HomeUswag Journal: Philippine Journal of Multidisciplinary Researchvol. 1 no. 2 (2023)

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of the Coastal Communities in Southern Catanduanes Island, Philippines

Ricardo V. Arcilla Jr. | Ma. Cecilia T. Arcilla

Discipline: Environmental Science



This paper aims to provide data about the sources of vulnerability of coastal communities in Southern Catanduanes Island, particularly in its capital town Virac, especially to immediate, acute impacts of climate change (e.g., storm surge, ocean warming, etc.). A participatory assessment of the vulnerability of coastal communities was conducted using the Integrated Coastal Sensitivity, Exposure and Adaptive Capacity for Climate Change (I-C-Sea Change) tool. This tool was used to gather data based on a series of scoring rubrics intended to provide scores for sensitivity and lack of adaptive capacity particularly for coastal habitats like corals, seagrass and mangroves along with fisheries and coastal integrity. Scores for the sensitivity and LAC were then weighed against a threat or exposure to climate-related impacts based on existing projections. A total of 20 coastal communities/barangays were covered. Results showed that in terms of sensitivity, 18 out of 20 coastal communities scored moderate while two (2) out of 20 coastal communities scored low. Moderate scores are attributable to several factors like the condition of the coastal habitats, dependence on fisheries and coastal integrity. The low scores for the two coastal communities of Palnab del Sur and Palnab del Norte is associated with the good condition of its corals, seagrass and mangroves as well as the low dependence on fishery and the present condition of the coastline. In terms of LAC scores, all coastal communities scored moderate. Although other areas reported the absence of key coastal habitats like mangroves or seagrass, it is compensated by other indicators of adaptive capacity like human activity (no land conversion and deviation from approved CLUP), education, as well as the presence of a marine protected area/fish sanctuary in four (4) of the 20 barangays namely Magnesia del Sur, Magnesia del Norte, Marilima and Batag. Exposure score is moderate for sea surface temperature and wave exposure index, and high for sea surface height based on climate change projections since no site-specific data are available. Overall, the vulnerability to climate change impacts of the coastal communities in Southern Catanduanes, particularly its capital town of Virac, is moderate implying that these coastal communities are somehow vulnerable to climate change impacts and immediate actions to mitigate these impacts are imperative. The use of the I-C-Sea Change Tool provided initial profile of the vulnerabilities of the coastal communities which can be used as guide for decision making and prioritization of areas and actions.


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