers, and easy access for sharing of data as appropriate for multiple uses including academic research. The database will be maintained as part of the Library and Learning Center. Thereafter, CCEF will develop software to make the database available on the CCEF website as well as develop systems to easily update the MPA database with data from ongoing monitoring activities. Toward these ends, the project will support one full-time database manager and librarian.
Activities for Outcome 2 are:
- Conduct public education outreach activities to raise awareness and improve stakeholder communication using culturally-appropriate information, education and communications (IEC) materials on climate change adaptation, MPAs, and other appropriate management practices to communicate messages to the public more effectively.