Ridge to Reef fisheries, Melanesia

As part of the Ridges to Reef Fisheries working group of The Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP), my primary project, led by Dr. Stacy Jupiter, promoted integrated land-sea conservation approaches by tracking the progress of integrated coastal zone management, also known as integrated land-sea management (ILSM), in small island nations in Melanesia.

Despite 30-plus years of scientific and management guidelines on integrated land-sea planning and conservation – including a call to establish land-sea management during the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development – we still lack integrated land-sea models and implementation success. Most marine conservation focuses on overfishing, policies governing fisheries catch, and ocean water quality, without sufficient attention to relevant land-use and land-management practices. We evaluated ILSM on five specific projects across different governance structures, in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, Hawai’i and Papua New Guinea, showcasing best practices in each case and identifying the barriers to effective integration.

Questions we're asking

As the Ridge to Reef working group:

  1. What is the impact of upstream logging on downstream coral reefs, and on reef-dependent livelihoods such as fishing?
  2. What tradeoffs are communities and nations making between land-based livelihoods and ocean-based livelihoods?
  3. How might those impacts be mitigated, or those tradeoffs renegotiated?

In the Integrated Land Sea Management project:

How effective is integrated land-sea management in five projects, across different governance systems, in Melanesia?

Problems we're solving

A lack of data and models linking land and ocean systems makes coordinated decisionmaking difficult, as do gaps between institutions governing land and sea. Our working group addressed an information gap, building a model with linkages between land-use choices and marine stewardship. We also assessed integrated coastal management and its effectiveness under different governance systems in island nations of the Pacific, providing critical thinking and lessons learned as a form of guidance for future projects.

ILSM project participants: S.D. Jupiter, Melanesia Program, Wildlife Conservation Society; C.J. Klein, University of Queensland, Australia; S. Albert,University of Queensland, Australia; S. Mangubhai, Melanesia Program, Wildlife Conservation Society; J.L. Nelson, NatureNet Science Fellow/LandSea Science; L. Teneva, Conservation International, Hawai’i; V.J. Tulloch, University of Queensland, Australia; A.Wenger, James Cook University, Australia; A.T. White, The Nature Conservancy, Hawai’i; J.E.M. Watson, Global Conservation Program, Wildlife Conservation Society.

Photo credit: A. Wenger 2015, Suva, Fiji