EBM of the Bird’s Head Seascape
Overview of Ecosystem Based Management of the Bird’s Head Seascape by Joanne Wilson of The Nature Conservancy (July 25 and 26, 2011). The Bird’s Head Seascape (BHS) is located in the epicentre of the Coral Triangle and is a national and global priority for marine conservation as it contains the world’s most diverse coral reefs, high levels of endemism and numerous endangered marine species. While tourism, aquaculture and artisanal fisheries are emerging as a source of income for local communities, governments are still looking to commercial industries such as large scale fisheries, coastal development, forestry and mining as the main economic drivers. From 2005-2010, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Conservation International (CI) and WWF-Indonesia worked together with local partners to undertake 24 EBM studies encompassing biological, social, economic and governance topics to help find solutions for sustainable development, determine scales of connectivity and support the development of the BHS MPA network. During this time, the number of MPAs in the BHS increased from four to 12 and this network now covers more than 3.5 million hectares. However, additional strategies were needed to address the management of conservation features outside MPAs and the impacts of coastal development and catchment clearing on marine habitats throughout the BHS. The strong communications and capacity building components of the EBM program resulted in key decision makers requesting management recommendations for fisheries, spatial planning, species management and MPA management. The BHS now serves as a working model of EBM for the Coral Triangle, though ensuring that this strong framework continues to guide economic development decisions into the future remains a significant challenge.