Building on the very successful cooperative program with the Government of Japan during the Center’s last Strategic Plan, PICRC and the Government of Japan Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), have entered into another cooperative project entitled, “Project for the sustainable management of coral reef and island ecosystems: responding to the threat of climate change.”
The project is a significant undertaking pursuing several lines of research that are critical to the long-term effective management of Palau’s near shore marine ecosystems. It includes: research for understanding ecosystems services; tourism development and its impacts on coral reefs; the long-term status of coral reefs and associated ecosystems in Palau and the impacts of climate change.
The project will undertake valuation of coral reef and related ecosystem; studies to understand the connectivity between terrestrial and marine ecosystems through material recycling; evaluation of economic loss due to degradation of mangrove and coral reef ecosystems; surveys of public attitudes toward tourism development; creation of a model for balancing tourism development planning and public awareness/attitudes; developing a monitoring framework for coral reef ecosystems and tracking several marine areas of Palau through surveys of the coral reef biological community at core sites and sub sites. It will also include establishment of a system to examine environmental stresses due to climate change impacts.
The project will create a database of biodiversity in Palau and promote the use of collected biodiversity information by creating a library of Palauan biodiversity literature and a Palauan biodiversity (species) list on both the Internet and in print.Throughout its work, the project will greatly increase the capacity of Palauan researchers in: environmental data acquisition and analyses; monitoring ecosystems with high precision; social/economic impact analyses, and writing of scientific papers. Finally, the project will strive to raise public awareness of the importance of conservation of coral reef and associated ecosystems as well as to positively contribute to management and policy decisions to improve coral reef management. By analyzing the changes in the environment and ecosystems, the project will be in a position to propose ways to mitigate the impact of environmental stressors on specific marine areas as well as to enhance conservation and management of coral reefs around Palau.