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1 . Palau     Palau
The Republic of Palau is a separate group at the end of the Caroline Islands, 741km east of Mindanao and 1,300km southwest of Guam. There are 20 larger islands and 500 small islands stretching over 700km. The biggest island, Babeldaob, is volcanic and contains the capital, Koror. The southwestern islands of Palau are 339-599km to southwest of the main archipelago. There is a 144km well-developed barrier reef with 86km on the western coast. Ngchesar and Airai islands also have barrier reefs. The total coral reef area of Palau is 1,661km2. The Southern lagoon is the largest lagoon covering 500km2 and has many islands including the famous ‘rock islands’ and marine lakes. The east coast barrier reef is less diverse with about 80% of the 150km coast having a fringing reef with limited barrier reefs, lagoons, and patch reefs to the south.
Source: Spalding, M.D., C. Ravilious and E.P. Green , 2001 , World Atlas of Coral Reefs . Prepared at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press,Berkeley,USA.421p. (See Document)

2 . Palau     Palau
INTRODUCTION AND SETTING

The Republic of Palau, part of the Caroline Islands group, is the westernmost archipelago in Oceania located 741 km east of Mindanao in the southern Philippines and about 1,300 km southwest of Guam. Palau is composed of 12 inhabited islands and 700+ islets, stretching 700 km from Ngeruangel Atoll in the Kayangel Islands in the north to Helen Reef in the south (Figure 17.1). The archipelago consists of a clustered island group (including Babeldaob, Koror, Peleiu, Angaur, Kayangel, Ngeruangel, and the Rock Islands; Figure 17.2) and six isolated islands (Helen Reef, Tobi, Merir, Pulo Anna, Sonsorol, and Fana) that lie approximately 339 to 599 km to the southwest. Babeldaob, the second largest island in Micronesia after Guam, is the biggest island in the Palauan chain; however, the country’s capital and greatest population is located on Koror. The volcanic island of Babeldaob and its reefs are separated from Koror and the southern islands of the group by a deep (30-40 m), east-west pass called Toachel El Mid.
Source: Golbuu, Y., A. Bauman, J. Kuartei, and S. Victor , 2005 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Republic of Palau. . p.488-507 in Waddell, J. (ed.), 2005. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 11. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 522 pp. (See Document)

3 . Palau     Palau
Palau has the most diverse coral fauna of Micronesia and the highest density of tropical marine habitats of comparable geographic areas around the world. In addition to coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds, Palau has deep algal beds, mud basins, current swept lagoon bottoms, rich tidal channels, and anoxic basins within the rock islands. Many of these environments contain corals. Additionally, there are more than 70 marine lakes on Palau, many of which contain scleractinian corals and associated fauna and flora. This high concentration of marine lakes on Palau is unique in the world, and as such, represents a biological treasure which rivals that of the remaining marine environments of Palau.
Source: Golbuu, Y., A. Bauman, J. Kuartei, and S. Victor , 2005 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Republic of Palau. . p.488-507 in Waddell, J. (ed.), 2005. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 11. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 522 pp. (See Document)

4 . Palau     Palau
Palau is the most western archipelago in Oceania, has the most diverse coral reef fauna of Micronesia and is home to the highest density of tropical marine biota of any comparable geographic area in the world. An estimated 425 coral species and 1,700 fish species are found in Palau and the culture and economy have historically gained sustainable food supplies from the reefs. Dynamic multi-species fisheries involve individual fishers feeding their families, providing food for traditional customs and selling to commercial markets, restaurants and to selective buyers for export. Tourism has been the major component of economic growth in Palau and visitor numbers are increasing annually; the majority of which are sport divers.
Source: Goldberg, J., K. Adams, J. Albert, J. Asher, P. Brown, V. Brown, D. Burdick, B. Carroll, P. Craig, D. Fenner, C. Fillmed, V. Fread, M. Gawel, A. George, Y. Golbuu, L. Goldman, C. Graham, A. Hall, M. Hasurmai, L. Jacob, D. Jacobson, E. Joseph, J. Kenyon, W. Kostka, T. Leberer, M. Luckymis, E. Lundblad, S. Malakai, J. Maragos, A. Marcus, S. Marino, D. Mathias, J. Mcilwain, J. Miller, D. Minton, M. Nadon, S. Palik, N. Pioppi, L. Raymundo, B. Richards, M. Sabater, R. Schroeder, P. Schupp, E. Smith, T. Zgliczynski and B. Zgliczynski , 2008 , Status of Coral Reef Resources in Micronesia and American Samoa: 2008 . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p199-212. (See Document)

5 . Palau     Palau
This report is one of several that describe the status of Palau’s coral reefs. In 2005, Golbuu et al., 2005. provided an overview of Palau’s complex marine habitats stretching from Ngaruangel Atoll in the north to Helen Reef Atoll in the south. The overview also identified potential threats to Palau’s coral reefs, including the Rock Islands south of the main island of Koror. In 2007, Kayanne et al. (2007) provided an overview of the different habitats in Palau. As in many other locations, Palauans face challenges in their efforts to protect their rich marine resources and continue to seek solutions that will mitigate threats from different sources.



Palau has an abundance of coral reef habitat types, as well as complex marine habitats associated with coral reefs including mangroves, seagrass beds, deep algal beds, mud basins, current swept lagoon bottoms and rich tidal channels. No description of Palau would be complete without mention of Palau’s 70 famous marine lakes in the Rock Islands. According toYukihira et al. (2007), the total area of coral reefs in Palau is approximately 525 km2, which includes barrier reefs (264.7 km2), fringing reefs (194.8 km2) and atoll habitats (65.0 km2) with 1,457 patch reefs scattered throughout the lagoons. Figure 16.1 is a locator map with locations and reefs mentioned in this chapter. An effort to map Palau’s benthic habitats using high resolution satellite imagery was completed by NOAA’s Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Branch (CCMA-BB) in 2007; the project classified marine habitats for 1,477.54 km2 and estimated that coral reef and hardbottom areas cover 892 km2.



Palau’s rich marine environment plays an important role in generating income for Palau. Eco-tourism is perhaps the most economically important of these activities since over 80% of Palau’s visitors come to dive among the coral reefs (Palau Visitors Authority, 2001).
Source: Marino, S., A. Bauman, J. miles, A. Kitalong, A. Bukurou, C. Mersai, E. Verheij, I. Olkerill, K. Basilius, P. Colin, S. Patris, S. Victor, W. Andrew, J. Miles and Y. Golbuu , 2008 , The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the Republic of Palau. pp. 511-540 . In: J.E. Waddell and A.M. Clarke (eds.), The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2008. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 73. NOAA/NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's Biogeography Team. Silver Spring, MD. 569 pp. (See Document)

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