+603 2161 5948    wecare@reefcheck.org.my


Over the last 2 - 3 decades, a number of global scale threats to coral reefs have emerged – first and foremost being climate change, causing serious declines in coral reef communities around the world.

Increased intensity and frequency of mass coral bleaching requires us to respond with innovative new strategies to protect coral reefs. Building coral reef survivability based on patterns of resistance and resilience into Marine Protected Area (MPA) management strategies is a relatively new concept.

  • Resistance is referred to communities that remain relatively unchanged in the face of a major disturbance or event such as bleaching.
  • Resilience is referred to coral reefs that are able to bounce back or recover after experiencing a stressful event such as bleaching caused by elevated temperatures. It can also be defined as, "The ability of systems to absorb, resist or recover from disturbances or to adapt to change while continuing to maintain essential functions and processes is the essence of ecological resilience."

Until recently, resilience had never been explicitly defined or listed as a criterion for MPA selection or MPA design, nor had it been factored into large scale eco-regional planning. Yet the concept of resilience demonstrates that there are positive actions we can take to counter potentially devastating impacts of climate-related bleaching.

How will this help managers?

There are strategies and approaches that managers can employ to minimise the impacts of bleaching events, as well as build resilience to a variety of other major stressors into the natural systems they manage. Solutions involve both daily management activities and planning for change.

To achieve resilience, managers need to focus on the most pervasive threats to coral reefs, which include land-based sources of pollution, over-fishing, and climate change. In essence, we are trying to:

  • Support ecological resilience: What management strategies can we use to help reefs survive and recover from disturbances?
  • Support social resilience: What management strategies can we use to help communities maintain well-being in the face of changing coral reef resources?

What is RCM doing?

In 2013, RCM conducted surveys to identify resilient reef areas around the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia. These reefs are critical in re-seeding damaged reef areas. This information was fed back into management plans for the islands to highlight areas that are sensitive to development. 




Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) is a non-profit organisation that was registered in 2007 to engage with the local community to raise awareness for the importance of, and threats to, coral reefs.


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Reef Check Malaysia
Suite 5.19-5.22, Box 606, Wisma Central, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

+603 2161 5948