Adapting to climate change in impacts on the coast of Ponta do Corumbau, Bahia.
The climate change vulnerability assessment identified the communities around Ponta do Corumbau as some of the most vulnerable to climate change in the study area, due to their high exposure to climate variability and extreme events and due to their high dependence on coastal and marine natural resources for fisheries and coastal protection. In addition, the coastline of Ponta do Corumbau is highly vulnerable to coastal erosion: the adjacent Itacolomis coral reefs currently provide critical coastal protection by moderating oceanic waves and hence reducing erosion. This protection, however, may be reduced by climate change for the reasons outlined above.
Addressing the impacts of climate change on the coastal and marine ecosystems around Ponta do Corumbau and reducing the vulnerability of the communities' dependent on them will require an integrated, multifaceted approach. Based on the results of the climate change vulnerability assessment, this project has designed a program of ecosystem-based activities that will build the region's resilience and capacity to adapt to climate change.
Implementation of this program in Ponta do Corumbau will initially focus on maintaining and improving the health of coral reefs, combined with activities that promote more appropriate coastal planning. Improving the coral reef health by addressing the impact of unsustainable fisheries will increase the resilience of this critical ecosystem and hence increase its capacity for coastal protection and the provision of long-term fisheries. Similarly, integrating climate change related issues into the municipal plan of protection and restoration of the Atlantic Forest, such as protection and restoration of restinga and mangrove areas, and promoting climate-smart development along the coasts, will address many of the climate change vulnerabilities identified.
Through these activities, our goal is to reduce, by 2025, the vulnerability of two fishing communities to the negative impacts of climate change on fisheries and coastal protection in Ponta do Corumbau.
Among the activities that have been prioritized for maintaining or improving the health of the corals around Ponta do Corumbau are:
- the re-enforcement of the no-take zones in the coral reef areas, and
- awareness building among local people on climate change and the importance of coral reef health to climate change adaptation, including the role of parrotfish in maintaining coral reef health and resilience to climate change.
Activities that will contribute to climate-smart coastal planning in the region include:
- the education of private owners in key areas (i.e. areas that are more vulnerable to coastal erosion such as areas adjacent to protective coral reefs) on the importance of a coastal planning for the health of corals and for the maintenance of the services they provide, and
- supporting the integration of protection or restoration of restingas and mangroves that stabilize sediment and mediate coastal erosion and flooding into the municipal plans of restoration and protection of the Atlantic forest.
More specifically the following activities will be implemented:
- Advocate for the inclusion of certain mangrove and restinga areas, as well as forest areas along rivers that drain into areas adjacent to coral reefs, as high priorities in the municipal plan of restoration and protection of the Atlantic forest in Porto Seguro (in Prado also if possible).
- Support the reinstitution and the enforcement of fisheries no-take zones over the coral reefs within the Abrolhos shelf. This activity will help maintain and improve the health of the corals in no-take zones.
- Monitor the rate of fishermen compliance with the largest no-take zones in the itacolomis reefs.
- Implement an experiment of calcification vs. bioerosion to assess the growth of the reef in no-take zones and fishing areas. This activity will allow us to test if coral growth is improved in no-take zones and hence if this action is improving coral reef health and resilience in the long-term.
- Monitor fisheries in the region, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the no-take area and other management regimes on increasing the fish catch per unit effort.
- Monitor the coastline to evaluate erosion or accretion and the importance of reef protection on it. This activity will allow us to address if healthy coral reefs maintain or improve coastal protection.
- Articulate with the council of RESEX Corumbau, municipality councils, and PA Mosaic council the adoption of EbA recommendations from the vulnerability assessment in the municipality of Porto Seguro. This activity will allow us to present the results and the recommendations of the vulnerability assessment to various institutions.
- Educate private owners established in key areas within the Ponta do Corumbau (those that are more vulnerable to coastal erosion and those that are adjacent to coral reefs) on the importance of a coastal planning for addressing climate change by mediating coastal erosion, maintaining the health of coral reefs and for the maintenance of the services reefs, mangroves and other ecosystems provide. This activity will increase awareness of private owners on the importance of coastal planning.
- Engage the local communities of Ponta do Corumbau in the importance of adaptation in the area, and on the role of herbivorous fish (particularly parrotfish) to maintain reef health. This activity will increase the awareness of the local communities on the importance of climate change adaptation in the region and the role that herbivorous fish provide on the health of coral reefs.
- Re-analyze the systematic conservation planning scenario for the Abrolhos region including the layers of Eba.
Integration of ecosystem-based adaptation recommendations into the municipal plan of restoration and protection of the Atlantic Forest in Porto Seguro, Bahia.
The climate change vulnerability assessment identified the municipalities of Porto Seguro and Prado as some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These two municipalities include the three largest national parks in the study area, which are key to providing several ecosystem services, such as fresh water provision, pollination services and ecotourism. Water supply for Porto Seguro in the future depends on the protection of the forests around key watersheds and the protection of forest located in areas of high fog interception.
The population of Porto Seguro is relatively small (~140,000 people), but it has an 8-fold increase during the peak of the tourism season, when it reaches almost 1 million people. During this time of the year, there is an increase in water consumption, emphasizing the importance of protecting and restoring forested areas around watersheds that directly or indirectly provide fresh water to this municipality.
Addressing the impacts of climate change on forest fragments and water resources in Porto Seguro will require an approach that focuses on the protection and restoration of several key forested areas, including those around the national parks and those that are located around important watersheds that provide water to Porto Seguro. The protection and restoration of forested areas, taking into account not only the current but also future climate conditions, will be achieved through the development of a municipal plans that aim to establish guidelines and priorities for projects and public policies in the area.
By 2014, we will elaborate the Municipal Plan of conservation and restoration of the Atlantic forest in Porto Seguro, which will take into account the Ecosystem-based adaptation recommendations identified in this report. The Brazilian government encourages the municipalities to elaborate their Municipal Plan of Conservation and Recovering of Atlantic Forest (Law 11.428/06) and the goal of this plan is to establish guidelines and priorities for projects and public policies in the area, regarding this issue. The developments of those municipal plans are encouraged by the Brazilian government but none of them so far have taken climate change impacts into consideration. Therefore, the Municipal Plan of conservation and recovering of the Atlantic forest in Porto Seguro will be the first in Brazil to address climate change and to have Ecosystem-based adaptation recommendations.
Examples of recommendations that we are planning to include in the Municipal Plan of Conservation and Recovering of Atlantic Forest in Porto Seguro are:
- the protection of forested areas in watersheds that directly or indirectly provide water to Porto Seguro,
- the assisted natural regeneration of non-forested areas around those key watersheds
- the connection among forest fragments, and
- the promotion of agroforestry systems and crops that are "water-efficient" in non-forested areas around those watersheds.
The activities that will be conducted to develop the Municipal plan of restoration and protection of the Atlantic forest are the following:
- Engage Porto Seguro municipal council of environment and other forums in the elaboration of Porto Seguro Municipal Plan of Conservation and Protection of the Atlantic Forest.
- Conduct an assessment of policies and of the biophysical and socioeconomic aspects not accessed in this report, such as the identification of permanent protected area (APPs) and legal reserves, private, public and indigenous land, areas with potential for seed and seedling collection, ecological corridors, rivers and creeks, and a diagnostic of the native forest, among others.
- Elaborate the Porto Seguro Municipal Plan of Conservation and Restoration of the Atlantic Forest with local stakeholders including, but not limited to, members of the NGOs that work in the area, managers of the protected areas, members of the governmental organizations and local communities. A participatory elaboration of the Municipal Plan will ensure that all voices and concerns will be heard.
- Submit the plan to the Secretary of the Environment for revision.
- Submit the plan to the City Council of the Environment for approval.