To make the Mesoamerican Reef resilient to climate change, the German Government is sponsoring a project which looks at ways to mitigate the effects of climate change by introducing adaptive measures. The four year project is called “Climate-smarting Marine Protected Areas and Coastal Management in Mesoamerican Reef” which will be conducted in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. In this regard, a workshop was held to collect critical information that will support the project. Love N ews spoke to Nadia Bood, Country Representative for the World Wildlife Fund who says that the project looks at the watershed area, coastal area, and the reef.
Nadia Bood – Country Representative for the World Wildlife Fund: “It’s a regional initiative and so when we think about climate change as a region this region is vulnerable to climate change effects. We exist in a late season Hurricane Belt which means that we are often times impacted by storms and Hurricanes that has resulted in impacts on the Ecosystem but also in the communities, in our properties, our homes and our infrastructure so we need to come up with ideas and options to pretty much be able to adapt our planning and our conservations within the region and its best to do this uniformly across the country given that the Meso American Reef is pretty much connected in terms of the sea and in even the connectivity within the Ecosystem which allows for the migration of species and so forth.”
Love News also spoke with Ryan Bartlett, the Lead for Climate Risk Management of the World Wildlife Fund in the USA, who said that there has already been a lot of changes due to the emission into the atmosphere.
Ryan Bartlett, the Lead for Climate Risk Management of the World Wildlife Fund: “Part of our task on this project is to work with partners from Columbia University and NASA and Stanford University to better understand exactly what is the risk of climate change that we are facing. How seasons are changing for example, how the rainy season is shifting towards different parts of the year? or are we seeing changes in the amount of rainfall? are we seeing changes in sea surface temperatures, how does that affect Coral bleaching for example and so the idea is to collect that Science and produce information that we can then use to actually implement adaptational projects in and around communities that live in protected areas or our nearby protected areas in the region.
Manishka Demel, Staff Associate at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University said that models developed from around the world are used to understand not just how the climate is changing but also the impacts on the ecosystem and humans.
Manishka Demel, Staff Associate at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia: “We have had a partnership called The Advanced Partnership which we started about three and a half years ago and we are a Client Service Partner and we provide climate risk information on how the climate is changing so that can be incorporated into adaptation activities on the ground and we work across the world and this is the first time we are working in this region so also we are developing marine variables: things like sea surface temperatures, ocean acidity which can be incorporated into predicted data area planning as these things are changing and the climate changes overtime. What we have learned through this partnership and our work is that from the very beginning it needs to be Science based so we try to get involved very early on in the project to provide the Climate Science so that that can be incorporated into planning and we also do this with stakeholders giving us feedbacks so yesterday what we presented was a very draft projection of how the climate is changing and today our session is focusing on getting feedback from the people who represent the communities and the local groups so that we can tailor this information in a way they can use for planning.”
Bood says that they are partnering with the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, which will be using the information obtained from the project to update their coastal zone management plan.