| Ecological conditions of coral-reef and seagrass marine protected areas in Palau - :14775 | National Ocean Service (NOS) | Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP)
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Ecological conditions of coral-reef and seagrass marine protected areas in Palau
  • Published Date:
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  • Corporate Authors:
    Palau International Coral Reef Center ; Coral Reef Conservation Program (U.S.) ; United States, National Ocean Service,
  • Description:
    Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been widely used as an effective conservation tool against anthropogenic threats. In 2003, the government of Palau established the Protected Areas Network (PAN) to effectively protect and sustain marine resources. In addition, as part of the Micronesia Challenge, Palau committed to effectively protected 30% of its marine habitat by 2020. Despite these great advances in protective management, since 2006, very few data have been collected on the baseline condition of MPAs. The main objectives of this study are (1) to show the baseline ecological conditions of coral-reef and seagrass MPAs in Palau, (2) to investigate the drivers of ecological conditions and (3) to recommend adapted management actions to improve the existing marine protective management. Our results demonstrated that 14% of coral reef and seagrass ecosystems areas were protected; 11.2% of which were under PAN legislation. The marine habitats the most protected were channel and outer reef (> 25 %) and the least protected were reef flat and lagoon (<10%). Fringing and barrier reef MPAs had relatively good ecological conditions that were mainly driven by the length of protection, the size of the MPAs and the remoteness of the MPAs. Inner reef MPAs displayed good ecological condition as opposite to nearshore seagrass beds MPAs, where more than half had a score lower than 50%. For both inner reef and nearshore MPAs, ecological conditions were driven by pollution caused by poor-land use. To increase the effectiveness of the marine PAN, we recommend that better land use practices that would minimize land erosion and sedimentation nearby MPAs should be implemented as soon as possible with a focus on location with the lowest scores. If new MPAs were to be implemented, they should be in the lagoon and reef flat habitats, as far as possible from the land and river discharges.

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  • Funding:
    Funding: NOAA CRCP, NOAA National Ocean Service,; project number: 183;
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