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2011 Eco-Audit of Mesoamerica Reef Countries

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This slideshow highlights the first-ever multinational Eco-Audit of the Mesoamerican Reef.

The Eco-Audit evaluates efforts to protect and sustainably manage the region’s coral reefs, celebrates management success stories, and documents the extent to which recommended management actions have been implemented in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

Visit wri.org/reefs to learn more about the World Resources Institute’s collaboration with the Healthy Reef Initiative to develop and implement the Eco-Audit of the Mesoamerican Reef.

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2011 Eco-Audit of Mesoamerica Reef Countries

  1. 2011 Eco-Audit of theMesoamerican ReefCountries Photo: Rebecca Weeks
  2. This slideshow highlights the first-ever multinationalEco-Audit of the Mesoamerican Reef.The Eco-Audit evaluates efforts to protect and sustainablymanage the region’s coral reefs; celebrates managementsuccess stories; and documents the extent to whichrecommended management actions have been implementedin Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.Visit wri.org/reefs to learn more about the World ResourcesInstitute’s collaboration with the Healthy Reef Initiative todevelop and implement the Eco-Audit of the MesoamericanReef.
  3. Mesoamerican Reefs Ecoregion The Mesoamerican Reef is the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere. It stretches 1,000 kilometers (over 600 miles) from Mexico to Honduras. Credit: Map courtesy of Healthy Reefs for Healthy People
  4. Value of the Mesoamerican Reef The Mesoamerican Reef provides a diverse array of goods and services to the people of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico including shoreline protection, critical habitat for fish, food, and more. Local economies are highly dependent on marine resources, especially from tourism and fishing industries. In Belize alone, the reef was estimated to contribute approximately US $395 - $559 million in goods and services each year. Credit: Jason Valdez, Belize
  5. Threats to the Mesoamerican Reef Unfortunately, the health of the reef is declining. This is the result of poor ecosystem management and threats including coastal development, overfishing, pollution, and climate change. Between 2008 and 2010, 62 percent of monitored reef sites decreased in health, and reef declines outpaced improvements by a ratio of five to one.[i] [i] Healthy Reefs for Healthy People. 2010. Report Card for the Mesoamerican Reef: An Evaluation of Ecosystem Health. Credit: Lawrence Alex Wu
  6. What is an Eco-audit? An Eco-Audit is a systematic evaluation of how well governments, NGOs, and the private sector implement recommended reef management actions. The Mesoamerican reef Eco- Audit includes 22 indicators across 7 themes, which are explored in the following slides. Credit: Zach Ostroff/Marine Photobank
  7. Marine Protected Areas Marine Protected Areas are one of the most widely used management tools in reef conservation. Protected areas help to foster reef resilience, allowing coral reefs to recover more quickly from a variety of threats, including diseases and coral bleaching. The Eco-Audit explores the spatial extent of protected areas and the degree of management and enforcement capacity. Credit: Krishna Desai
  8. Ecosystem-based fisheries management Overfishing and destructive fishing are the most widespread threats to coral reefs. The continued collapse of global fisheries will have far-reaching economic and ecological consequences. The Eco-Audit measures the standardization of fishing regulations for size limits and closed seasons, particularly in efforts to protect grouper spawning sites and parrotfish. Credit: Julie Stockbridge, Belize
  9. Coastal Zone Management Coastal development, including human settlements, industry, aquaculture, or infrastructure, can dramatically alter nearshore ecosystems. The Eco-Audit measures extent of coastal zone management plans in the reef countries plans or steps toward developing such plans. Credit: R. Ritson-Williams, Smithsonian Institute
  10. Sanitation and sewage treatment The high level of nutrients present in sewage can result in blooms of plankton that block light and encourage the growth of algae that compete for space on the reef. The Eco-Audit explores the extent to which regional standards for wastewater management have been developed and applied to the construction of new sewage treatment infrastructure. Credit: Steve Spring/Marine Photobank
  11. Research, education and awareness The number of local leaders that understand reef ecosystems and their value has greatly increased in recent years. This is largely due to the efforts of researchers to share their work and make the case for healthy reefs. The Eco-Audit measures the efforts of researchers and managers to standardize monitoring methods and share the information in a publicly accessible and up-to-date database. Credit: Lorenzo Álvarez Filip
  12. Sustainability in the private sector Marine recreation providers depend on healthy marine ecosystems, especially reefs. Partnerships between the private sector and the public can facilitate information exchange, training in best practices, and collaborative efforts to find solutions to issues of shared concern. The Eco-Audit measures the degree of participation of marine recreation providers in programs that promote sustainability. Credit: Colin Zylka, Honduras
  13. Global issues A global approach to protect coral reef ecosystems is essential. We must work internationally to share knowledge, experience and ideas to achieve solutions to global- scale threats such as climate change. To accomplish this, the Eco- Audit measures the extent to which a regionally accepted map of potentially resilient reefs has been adopted and utilized in the region. Credit: Baja Sun Press
  14. Eco-audit WorkshopsBelize Guatemala The Eco-Audit draws on input from a variety of NGOs, governmental agencies, and the private sector and includes publicly available results. In September and October 2011, HRI and WRI convened four national workshops, whose purpose was for participants to collectively rank each indicator and to compile documents to Mexico verify the rankings.Honduras Credit: Benjamin Kushner
  15. Call to Action For the results of the Eco-Audit and to learn more, please visit… www.healthyreefs.org www.wri.org
  16. Credit: Kip F. Evans

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