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Responses of coastal ecosystems to deforestation + derived siltation in South-East Asia


Large areas of the humid tropics are being transformed by deforestation and agricultura l expansion, which ultimate impact on terrestrial and coastal ecosystems is unknown.
The countries in Southeast Asia support, largely as a consequence of the exceedingly high deforestation rates they are experiencing, the largest sediment delivery in the planet (14000 tons sediments per square kilometer of land per year), about 10-100 fold higher than anywhere else.
As a consequence, siltation and associated damage to coastal ecosystems is resulting on the wide-spread decline of important coastal resources (e.g. corals, seagrass meadows, associated fish, etc.).
Steps has been provided to reduce siltation and protect coastal ecosystems, but legislation for the sustainable development of coastal resources is hindered by lack of adequate scientific knowledge to allow the prediction of the response of coastal ecosystems to different siltation rates.
The goal of this project is to provide the scientific basis needed to regulate the sustainable development of land and coastal resources in Southeast Asia by building dose-response models that allow prediction of the response of coastal ecosystems to different siltation rates. This goal will be achieved through the analysis of coastal zones along a gradation of contrasting land use and sediment delivery, to examine the short-term and long-term (decadal) response of the ecosystem.
The empirical basis needed to model these relationships will be obtained through the use of Rapid Assesment Techniques to asses siltation rates and component response along a gradient of coastal ecosystems.
These data will allow the development of empirical models that will be validated experimentally, to develop a general model of the response of coastal ecosystem to siltation.

The project will also evaluate the possibility of deriving optical models that allow calculation of suspended sediments, and ecosystem response, from remotely sensed optical properties of the coastal zone.

The goal of the project targets a very important problem, targetted as priority in the developmental policy of the countries in the area, and one that affects most developping coastal countries in the tropics. Hence, training of local scientists to address this problem will contribute to the development of an in-house capacity to study one of the major environmental problems generated by non-sustaible development.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientòficas
S/n,camino De Sta. Barbara
17300 Blanes

Participants (4)

International Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering
95,Oude Delft
2601 DA Delft
Københavns Universitet
3400 Hillerød
Hat Yai Campus
90112 Hatyai / Songkhla
University of the Philippines, Diliman

1101 Quezon City