Inception Workshop for the Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) of Coral Reefs of the Western Indian Ocean


The inception workshop for the Red List of Ecosystems assessment of coral reefs of the Western Indian Ocean was held at the Bamburi Beach Hotel in Mombasa from the 12th to 15th of March 2019. It was attended by 25 participants comprising marine park managers and scientists representing government institutions and NGOs, and drawn from 8 WIO countries: Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania.

 

The workshop’s purpose

The RLE is a global framework for assessing the vulnerability status of ecosystems developed by the IUCN and is similar in application to the Red list of Species framework. The RLE assessment aims to support conservation, resource use and management decisions by identifying ecosystems at risk of losing biodiversity. The workshops’ main purpose was to train participants on the RLE assessment methods and to define the framework for application to the WIO coral reefs. It was led by trainers David Keith (University of New South Wales – Australia), Marcos Valderrabano (IUCN, Spain) and Jessica Rowland (Deakin University, Australia), who introduced the key theoretical concepts and scientific foundations. CORDIO facilitated plenary and group discussions on how to apply the RLE to the specific context of coral reefs in the WIO.

Discussions revolved around:

*selecting  the most appropriate geographic scale to conduct the assessment,

*defining the ecosystem function model including key biotic and abiotic features, processes and major threats

*reviewing various options to calculate each of the 5 RLE criterion

*application of results in national and regional coral reef policy and management processes

  • A summary of the key decisions and outputs can be found in the workshop report here.

Next steps and Milestones

It was agreed, that with the support of the participants, CORDIO would aim to complete the assessment by September 2019, after which it will be validated by the RLE team and then launched. However, this milestone is highly dependent on data sharing from stakeholders. For this to happen, we are calling on researchers across the WIO to share in-situ benthic and fish monitoring data towards the assessment.

 

For more information, and should you wish to contribute to the assessment, please contact dobura@cordioea.net and mgudka@cordioea.net