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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

3.0 Conducting a

3.0 Conducting a Vulnerability Assessmentresults vary between sites owing totree density and height, which may beinfluenced by latitude or salinity.How to interpret vulnerabilityDeclines in mangrove condition can beinferred from litter productivity resultsthat show little or no flowering orreproductive parts or less than expectedproductivity compared with sourcessuch as Duke et al. (1981), Saenger &Snedaker (1993) and Bouillon et al.(2008).Figure 15. Litter catcher hung in a Rhizophora forest, Fiji.How to analyze resultsMean litter production can be calculated from thetotal of all of the litter traps in each plot, and averagedfor the whole study site and reported in dry weightper square meter per day by dividing the mean by thenumber of days between collections. These results canbe compared with other studies using this standardtechnique (Saenger & Snedaker, 1993; Bouillon etal., 2008; Komiyama et al., 2008) to show relativeproductivity trends.Overall, results can be interpreted by• comparison between plots across a transect• comparison from a transect at one site to atransect at another site• comparison over time• comparison of results with mangrove productivityresults from similar sites elsewhereThe best results are obtained from repeatmeasurements over time, as mangrove productivityPhoto: Joanna EllisonCompare site productivity resultswith those to be expected for healthymangrove forests in the relevant latitudeand climate (Bouillon et al., 2008;Komiyama et al., 2008). When treesare stressed, they reduce flowering andfruiting, which is commonly 20 to 30percent of productivity, and also reduceleaf productivity. Hence the presence of flowers orfruits during their normal season is one simple way ofdetermining mangrove health.Vulnerability can be ranked on the scale below, whichcan be reported site by site or calculated as an averagefor the entire mangrove area. Record each score in thefinal column (S = score).Strengths/weaknessesOur pilots found litter productivity analysis to bea labor-intensive technique, requiring scientificequipment and a great deal of time. Most sites did notuse the approach for this reason.If undertaken, litter productivity analysis would be agood subproject in which to involve a high school orcollege science class, and which would be undertakenfor just one year to get a baseline and then repeatedevery five years to show any changes.Rank 1 2 3 4 5 SSensitivity factorsLitter productivityHigh, including>20% fruitsand flowersMedium,including 5–20%fruits or flowersMedium, withfew fruits orflowersLow (excludingwood)Mainly wood28 | Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems

3.0 Conducting a Vulnerability AssessmentCase studyMangrove leaf litter catchers were deployed in TikinaWai, Fiji, by a local community working with projectconsultants from the University of the South Pacificwho were carrying out the mangrove vegetationfieldwork. Because leaf litter catchers appear similarto fishing devices (Figure 15), there were some initialisolated cases of equipment loss, but as understandingof the project increased in the community, this ceased.The mangrove monitors (ladies from each village whohad been nominated by the community to supportassessment efforts in the mangrove area) collected theleaf litter monthly and sent samples to the universityin the capital city. Figure 16 shows some of the results:little wood production overall, indicative of a lackof storms and domination by leaf production, whichrises with the onset of summer in late December. Themaximum times for flowering and fruiting occur fromJanuary to March. (Note that a litter study is bestcarried out for 12 months duration so that annualproductivity can be calculated from the totals for eachmonth.)Such data can be compared with other studies toshow relative sensitivity to climate change impacts. InFiji, Tyagi and Pillai (1996) demonstrated significantdifferences in flowering and fruiting betweenmangrove communities in the wet and dry zones ofFiji. The mangrove species of R. stylosa, R. samoensisand B. gymnorhiza all showed more flowering in thewet zone relative to the dry. However, differencesin propagule setting between the zones were lesssignificant. Further analysis by Tyagi (2001) foundthat, during a drought year, the number of flowers andpropagules produced per plant was significantly lowerthan during a non-drought year. In the case of dryweather conditions, stress causes mangroves to reducereproduction.Dry-weight (g)120010008006004002000October 2007 – March 2008WoodFlowersFruitLeavesOct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar.Figure 16. Six months of litter analysis results fromBole, Tikina Wai, showing the onset of summer fruitingin January (Tuiwawa & Rounds, 2010). Flowering andfruiting exceeds 20 percent of productivity, indicating ahealthy forest.Hence, this site scores as follows:Rank 1 2 3 4 5 SSensitivity factorsLitter productivityHigh, including>20% fruitsand flowersMedium,including 5–20%fruits or flowersMedium, withfew fruits orflowersLow (excludingwood)Mainly wood1Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems | 29

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