Evaluating annual severe coral bleaching risk for marine protected areas across Indonesia

Laurence H. De Clippele*, Laura Alonso Díaz, Dominic A. Andradi-brown, Muhammad Erdi Lazuardi, Mohamad Iqbal, Imam Musthofa Zainudin, Derta Prabuning, Ruben Van Hooidonk, Amehr Hakim, Firdaus Agung, Agus Dermawan, Sebastian J. Hennige

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Coral reefs face an uncertain future under global climate change, with thermal-induced bleaching increasing in frequency such that corals will soon experience annual severe bleaching (ASB). Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are therefore becoming increasingly important as a conservation tool. Here we evaluate (i) Indonesia’s coral reefs’ spatial variation in ASB, (ii) whether reefs projected to have a later onset of ASB (i.e. possible climate refugia) are protected within MPAs, and (iii) the ASB risk profiles for reefs related to MPAs receiving priority investments. Our results highlight considerable variability across Indonesia’s reefs being at risk of ASB. The ASB risk before 2028 is greater for coral reefs protected by MPAs versus those outside MPA boundaries. The ASB risk before 2025 is greater for coral reefs protected by priority MPAs versus those protected by non-priority MPAs. Overall, our results show that only ∼45% of the coral reef areas that are currently located within MPAs will likely act as thermal refugia (ASB > 2044). This is unsurprising given that the MPA network in Indonesia has been established over many decades, with most MPAs designated before suitable bleaching risk projections were available to inform MPA placement. Our results highlight the scope to further incorporate potential climate refugia for reefs into new MPA designations. This study also provides strategic information, which can support the development of Indonesia’s long-term MPA and coral reef conservation strategy to effectively manage, mitigate, and adapt to the impacts of climate change on coral reefs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105428
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date13 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


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