Climate change impacts in Belize
- Sea level rise and sea surface temperature increases are very likely to affect Mesoamerican coral reefs [13.4.4].
- Mesoamerican coral reef is expected to be threatened, with consequences for a number of endangered species: e.g. the green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, the West Indian manatee and the American and Motelet's species of crocodile with warmer Sea Surface Temperature of 1°C-3°C by the 2080s [Table 13.7]
To address the detrimental affects climate change has on regional economies; we will be developing regional adaptation strategies to counter climate change impacts on conservation. We will be developing a case study that will adapt marine protected areas (MPA) network planning elements to encompass facets of bleaching resistance and coral resiliency. The grant will initially include consultations with experts to assess how resiliency information can be applied to the region.
Current tools and methodologies that we can employ include use of existing materials from WWF (A User's Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems [pdf, 1.09 MB]) and TNC (Reef Resilience), as well as the recent Coral Reef Manager's Guide, created by a consortium of US and Australian governmental, academic and non-governmental coral reef managers and scientists.
Secondly, we will field test the conceptual model at selected sites, involving an initial assessment of environmental and physical parameters, a collection of baseline data at these sites for one ‘bleaching season', coral bleaching monitoring during the bleaching season (following the joint Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority/ReefBase/WWF Coral Bleaching Monitoring Protocol) and collection of support data from the NOAA Sea Surface Temperature Monitoring System.
Nadia D. Bood
MAR Reef Scientist
WWF Guatemala/MAR Coordination Office
+501 223 7680