Impacts of super-typhoon Yolanda on Philippine reefs and communities

Anticamara, Jonathan A., and Go, Kevin Thomas B. (2017) Impacts of super-typhoon Yolanda on Philippine reefs and communities. Regional Environmental Change, 17 (3). pp. 703-713.

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Abstract

This report presents super-typhoon Yolanda’s impacts on coral reefs of Eastern Samar, Philippines, and evaluates its implications on resource management in the area. Coral reefs suffer regular impacts of typhoons, and typhoons nowadays are stronger in magnitude, longer in duration, more frequent in occurrence, and larger in scale. Thus, there is a great need to understand the impacts and consequences of super-typhoons on reefs and the coastal communities. Yolanda is the strongest recorded typhoon to make a landfall. Here is the first account of Yolanda’s impacts on corals and benthic organisms, reef fish, and fisheries production. Our study sites covered Lawaan, Balangiga, Giporlos, Quinapondan, Salcedo, and Guiuan in Eastern Samar, Philippines—municipalities that were greatly damaged by Yolanda. To quantify the impacts of Yolanda on coral reefs, we compared coral cover and diversity, and fish abundance, biomass, and diversity between sites before and after Yolanda. We found that some reef areas were completely wiped out by Yolanda (i.e., the shallow branching reefs), but other reef sites were only partially damaged. The extent of damages depends on reef locations relative to Yolanda’s trajectory, depth, coral species composition, and reef condition prior to Yolanda. We also found that most reefs in the area already suffered degradation prior to Yolanda (i.e., due to overfishing, destructive fishing, and siltation from land). Active coral restoration, reduction in fishing effort, diversification of economic activities, and effective management of no-take marine reserves should play key roles in the recovery of resources and human lives in these devastated areas.

Item ID: 54086
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: climate change; coral reefs; Haiyan; reef restoration; resource management; super-typhoon
ISSN: 1436-378X
Funders: Foundation for the Philippine Environment, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (OVCRD), Natural Sciences Research Institute (NSRI), University of the Philippines (UP)
Projects and Grants: UP OVCRD 131307 PhDIA, UP NSRI project code: Bio-14-2-05, UP Creative and Research Scholarship Funds
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2018 01:42
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 60%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961006 Natural Hazards in Marine Environments @ 50%
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