Some of the threats posed by climate change can appear rather esoteric or abstract. One of these is ocean acidification - it is not immediately obvious why we should care. A recent paper by Sara Cooley and colleagues give a good example of why the threat of changing ocean chemistry matters.
Coastal communities across the Pacific islands of the Solomons, Kiribati and Vanuatu are becoming increasingly concerned as essential marine resources that support hundreds of thousands of people dwindle due to impacts such as climate change and overfishing. In a new phase of an ongoing research project managed by WorldFish and funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), this project is a key component in a broad programme of work that seeks to transform the coastal fisheries of Solomon Islands, and beyond that, initiate a process to do the same in Vanuatu and Kiribati.
Timor Leste is one of six nations within the Coral Triangle (CT), a region located along the equator at the confluence of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. Despite an extensive coastline the country has made scarce use of its living marine resources, and annual fish consumption is less than 4 kg per head (compared to a global average of 17 kg per head). Neglect of the marine economy and ineffective governance are sapping the potential of a sector that could contribute significantly to the national economy and the health and welfare of the population.
The warm tropical waters of the Coral Triangle may host the richest diversity of marine life on this planet. More than 75% of all recorded coral species and at least 3,000 fish species and can be found here. A diverse mix of habitats including river estuaries, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs sustain this rich marine biodiversity. Resources from this area support livelihoods and provide income and food security for more than 100 million local people, particularly in coastal communities.
Mangroves are key coastal ecosystems that furnish valuable goods and services including water quality control, nursery habitats and storm protection. Additionally like other forests, mangroves have high rates of primary productivity and sequester (i.e., take up) large amounts of atmospheric carbon. Mangroves thus function as critical global sinks for carbon dioxide (a major greenhouse gas), and their conservation and restoration can play an important role in climate change mitigation in developing countries.