VOLUME 7 NUMBER 1 (January to June 2014)

Phil. Sci. Lett. 2014 7 (1) 201-2066
available online: May 24, 2014

*Corresponding author
Email Address: wilfredo.licuanan@dlsu.edu.ph
Received: March 9, 2014
Published: May 24, 2014


COMMENTARY

A proposed framework for a national coral reef assessment program

Wilfredo Y. Licuanan1* and Porfirio M. Aliño2

¹Br. Alfred Shields FSC Ocean Research Center and the Biology Department, De La
   Salle University
²Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines

The Philippines has limited up-to-date information on the current condition of its coral reefs and how this has changed over the last few decades. This comes at a time when threats to corals and coral reefs in general, and our economic and social dependence on them are at their greatest. This document outlines a framework by which a national coral reef assessment can be designed and this hopefully serves as a basis for stimulating urgently needed discussions on precisely how such an assessment could be undertaken. We propose that we should aim for an out-come of the national assessment that goes beyond generating updated information and that moves us to improving the conservation and management of Philippine coral reefs. We further suggest that the objectives of the assessment must first be precisely defined and agreed upon since the sampling design and corresponding costs of the assessment will depend greatly on these. We propose that the assessment should not be limited to estimating the amount of living coral and reef fish left in our reefs, but should also include an assessment of the health of the associated seagrass and even mangrove habitats that operate together with coral reefs in providing the coastal ecosystem services our people derive benefit from. The metrics to quantify the health of the coral reef communities and associated coastal habitats should be carefully selected as well as the assessment units, the sampling strata, and the methodologies involved in such an effort.

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