Key Idea This Key Idea has illustrations and text comparing a healthy and a degraded Micronesian Atoll community. Click "View Source" on the right to see the illustrations and read the detailed descriptions of the features of both healthy and degraded atoll communities and the benefits that the healthy features provide with respect to climate change.

A healthy Micronesian Atoll community provides abundant resources for sustainable use by local residents. A healthy intact community and natural resources also help to buffer against the impacts of climate change. Elements of this healthy community include:

Intact native vegetation filters pollutants from reaching freshwater, prevents erosion, protects from wind and salt spray, and provides habitat and food for wildlife. Well-managed agriculture provides food sources and income, prevents spread of invasive species, and helps prevent saltwater intrusion.

Community has freshwater resources from an intact, unpolluted and well managed freshwater lens. Wells are designed and managed to allow sustainable use. Freshwater catchments collect and provide storage, and distribution systems are well managed. Solar distillation supplements during dry season.

Coastline and beaches have intact vegetation along the shore and no development close to shore. These factors protect and stabilize the shoreline, provide habitat, reduce salt spray from getting inland, and provide recreational areas for residents and tourists.

Seagrass beds are healthy and intact, protecting the coastline from currents, providing critical habitat, trapping sediment from land, and taking up nutrients from land runoff.

Coral reefs are healthy, have diverse invertebrates and fish species including big predators and herbivores. Healthy coral reefs buffer against storm surges and provide vital habitat for food security, ecosystem stability, recreation and tourism.

A healthy community with strong family, cultural and community bonds has greater abilities to be safe, healthy and happy. The community has infrastructures, practices and plans to protect itself and the local natural resources.


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