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    Review of 'Perceptions of Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and Factors Affecting the Coastal Marine Ecosystem of Palawan, Philippines'

    Perceptions of Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and Factors Affecting the Coastal Marine Ecosystem of Palawan, PhilippinesCrossref
    Relevant insights, part of larger study not clarified, issues with coherence and content
    Average rating:
        Rated 3.5 of 5.
    Level of importance:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of validity:
        Rated 4 of 5.
    Level of completeness:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Level of comprehensibility:
        Rated 3 of 5.
    Competing interests:

    Reviewed article

    • Record: found
    • Abstract: found
    • Article: found
    Is Open Access

    Perceptions of Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and Factors Affecting the Coastal Marine Ecosystem of Palawan, Philippines

    Understanding local community perceptions of climate change is essential in developing effective risk communication tools and in developing mitigation strategies to reduce the vulnerability of coastal areas. In this study, we examined coastal communities' perceptions of climate change as a coastal threat, as a driver of rising sea levels, and as a factor affecting coral reefs and seagrass beds. The perceptions were gathered by conducting face-to-face surveys with 291 respondents from the coastal areas of Taytay, Aborlan and Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Philippines. Results showed that most participants (82%) perceived that climate change is happening and a great majority (75%) perceived it as a threat to the coastal marine environment. Sea level rise was perceived by most participants (60%) to cause coastal erosion and affect the coastal ecosystem, but they also perceived that coastal erosion can be prevented by mangroves. On coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems, anthropogenic pressures and climate change were perceived to have a high impact, while marine livelihoods had a low impact. Furthermore, local temperature rise, excessive rainfall and declining income were found to be significant risk predictors of climate change impact perceptions. Climate change perceptions were found to vary with household income, education, age group, and geographical location. The results suggest that addressing poverty, improving basic education, and effectively communicating climate change risks can improve knowledge of climate change impacts. Further study on local communities' engagement towards building climate change resiliency, using our results as a reference, is recommended.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Environmental change,Environmental management, Policy & Planning,Atmospheric science & Climatology
      climate change knowledge, coastal threat, exposure, experience, impact, policy,Policy and law,Climate change,Environmental policy and practice,Environmental protection
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      Review text


                  This study investigates coastal community perceptions of the impacts of climate change in selected coastal areas of Palawan, Philippines and evaluates the potential influence of relevant socio-economic and environmental factors on these perceptions. This study applies the Drivers, Pressures, State, Exposure, Effects, Actions (eDPSEEA) framework to characterize the social, ecological, and human health interactions in the coastal environment. Moreover, in-person interviews were conducted to derive community perceptions toward these interactions.  Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) as well as correlation analysis (ordinary least squares regression) were used as the main statistical tools of analysis. The authors report that climate change is recognized by communities as a threat to the coastal environment and local temperature rise and excessive rainfall were found to be significant environmental predictors of perceptions toward climate change. In addition, income was also identified as a significant socio-economic predictor of perceptions toward the impacts of climate change, anthropogenic pressures, and marine livelihoods on coral reefs and seagrass beds. Ultimately, the study provides implications for engagement, education, and knowledge-building to enhance coastal community resilience in the face of climate and anthropogenic change.



      A major strength of this paper is the empirical validation of lived experiences in coastal communities, especially in developing island nations like the Philippines disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. Examining Palawan is a relevant site to advance such research since the province has been identified as “the second among provinces in the Philippines most vulnerable to sea level rise” as well as a “UNESCO Biosphere Reserve” (p. 4).

      The eDPSEEA framework used in the study is appropriate to provide a coherent storyline to the perceived changes in the coastal communities of Palawan. Moreover, the correlation analysis drawn between perceptions and climate-related and socio-economic factors provides initial insights for mapping potential priority areas of development (e.g poverty, education, development of a “knowledge management system” as suggested by the authors in p. 26). Overall, the study offers an opportunity for future interdisciplinary work incorporating community well-being, climate resilience, and coastal resource management. 

      As a result I recommend the study for publication with Major Revisions to address issues on content, organization, and coherence of results. Please see detailed comments and suggestions below:


      Detailed Comments

      • It is important that the authors make it known at the beginning of the paper that the study is 1) part of a larger study evaluating perceptions toward different phenomena or factors affecting the coastal environment and community wellbeing; therefore 2) the present study only focuses on one component, which is perceptions toward climate change and anthropogenic factors affecting selected coastal habitats (i.e. coral reefs and seagrass beds). Because this was not declared up front, I expected a separate discussion on other vital aspects of the eDPSEEA framework, such as “human health and wellbeing” in relation to climate change, a vital component of the framework mentioned several times in the paper. Granted that “sunburn” and “heatstroke” are climate impacts attributed to “human health”, these impacts were discussed in general relative to other impacts such as local temperature rise, excessive rainfall etc. I was only made aware that this was part of a larger study toward the end in the Acknowledgements and after reading the referenced survey of Madarcos et. al (2021). The present study would benefit from drawing connections to Madarcos et. al in the Discussion as well.
      • The significance of study is limited to “adding empirical evidence to the existing knowledge…” (p. 5). The authors can expand on the significance of the paper, considering research gaps and potential applications for climate change capacity building and resilience. Subsequent paragraph on the impacts of climate change across the world, perceptions, and personal experiences seem a bit disconnected in this paragraph; perhaps move this up earlier in the Introduction. 
      • The authors provide a mere glance of the study site in this section. I recommend that the section in the Introduction about Palawan be moved here, and that the authors elaborate more on the social and ecological context of these areas. For example, it would be helpful to discuss the climate change exposure map briefly mentioned in Madarcos et. al to expound on the vulnerability of these municipalities relative to the entire Palawan.
      • Supplementary materials mentioned in the Results are missing.
      • Since there are no page numbers and line by line numbers, referencing the sentences and paragraphs are made more difficult.
      • Headers of the sections (particularly Results and Discussion) appear to be written according to the “research questions”, but I had difficulty following what exactly is being measured under each perception category. Because the OLS model specification was not indicated, it was difficult to follow along which predictors were included. I recommend including a short explanation of what is being measured under each type of perception for easier reader recall.
      • The reduced variables (6 for perceptions of climate change; 17 for perceptions of factors affecting coral reefs and seagrass beds) should also be referenced both in the text and in the tables since this was unclear to me until I had to manually count and indicate what they were in the tables.
      • Climate change terms also seem to be read as interchangeable. For example, under the section as “Perception on climate change as a coastal threat” – what do “threat”, “risk perception”, and “impacts” mean and how do they differ from one another? The IPCC Glossary of Terms (2018) may provide guidance to distinguish these terms.
      • Similarly, the authors should consider reworking the headers of these sections with specific climate change terminology.
      • I recommend that the sections in the Discussion are reworked; that is, to have different headers compared with the Results section. For example, I suggest discussing in terms of 1) The role of socio-economic factors on perceptions; 2) The role of climate change and anthropogenic impacts on perceptions.
      • I would have liked to see how the study’s findings come full circle in the Conclusions with the eDPSEEA framework, especially how it leads to Action. I see how perceptions can pave the way for education, communication, and a “knowledge management system”, but how these can be areas of intervention can be further connected to the framework. This relates to my previous comment regarding identifying “Perception” as “Action”. Explaining why this is so at the beginning and at the end can make the framework more meaningful and also distinct from Madarcos et. al. The authors may want to consider how else the study could be distinguished from Madarcos et. al and subsequent papers.

      Other Section Suggestions

      • In the Introduction, “four research questions” – not questions but aims. If question, please rephrase as a research question. Consider also re-organizing the Introduction since the background on perception studies appear to be disjointly distributed in the section.
      • In Materials and Methods, “Despite the apparent simplicity of these individuals’ lifestyles, they are highly knowledgeable about local environmental conditions…” – the use of apparent simplicity is derogatory and implies a bias and untoward power dynamic between the researchers and community (Bennett et. al, 2019). This description is unnecessary.
      • eDPSEEA framework Figure 2: the model illustrates a very linear pathway when relationships between each component are interrelated. I am not convinced that “Action” is synonymous with Perception. Perhaps the authors can further elaborate on how perception is viewed as an “Action” and how it fits with Reis et. al (2015, p. 1386) where action has “knock-on’ effects… directed at specific intervention points throughout the model and process ‘pathway.’”
      • In Results, “only significantly correlated predictors with perceptions were used” caption on some tables – inconsistent presentation. Not all tables consistently present predictors that are (not) significant. I think some tables can also be considered for the supplementary materials, depending on how the authors choose to re-organize their presentation of their results.
      • In Results, Table 1: poor vs. not poor (change to USD rather than PHP; or add PHP or USD in parenthesis for comparison); age (not sure why it is relevant to put “Gen Z”, “Millenials” etc); education (lower/higher education – what does this mean?
      • In Results, “Personal observations or experiences was the strongest predictor of the perception of sea level rise impact (β = 0.35, p < 0.001)” (p.15) – is this “Sea Level Rise” on Table 5? Unclear what the indicator is for how these personal observations or experiences. Also unclear as to why β is used instead of B, compared with other predictors which use unstandardized coefficients.
      • In Discussion, “…adds knowledge to the debate about how to involve the public” (p.19) – what debate? Clarify why there is a debate or replace word.
      • In Discussion, “although previous studies found that the younger generation in  the  USA…” (p. 20), I suggest rephrasing to something like “in contrast to other studies that report the younger generation…” rather than a direct geographic comparison. There is a similar pattern in the Discussion, hence it would be good if the authors review these comparisons (e.g. Palawan statistics vs. Philippines statistics; Singapore, New Zealand studies) for rephrasing.
      • In Discussion, “The  perception  of  the  respondents  that  marine  livelihood,  especially overfishing…” (p. 24) – overfishing does not seem to be included in the list of variables under marine livelihood.

      References cited

      • Madarcos, J. R. V., Creencia, L. A., Roberts, B. R., White, M. P., Nayoan, J., Morrissey, K., & Fleming, L. E. (2021). Understanding Local Perceptions of the Drivers/Pressures on the Coastal Marine Environment in Palawan, Philippines. Frontiers in Marine Science8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.659699
      • Reis, S., Morris, G., Fleming, L. ., Beck, S., Taylor, T., White, M., … Austen, M. (2013). Integrating health and environmental impact analysis. Public Health (London)129(10), 1383–1389. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2013.07.006
      • Bennett, N. J. (2019). In Political Seas: Engaging with Political Ecology in the Ocean and Coastal Environment. Coastal Management47(1), 67–87. https://doi.org/10.1080/08920753.2019.1540905
      • IPCC. (2018). Glossary. Retrieved from https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/glossary/
      • Shi, J., Visschers, V. H. M., Siegrist, M., & Arvai, J. (2016). Knowledge as a driver of public perceptions about climate change reassessed. Nature Climate Change6(8), 759–762. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2997




      Thank you for the review. I have already revised the journal article as per your suggestions. It is now available online with a revised title Climate Change Awareness and Risk Perceptions in the Coastal Marine Ecosystem of Palawan, Philippines and DOI: 10.14324/111.444/000150.v2.

      Thanks again and hoping to hear from you soon. 

      2022-09-16 01:06 UTC

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