Indonesia model islands: Finding a balance between sustainability and development

8 Feb
WCS researchers for the Wildlife Conservation Society have found that co-management plans and incentives in Indonesia's Karimunjawa National Park help improve the livelihoods of communities and achieve conservation objectives. For instance, economic incentives to local fishers through assistance with fish mariculture techniques and equipment has helped improve acceptance of conservation strategies in the park. (Photo by: Ripanto/WCS Indonesia Program)

WCS researchers for the Wildlife Conservation Society have found that co-management plans and incentives in Indonesia’s Karimunjawa National Park help improve the livelihoods of communities and achieve conservation objectives. For instance, economic incentives to local fishers through assistance with fish mariculture techniques and equipment has helped improve acceptance of conservation strategies in the park. (Photo by: Ripanto/WCS Indonesia Program)

There is no question that the Earth is changing and that humans are the ones responsible. In the age of the humans, or Anthropocene era, biodiversity has declined, CO2 levels have risen and climate change has the potential to have dire consequences.

Research shows that coastal communities, especially small island countries are most at risk for these effects of climate change such as sea level rise and increased ocean acidity which can result in fishery decline.

But, with the right management, these communities can soften the blow of climate change and keep their fisheries sustainable for future generations. A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Western Australia shows that fishing communities in Indonesia have done just that, and their practices could serve as a potential model to other small island countries.

By financing more ecotourism in Karimunjawa National Park, the government on Indonesia is trying to take pressure off the marine life by limiting fishing in spawning areas. Any businesses who aim to develop business enterprises to promote ecotourism in the mangrove-lined islands in the Java Sea just south of Borneo, are provided with incentives.

“Community involvement in the management of fisheries in Karimunjawa has had a significant impact on improving the sustainability of these resources,” said Dr. Stuart Campbell, lead author on the paper in a press release. “One outcome has been the stabilization of reef fish biomass in some areas since the zoning regulations have taken effect. Another important outcome has been the improved socioeconomics and political power of participant communities, the key to any successful endeavor in sustainable development.”

While many communities around the world have similar policies, the concurrent problem has always been enforcement, and the usual excuse for lack of oversight has often been money. But, one of the studies authors, Dr. Caleb McClennen, said that the government and community working together has made this model work.

“This co-management model is ideal for both marine conservation and local empowerment,” said McClennen, Director of WCS’s Marine Program. “The current plan’s economic, legal, and participatory incentives have created a self-perpetuating system of exclusive access rights for local communities, who in turn support and enforce the protected area’s policies and regulations.”

The new study appears in Marine Policy  and can perhaps serve as a preliminary model for other coastal communities.

______

The authors include: Stuart J. Campbell, Tasrif Kartawijaya, Irfan Yulianto, and Rian Prasetia of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Julian Clifton of the University of Western Australia.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: