Impacts of coastal land use change in the wet tropics on nearshore coral reefs: case studies from Papua New Guinea

Turak, Emre, Devantier, Lyndon, Szava-Kovats, Robert, and Brodie, Jon (2021) Impacts of coastal land use change in the wet tropics on nearshore coral reefs: case studies from Papua New Guinea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 168. 112445.

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Abstract

Logging and plantation agriculture are vital to economies and livelihoods in tropical nations, including Papua New Guinea. To meet global demand, hundreds of thousands of ha of diverse natural habitat have been logged, cleared and replaced with monoculture crops. Resulting hydrological changes have increased sediment, nutrient and pesticide runoff, impacting down-stream habitats. Here, case studies from Kimbe Bay (New Britain) and Mullins Harbour (Milne Bay), examine effects on nearshore coral reefs. In both places, logging and oil palm development had destabilized soils and removed or degraded riparian vegetation. Downstream, nearshore reefs had high silt levels, which, coincident with minor coral bleaching and predation by crown-of-thorns starfish, were correlated with high levels of coral mortality and low coral species richness. Sediment and related impacts can be reduced by effective catchment management, such as avoiding steep slopes, expanding stream and coastal buffer zones, minimizing fertilizer and pesticide use, monitoring and reactive management.

Item ID: 70310
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: Land-based impacts, Nearshore reefs, Oil palm, Papua New Guinea, Reef-building corals, Sediment damage
Copyright Information: © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2022 02:35
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