Social-ecological vulnerability of coral reef fisheries to climatic shocks

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular. No. 1082

Social-ecological vulnerability of coral reef fisheries to climatic shocks



Joshua Cinnero
Principal Research Fellow
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, Australia

Tim McClanahan
Senior Conservation Zoologist
Wildlife Conservation Society
Bronx, United States of America

Andrew Wamukota
PhD Student
School of Natural Sciences Linnaeus University
Kalmar, Sweden

Emily Darling
Smith Fellow
Earth to Ocean Research Group
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, Canada,

Austin Humphries

PhD Student
Rhodes University
Grahamstown, South Africa

Christina Hicks

PhD Student
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, Australia

Cindy Huchery
Research Assistant
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, Australia

Nadine Marshall
Social Scientist
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Townsville, Australia

Tessa Hempson
PhD Student
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, Australia

Nick Graham
Senior Research Fellow
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, Australia

Örjan Bodin
Research Fellow
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm, Sweden,

Tim Daw
Lecturer
University of East Anglia
Norwich, United Kingdom

and

Eddie Allison
Senior Lecturer
University of East Anglia
Norwich, United Kingdom



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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2013


ABSTRACT

Cinner, J., McClanahan, T., Wamukota, A., Darling, E., Humphries, A., Hicks, C., Huchery, C., Marshall, N., Hempson, T., Graham, N., Bodin, Ö., Daw, T. & Allison, E. 2013.
Social-ecological vulnerability of coral reef fisheries to climatic shocks. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1082. Rome, FAO. 63 pp.

This circular examines the vulnerability of coral reef social-ecological communities to one effect of climate change, coral bleaching. The objective was to develop and test in Kenya a community-level vulnerability assessment approach that incorporated both ecological and socio-economic dimensions of vulnerability in order to target and guide interventions to reduce vulnerability. In addition to a range of direct threats such as siltation, overfishing and coral disease, coral reefs are now threatened by climate change. Climate impacts on coral reefs and associated fisheries include: increasing seawater temperatures; changes in water chemistry (acidification); changes in seasonality; and increased severity and frequency of storms, which affect coral reef ecosystems as well as fisheries activities and infrastructure.

Coral bleaching and associated coral mortality as a result of high seawater temperatures is one of the most striking impacts of climate change that has been observed to date. As warming trends continue, the frequency and severity of bleaching episodes are predicted to increase with potentially fundamental impacts on the world's coral reefs and on the fisheries and livelihoods that depend on them.

The analysis presented in this circular combined ecological vulnerability (social exposure), social sensitivity and social adaptive capacity into an index of social-ecological vulnerability to coral bleaching. All three components of vulnerability varied across the sites and contributed to the variation in social-ecological vulnerability. Comparison over time showed that adaptive capacity and sensitivity indices increased from 2008 until 2012 owing to increases in community infrastructure and availability of credit. Disaggregated analysis of how adaptive capacity and sensitivity varied between different segments of society identified the young, migrants and those who do not participate in decision-making as having both higher sensitivity and lower adaptive capacity and, hence, as being the most vulnerable to changes in the productivity of reef fisheries.


Table of Contents

Preparation of this document

Abstract

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations and acronyms

Executive summary

1.

Introduction

 

 

Section Summary

2.

Methods

 

 

Study sites

 

 

Kenya's biophysical environment

   

Ecological sampling

 

 

Ecological indicators of vulnerability and measures

   

 

Ecological exposure

   

 

Ecological sensitivity

   

 

Ecological recovery potential

   

 

Variable normalization and composite indicesProvince of China

   

 

Ecological data analysis

 

 

Kenya's socio-economic environment

   

Socio-economic data collection

 

 

Social indicators of vulnerability

   

 

Social exposure

     

Social sensitivity

   

 

Social adaptive capacity

   

Analysis

   

 

Objective 1 – Develop metrics for social-ecological vulnerability

   

 

Objective 2 – Examine how sensitivity and adaptive capacity vary over time and among actors

   

Section summary

3.

Results

 

 

Objective 1: develop metrics for social-ecological vulnerability

   

 

Ecological aspects of vulnerability

   

 

Social aspects of vulnerability

 

 

Section summary

 

 

Adaptive capacity

   

Section summary

 

 

 

Social-ecological vulnerability

   

Objective 2: Examining how adaptive capacity and sensitivity vary over time and among actors

   

Section summary

4.

Discussion

   

Further research priorities

   

Application of this methodology to other vulnerability mapping exercises

 

 

Specific caveats for the results of this vulnerability analysis

References

Appendix Tables



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