Cabral M. (2014) Resilience-based assessment for targeting coral reef management strategies in Koh Tao, Thailand. Master Thesis for the Universidade De Lisbona, Portugal. 45 pp.
Human impacts on coral reefs together with global climate change are leading to an increase in frequency and magnitude of coral bleaching events, threatening these ecosystems globally. As reefs depend heavily on their capacity to resist impacts and recover from disturbances, resilience has become a fundamental principle of reef management and conservation, making the identification and incorporation of resilient coral reef areas in MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) a priority. This study provides information on the resilience level of fourteen reef sites of Koh Tao, Thailand, a developing island known for it´s intense dive tourism. Two methods were used for calculating resilience by adapting an IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) resilience assessment protocol. Data collection on general coral community and the assessment of selected resilience factors facilitated information for management decisions on zoning and help target management strategies on specific sites. Most coral reefs on the island have medium or high resilience level but measures can be taken to improve conservation strategies such as reducing nutrient input level, pollution and sedimentation, by regulating and controlling land-based development and protecting fish population dynamics. Enlarging MPA No-Take zone to include high resilience sites with probable connectivity is also suggested in order to create a refuge area and enhance overall resilience.