A Comparative Analysis of Designed Artificial Reefs as Ecosystem Service Providers: Building Social-Ecological Resilience on Atoll Islands
Schut, Kaj T.
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Coral reef ecosystems are under increasing threat from climatic and anthropogenic pressures. Research has revealed that approximately twenty per cent of the world’s coral reefs have already been degraded and it has been predicted that an additional twenty per cent will be lost if no action is taken. This is particularly problematic for the inhabitants of atoll islands who depend greatly on the goods and services provided by coral reefs. This study suggests that the resilience of social and ecological systems can be strengthened by securing the provision of coral reef ecosystem services at all times and reducing the pressure of external disturbances on natural coral reef systems. Consequently, this study synthesises concepts that are associated with social-ecological resilience and presents a new framework for the evaluation of the coral reef restoration technique commonly known as ‘designed artificial reef’. The results suggest that the designed artificial reefs discussed in this study can contribute to the social-ecological resilience of atoll islands by providing additional provisioning, regulating and cultural services and should therefore be considered in future discussions on adaptation to climate change.