Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 703–713 | Cite as

Impacts of super-typhoon Yolanda on Philippine reefs and communities

Original Article

Abstract

This report presents super-typhoon Yolanda’s impacts on coral reefs of Eastern Samar, Philippines, and evaluates its implications on resource management in the area. Coral reefs suffer regular impacts of typhoons, and typhoons nowadays are stronger in magnitude, longer in duration, more frequent in occurrence, and larger in scale. Thus, there is a great need to understand the impacts and consequences of super-typhoons on reefs and the coastal communities. Yolanda is the strongest recorded typhoon to make a landfall. Here is the first account of Yolanda’s impacts on corals and benthic organisms, reef fish, and fisheries production. Our study sites covered Lawaan, Balangiga, Giporlos, Quinapondan, Salcedo, and Guiuan in Eastern Samar, Philippines—municipalities that were greatly damaged by Yolanda. To quantify the impacts of Yolanda on coral reefs, we compared coral cover and diversity, and fish abundance, biomass, and diversity between sites before and after Yolanda. We found that some reef areas were completely wiped out by Yolanda (i.e., the shallow branching reefs), but other reef sites were only partially damaged. The extent of damages depends on reef locations relative to Yolanda’s trajectory, depth, coral species composition, and reef condition prior to Yolanda. We also found that most reefs in the area already suffered degradation prior to Yolanda (i.e., due to overfishing, destructive fishing, and siltation from land). Active coral restoration, reduction in fishing effort, diversification of economic activities, and effective management of no-take marine reserves should play key roles in the recovery of resources and human lives in these devastated areas.

Keywords

Climate change Coral reefs Haiyan Reef restoration Resource management Super-typhoon 

Supplementary material

10113_2016_1062_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)
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ESM Fig. 2 Sample benthic photo-quadrat (a) and outputs of coral photo-quadrat data processing using freeware Vidana (b) (TIFF 2339 kb)
10113_2016_1062_MOESM3_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 19 kb)
10113_2016_1062_MOESM4_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 14 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan A. Anticamara
    • 1
  • Kevin Thomas B. Go
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Biology, National Science ComplexUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines
  2. 2.College of Marine and Environmental SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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