Valuing Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reef Ecosystem Services
To better support resilient coral reef ecosystems in Hawaiʻi, project researchers developed provide a dynamic, ecosystem-based decision-support tool for decision makers, non-profits, and community alliances. Regional research and management principles have shifted toward an ecosystem-based approach, but the required decision-support tools remain scarce.
Coral reefs provide numerous ecosystem goods and services critical to human well-being (e.g., protection from storms and floods, food, income, recreation, and cultural practices), but they are threatened by growing human pressures and climate change. Resource managers must make complex decisions when developing adaptation plans that are cost-effective and maintain coral reef functions while still allowing for human use and development.
Through this project, scientists developed a decision-support tool for managers to (1) identify the areas that provide the most critical coral reef services (i.e., supply the most value to humans) as well as the areas of reef most threatened, and (2) compare the effects of reef management strategies under different climate scenarios. This tool will help local managers more efficiently and effectively protect coral reefs and the valuable services they provide.