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Benthic resource baseline mapping of Cakaunisasi and Yarawa reef ecosystem in the Ba region of Fiji

Singh, Ashneel A. and Maharaj, Anish and Singh, Priyatma (2021) Benthic resource baseline mapping of Cakaunisasi and Yarawa reef ecosystem in the Ba region of Fiji. Water, 13 (4). NA. ISSN 2073-4441

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Coastal habitats form a critical source of livelihood for a large number of inhabitants in Fiji. The absence of historical and baseline information creates a significant challenge in effectively designing suitable management plans. This study aimed at developing reliable benthic cover maps of village intertidal resource harvest areas (Cakaunisasi and Yarawa reefs) and anthropogenic perceptions of Votua Village in the Ba region of Fiji for better resource management planning and monitoring. Images captured by the WorldView2 satellite were used as a base for mapping out the resources. Data logging on-site, Global Positioning System (GPS) recordings, local interviews and high-resolution video capturing were utilised for ground-truthing techniques. Six classes of benthic cover were identified, which included algae, coral, sand and gravel, buried reef, coral rubble and seagrass. Accuracy assessment and supervised classification were done using ground reference points. There was an existing marine protected area (MPA) on the Yarawa reef, which did not seem to be working as well as anticipated by observing the habitat maps of the two reefs. Baseline maps constructed here and possibly ecosystem maps can allow for monitoring of the existing MPA as well as the formation of a new and more informed MPA. The maps generated in this study serve as baseline information about resource distribution on Cakaunisasi and Yarawa reefs to inform management decisions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: GIS; Votua; coastal resource; benthic cover; supervised classification; accuracy assessment; WorldView2; habitat map; satellite imagery
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > Q Science (General) > Q1-295 General
Divisions: School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS)
Depositing User: Ashneel Singh
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2021 03:38
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2021 03:38

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