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Policy support tool

A linked land-sea modeling framework to inform ridge-to-reef management in high oceanic islands

Aim of the resource

This framework helps managers to evaluate the spatial variation and influence of terrestrial and marine drivers on coral reefs, and reinforces the importance of spatially-explicit, place-based management of different habitats based on conditions and ecological relationships unique to each.

Using the resource
Potential benefits from using the resource
The framework can be adjusted to assess responses to other environmental stressors, such as land cover change and climate change scenarios
The management actions provided for each ahupua’a could be widely applicable to similar linked land and sea systems or Pacific island ecosystems
Potential limitations from using the resource
Some models within the framework were partially or not validated due to limited existing data, so future uses of the approach should incorporate sampling and surveying of areas of interest
Sub/region where used:
Scale of application:
Practical information
UN languages in which the resource is available:
Contact details
United States Geological Survey
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This linked land-sea modeling framework helps assess the relative influence of terrestrial and marine drivers on coral reef communities. It links land cover/use to coral reefs through analyzing nutrient-enriched groundwater flux. Based on climate, groundwater recharge and recharge nutrient concentration data, groundwater flow and nutrient flux discharging at the coast are modeled. The model was developed for two ahupua’a, or traditional ridge-to-reef management systems, in Hawaii. The framework helps to understand the ecological resilience of coral reef benthic and fish communities in response to different disturbances, such as anthropogenic nutrient inputs and topographical variability, and can help identify priority areas for nutrient mitigation.


Subregions covered