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Published by:

insula in cooperation with:

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity Small Island Developing States Unit of the Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations. Department of Economic and Social Affairs

and UNESCO - MaB

insula International Journal of Island Affairs Editorial Board Editor: Pier Giovanni d’Ayala

ISLAND BIODIVERSITY Sustaining Life in Vulnerable Ecosystems Co-editors:

Paola Deda, Cipriano Marín and Kalemani Jo Mulongoy Scientific advisors: Reanata Rubian and Giuseppe Orlando

Scientific Advisory Committee: Prof. Salvino Busuttil, Malta Dr. Ronald G. Parris, Barbados Prof. Nicolas Margaris, Greece Prof. Patrick Nunn, Fiji Prof G. Prakash Reddy, India Prof. Hiroshi Kakazu, Japan Dr. Henrique Pinto da Costa, São Tomé e Principe Prof. Lino Briguglio, Malta Published by INSULA, the International Scientific Council for Island Development, with the support of UNESCO. Articles published in this journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions of INSULA or of UNESCO. Material appearing in this journal cannot be reproduced without the prior permission of the Editor.

insula , the International Journal of Island Affairs is distributed free to INSULA’s individual and institutional members. For subscriptions and information, please write to: insula , c/o UNESCO

1, rue Miollis 75732 Paris, FRANCE Tel.: +33 1, Fax: +33 1 E-mail:

ISSN 1021 – 0814 Special Issue - February 2004 Graphic designer: Luis Mir Payá Produced by: TENYDEA S.L. Canary Islands



Cover: Painting by César Manrique, famous insular artist from the island of Lanzarote. The motif was painted by the artist as a logo for the initiative “The Salt Route” promoting the recovery of traditional saltworks as artificial wetlands.



Executive Secretary Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

“Island biological diversity� is the theme selected for the current issue of INSULA, the International Journal of Island Affairs. This issue is the result of a joint effort by three organizations that are actively involved in island environmental and development affairs: the International Scientific Council for Island Development, the Small Island Developing States Unit of the Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This issue is being published in the run-up to two important international meetings of relevance to island environments: the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2004, and the Small Island Developing States international meeting for the review of the Barbados Programme of Action, which will take place in Mauritius in August 2004. Islands are home to an extraordinary high proportion of endemic species per unit of surface area, and to unique ecosystems. However, this richness is counterbalanced by its fragility. While the wealth of their biodiversity is a source of goods and services that support economic development, threats to island environments have direct and indirect consequences on their entire social and economic fabric. Indeed, since the Barbados Conference in 1994, biodiversity resources are considered a key factor in shaping sustainable development strategies for island regions. The Barbados Programme of Action identified the strategies and policies that would allow islands to safeguard their traditional heritage and natural resources while opening their societies to the new opportunities offered by international markets. Reducing the ecological vulnerability of islands is part of this strategy and requires that a series of interactive factors be considered. Firstly, the size of small island developing States reduces their assimilative and carrying capacity, leading to problems associated with water production and storage and waste management. Their relatively large coastal zone, in relation to the land mass, also makes small islands prone to erosion. Moreover, low resistance to outside influences facilitates the rapid and devastating spread of invasive alien species, with the consequent endangerment of endemic species of flora and fauna. Climate variability and change is affecting vast proportions of island territories, resulting in proportionately large land losses, particularly in low-lying islands. Small islands are prone to natural disasters, and the impacts of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, hurricanes, floods and tidal waves on island territories are often devastating. Last, but certainly not least, the significant impact of economic development, and mass tourism in particular, on small island environments is leading to a fast depletion of agricultural land and marine and coastal natural resources. A number of eminent island experts have collaborated in producing this issue of INSULA and elaborate on the status and trends of, and threats to, island biodiversity. They also provide extensive coverage of matters related to the environmental vulnerability of island ecosystems. Many of them offer possible solutions to prevent and manage some of the causes of biodiversity loss. Selected case-studies illustrate how sustainable development policies and strategies have been successfully translated into action. Despite the catastrophic outlook suggested by available data on the status and trends of biodiversity, in particular on alteration of island habitats of world importance, it should be acknowledged that much is being done to find 5

new alternatives for the management of natural resources, and that most of the small island developing States are in the forefront of the struggle for sustainable development. But, although success stories are being recognized daily, much has still to be done. This issue of INSULA is intended to sensitize the world community of the need for immediate action and to renew the commitment to the sustainable development of islands. Building on what has already been stated in the Barbados Programme of Action and what will be reiterated in Mauritius, the Convention on Biological Diversity is ready to take up the challenge and lead the international community in efforts to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of small island biodiversity. Thematic areas and cross-cutting issues dealt with in the Convention are already addressing many of the threats, and it is envisaged that the Conference of the Parties will endorse a new programme area focusing on island biodiversity. We wish to invite the world community to join in efforts to conserve and sustainably use these environments which may once have been portrayed as tropical paradises but which today, more realistically, are the most endangered and vulnerable ecosystems of our planet. Finally, I would like to express my particular gratitude to all the authors for their willingness to contribute to this issue of INSULA.





Vice Secretary-general INSULA International Sientic Council for Islands Development

The aim of this publication, result of a joint idea of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Insula and UN-SIDS (Small Island Developing States Unit of the Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), is to offer reference elements and a meditation framework before one of the most important challenges that the island world is facing at present: conservation, use, and exploitation of islands’ natural and biological heritage. Islands make up a real world that it is not sufficiently recognised yet, which hosts more than 500 million inhabitants and exercises a direct influence on an important share of our planet. In fact, although islands and Small Island States are, individually considered, small territories, they jointly exercise their jurisdiction on more than one sixth of Earth’s total area. Islands have always been seen as remote or exotic places, or products of myth. The origin of emblematic islands such as the Cyclades, for example, was attributed to a violent dispute between the divinities of the Olympus. Forgotten by time, the odyssey of Crete’s inhabitants who protected and hid Zeus’ birth, avoiding that his father Cronos ate him. Probably fruit of this ancient idea, islands are starting to claim their own time, emerging from centuries of oblivion and colonization. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 recognizes that islands constitute a special case, both from the environmental and the development points of view, with very specific problems for their sustainable development planning. They are ecologically fragile areas, and as a consequence of geographic isolation they have developed exceptional species of flora and fauna, hosting therefore a high share of world’s biological diversity. But Agenda 21 also recognizes that this universe made up by thousands of territories trapped between the sea and the sky, hosts an extraordinary field of rich and diverse cultures especially adapted to the island environment. And we nowadays know that these two components constitute our main capital to face the future. Islands rank at present amongst the best places on earth for high levels of biodiversity. Due to their distance from the continents and the existence of different microclimates, an interesting diversity of habitats has been produced on many islands, which in turn has contributed to the generation of an endemic population of flora and fauna. This has facilitated the development of great levels of biodiversity through phenomena such as evolution and radiation where species originating in the continent colonise the new habitat. Island ecological diversity also extends to marine ecosystems, fine examples of which include the magnificent coral reefs that surround many tropical islands and the high number of marine life oceanic sanctuaries. However, that same level of richness finds its counterpart in its own fragility. In no other place biodiversity is per se so fragile - before human actions are taken into consideration. This is due to the fact that species which have evolved on islands, have done so in competition with a relatively low number of other species. Populations also tend to be quite small in proportion to the size of most island territories and species often become concentrated in specific small areas. The greatest evidence of this phenomenon is the fact that many of the biodiversity hot spots of the planet, those areas where large quantities of endangered endemic species are found, are islands such as the Philippines, New Caledonia, Madagascar or the Hawaii and Canary archipelagos. 7

Nowadays, there are two greatest threats to biodiversity in island habitats: firstly, the colonisation of invasive species and secondly, the loss or fragmentation of habitats. The introduction of exotic species onto islands is particularly dangerous, as it may initially go unnoticed given that the process of destruction appears slower and less acute than the destruction of a virgin area. Throughout history human exploitation has led to great losses in biodiversity. The migratory pigeon of North America is often the paradigm of extinction mentioned with regard to continents: the corresponding list to chose from for island territories is painstakingly long. The truth comes out analysing the register of species that became extinct over the past three centuries. The numbers speak for themselves: practically the same number of species have been lost on the islands and on the continents. Given that an estimated 75% of animal species that have become extinct since the 17th century are insular, it is true to say that island flora and fauna have paid a very high price. In the case of birds, 90% of species lost in recorded history belong to island populations, made more serious by the fact that these populations alone represent 20% of the bird species worldwide. Furthermore, 23% of island species are at present considered to be endangered, whereas the corresponding figure for the rest of the world is 11%. The other great threat to island biodiversity is the loss or fragmentation of habitats. In the past, this was brought about when forests were cleared for agriculture and grazing. Nowadays the threat generally comes from tourist development, as the economies of the large majority of islands with warm climates are dependent on this sector. In fact islands, as a whole, are today the second tourist destination in the world. Within this framework it is essential to maintain and strengthen the binomial cultural identity - biological diversity to guarantee our singular presence in this global business. We cannot forget that archipelagos such as Balearics, Canaries or Hawaii, have each a tourist flow bigger than Brazil. But, despite the discouraging outlook provided by data on biodiversity and alteration of island habitats of world importance, it must be acknowledged that it is in these same islands that most is being done to find new alternatives in the management of natural resources. Indeed, it is fair to say that many of the results of researches carried out on islands over the past twenty five years have laid the foundations to design guidelines and strategies for the management of protected areas on the mainland. The idea that islands constitute authentic models of reference was widely diffused by the IUCN in their framework of recommendations on the nature conservation, which was published in the eighties. Indeed, more recently, experiences in complex and important island territories are helping to generate true working hypotheses on this global challenge we call sustainable development. An array of possible situations and implications arises from the variety existing in the island microcosm. This is why, for more than two decades the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme has dedicated a large portion of its work to island territories, considering these areas as excellent laboratories for conservation and management of biological diversity. And these laboratories are now starting to extend into the sea, where several islands are pioneer in the creation of marine reserves and in the safeguard of fishing resources, turning themselves into the big guardians of the oceans. This introduction only tries to give an idea of the complexity and intensity of the tasks set out for islanders when designing biological diversity conservation and sustainable development strategies in accordance with the infinity of particular circumstances of each island. I therefore thank on behalf of INSULA the big effort and enthusiasm of the authors and collaborating institutions in bringing ideas and key references that allow us paving new roads for the use and conservation of a heritage that is essential to build our future. Finally, I hope that this work carried out with the decided support and orientation of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, would allow recognizing the fragility of these mythical territories and their unique circumstances, implying that the international community should share with the islanders the responsibility to conserve this common heritage taking into account its real importance to the Earth’s life.




Introduction Humans have always relied on the earth’s biological resources for their economic and social development. However, historical data have shown that pervasive human disturbance of ecosystems has been taking place for centuries, often resulting in ecological extinction worldwide (Jackson et al, 2001). This has increased significantly over the last several decades. With increasing degradation of ecosystems, habitat loss and species extinction, there is a growing recognition that current use (or misuse) of these resources is not sustainable unless countries develop measures for the conservation and sustainable use of these resources. Sustainable use of these resources is therefore an imperative if present and future generations are to benefit from them. While biodiversity loss has been occurring at a global scale, island ecosystems have been found to be far more affected. Significant extinction of island endemics has been taking place since prehistoric times, however the colonization of islands by humans have significantly accelerated the rates of species extinction. Steadman (1997) estimates that

post-human rates of extinction are twice that of pre-human rates. Review of data on species extinctions, beginning c. AD 1600, have shown that many more plant and animal species have become extinct from islands1 than from continents (Whittaker, 1998). Also, although one in six plant species occur on oceanic islands, one in three of all known threatened plant species are island endemics. Island ecosystems appear to be less resilient than mainland systems.

Island Ecosystems. Island ecosystems are characterized by: • Species poverty, that is, fewer species per unit area than mainland; • Disharmony, in that they tend to have a different balance of species compared to equivalent patches of mainland and this is more marked (accentuated) with increasing isolation; • Richness in endemism. At the global level, collectively, islands contribute to biodiversity disproportionately to their land area. Although islands constitute 3% of the land surface of the world, one in six of the earth’s known plant species occur on oceanic islands (Whittaker 1998);


• A higher representation of alien species in their biota than do mainland systems and • Increased vulnerability to natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Agenda 21 In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the “Earth Summit”) was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marking the twentieth anniversary of the Stockholm conference which had placed

Elaine Fisher has a Ph. D in Marine Ecology from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica. A former Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica, she has been representing Jamaica at the international level in the area of Biodiversity since 1994 and chaired the national committee responsible for developing the country’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. She is currently the Chair of Jamaica’s CITES Scientic Authority and is the national focal point for SBSSTTA, the subsidiary body of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Contact: c/o Oxford Medical Centre, 22h Old Hope Road, Kingston 5, Jamaica, E-mail: e


While islands may be classified into those within land masses and those within seas, for the purposes of this paper, islands are discrete entities with clearly defined limits surrounded by the sea and able to sustain a supply of fresh water.


environmental concerns firmly before the global community. With the growing awareness of the direct link between economic development and the conservation of the natural environment and the realization that environmental conservation was not possible without economic development, the focus of the Earth Summit was on sustainable development, that is: development that “meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Five major instruments were signed by world leaders at Rio, which included Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Agenda 21 can be considered a blue print for sustainable development. Section 1 of the preamble states “However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfilment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can - in a global

partnership for sustainable development”. It recognises the special challenges which face SIDS in trying to achieve sustainable development. Chapter 17.G. outlines “the basis for action” and identifies two objectives necessary in addressing the problems of sustainable development (Box 1). Importantly, it recognizes the need for cooperation from the international community in achieving sustainable development. The Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) O, Island in the Sun Willed to me by my father’s hand. All my days I will sing in praise of your forest waters, and shining sands. Chorus from “Island in the Sun”, Irving Burgie, 1956.

Images of beautiful white sands, clear clean waters, this was, and probably still is, the image of islands through the eyes of many potential travelers. But does this still hold true for many small island developing States? Population growth coupled with unsustainable economic

Box1. Sustainable development of small islands, Basis for action and Objectives (taken from Agenda 21). Sustainable development of small islands Basis for action Small island developing States and islands supporting small communities are a special case both for environment and development. They are ecologically fragile and vulnerable. Their small size, limited resources, geographic dispersion and isolation from markets, place them at a disadvantage economically and prevent economies of scale. For small island developing States the ocean and coastal environment is of strategic importance and constitutes a valuable development resource. Their geographic isolation has resulted in their habitation of a comparatively large number of unique species of flora and fauna, giving them a very high share of global biodiversity. They also have rich and diverse cultures with special adaptations to island environments and knowledge of the sound management of island resources. Small island developing States have all the environmental problems and challenges of the coastal zone concentrated in a limited land area. They are considered extremely vulnerable to global warming and sealevel rise, with certain small low-lying islands facing the increasing threat of the loss of their entire national territories. Most tropical islands are also now experiencing the more immediate impacts of increasing frequency of cyclones, storms and hurricanes associated with climate change. These are causing major set-backs to their socio-economic development. Because small island development options are limited, there are special challenges to planning for and implementing sustainable development. Small island developing States will be constrained in meeting these challenges without the cooperation and assistance of the international community. Objectives States commit themselves to addressing the problems of sustainable development of small island developing States. To this end, it is necessary: (a) To adopt and implement plans and programmes to support the sustainable development and utilization of their marine and coastal resources, including meeting essential human needs, maintaining biodiversity and improving the quality of life for island people; (b) To adopt measures which will enable small island developing States to cope effectively, creatively and sustainably with environmental change and to mitigate impacts and reduce the threats posed to marine and coastal resources



development have resulted in degradation of the natural ecosystems of small island developing States, systems essential for sustained economic and social development. In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly convened the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of small island developing States to provide a comprehensive framework for the implementation of Agenda 21 in the specific context of these States. The focus of the Programme of Action is on sustainable development through sustainable use of oceans, coastal environments, biodiversity, and human resources. It recognizes the special characteristics of SIDS and the problems and challenges faced by these States in working towards sustainable development. It also recognizes that many of these problems are directly related to small size and that the small size of SIDS “means that the environment and development are closely interrelated and interdependent”. Sustainable use of island ecosystems is therefore critical for their sustained economic development. Constraints to sustainable development in SIDS include: • Increased vulnerability to natural disasters and environmental change such as climate change resulting in sea level rise. (At least thirteen of the twenty five most disasterprone countries are SIDS); • High degrees of endemism but with small populations increasing the risk of extinctions;

• Heavy dependence on the coastal and marine environment leading to degradation of the coastal marine ecosystems; • Limited freshwater resources (small watersheds); • Increasing amounts of hazardous waste substances with limited facilities for waste disposal; • Small vulnerable economies dependent on: i) narrow resource bases ii) international trade and in many cases reliant on preferential trading arrangements; • limited influence on international trade rules; • Small domestic markets unable to provide significant economies of scale; • Inadequate means to exploit natural resources on a sustainable basis; • High levels of migration of skilled human resources; • Limited access to concessionary resources due to higher per capita income than that of other developing countries and • Limited arable land which is used primarily for the production of agricultural commodities for export, such as sugar, cocoa and bananas. Human well-being is central to the BPOA. Here the environment meets the needs of people, and as such, should be conserved and sustainably used in order to meet the needs of future generations. In the programme are actions and policies for implementation at the national, regional and international levels, towards achieving sustainable development over

the short, medium and long term. It identifies 14 priority areas for action which are: 1. Climate Change 2. Natural and environmental disasters 3. Management of Wastes 4. Coastal and Marine Resources 5. Freshwater Resources 6. Land Resources 7. Energy Resources 8. Tourism Resources 9. Biodiversity resources 10. National Institutions and Administrative Capacity 11. Regional Institutions and Technical Cooperation 12. Transport and Communication 13. Science and Technology 14. Human Resource Development Chapter 15 deals with implementation, monitoring and review. However, a point of interest in this chapter is the recognition of the vulnerability of SIDS and the importance of working with national, regional and international organizations and research centres in continuing work on developing vulnerability indices and other indicators. It further states that these indices should reflect the status of SIDS and integrate ecological fragility and economic vulnerability and that consideration should be given to how such an index, as well as relevant studies undertaken on small island developing States by other international institutions, might be used in addition to other statistical measures as quantitative indicators of fragility. (Para.114).

Chapter 9 on Biological Resources directly addresses actions for the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and will be discussed further in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Review of BPOA Implementation Conserving their ecosystems and ensuring sustainable use are central towards the sustainable development of SIDS and pose tremendous challenges. Implementation of the BPOA requires human resource development, institutional development (for the integration of environmental polices in national planning and financial resources) public education and participation, and additional financial resources. The inherent vulnerability of SIDS creates unplanned demands on these states which are already grappling with very limited resources. Small island developing states are often faced with natural disasters which can seriously erode national budgetary allocations towards environmental conservation programmes as the immediate needs of the society must take priority. A single hurricane can inflict tremendous damage to a small island economy, destroying agricultural crops, infrastructure and dwellings. Governments often must use resources allocated to other programmes to meet the immediate needs of the population. Quite often environmental programmes are not seen as priority issues, that is, not ‘bread and butter issues’, but really ‘the icing on the cake’. Nevertheless, there have been a number of initiatives at the international, regional and national levels to implement the Programme of Action. There has been significant implementation at the national level, although many of these initiatives/projects are not readily identified as implementing the BPOA. Binger et al (2002) reports that estimates indicate that 70% of the tasks and actions have been carried out by the SIDS themselves. This certainly indicates a commitment by the SIDS to the Programme of Action. Some initiatives at the international level include: • the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Capacity 21, which was UNDP’s main instrument to build capacities in developing countries to implement Agenda 21. An important project of this


initiative is the establishment of the Small Island Developing States Network, SIDSNET2, housed in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), which facilitates the exchange of information among SIDS. However, access by stakeholders to this facility is constrained by the high cost of internet access and computers, unreliable electricity supplies and poor telecommunications infrastructure. There is also the problem of long term sustainability. • the assistance provided by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the areas of water resources management, waste management and the further development of the Environmental Vulnerability Index. Comprehensive but not exhaustive reports on implementation carried out at the national, regional and international level can be found in the United Nations General Assembly Reports A/56/170, July 10, 20013 and A/57/131, July 2, 20024. The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), continuously reviews the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action and at its seventh session (1999), carried out a full review for the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly held later that year. The report of the Secretary General (E/CN.17/1999/6), benefited from the outcomes of four regional meetings, and is a very comprehensive review of actions taken at the national regional and international level. It contains inter alia: progress achieved, problems and constraints encountered in the implementation, major emerging sustainable development concerns and problems (such as marine spills, intensification of natural disasters, shortage of fresh water, tightening financial situation) and priorities identified by the various regions for future action. A number of sectoral and cross-sectoral priorities were identified by all regions, (Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific). All thematic programme areas of the BPOA were identified as priority areas of equal

importance requiring immediate attention. The report noted that a great deal of effort had been made by SIDS at the national, regional levels with international support resulting in “perceptible” progress! .It identified constraints encountered in the implementation process which included: “finance, skilled human resources for implementation of sustainable development measures, and suitable development institutions and administrative capacity”. These constraints are not likely to go away without additional international assistance. In September 1999, a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the BPOA was undertaken by the 22nd Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the review of the CSD being the basis of the assessment. “Resource mobilization” was identified by the general Assembly as one of the main challenges for small island developing States. It further noted that “Adequate financial resources at all levels remain crucial to the continued implementation of the Pogramme of Action.” It also called upon the small island developing States in partnership with the international community to, inter alia, complete the quantitative and analytic work on a vulnerability index for small island developing States, “preferably before 2000”. In September 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the special case of SIDS was reaffirmed. The gains made by SIDS towards sustainable development was acknowledged, but also recognized was that “they are increasingly constrained by the interplay of adverse factors clearly underlined in Agenda 21, the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the decisions adopted at the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly.” Calls for actions at all levels include: • Provision of adequate financial resources, including through GEF focal areas; • Transfer of environmentally sound technologies and assistance for capacity-building from the international community; • Further implementation of sustainable Fisheries; 4 2 3



• Support, for the development and further implementation of: (i) Small island developing States-specific components within programmes of work on marine and coastal biological diversity; (ii) Freshwater programmes for small island developing States, including through the GEF focal areas; • Effective reduction, prevention and control of waste and pollution; • Develop community-based initiatives on sustainable tourism by 2004, and build the capacities necessary to diversify tourism products, while protecting culture and traditions, and effectively conserving and managing natural resources; • Support the finalisation and subsequent early operationalisation, on agreed terms, of economic, social and environmental vulnerability indices and related indicators as tools for the achievement of the sustainable development of the small island developing States; • Assist small island developing States in mobilising adequate resources and partnerships for their adaptation needs relating to the adverse effects of climate change, sea level rise and climate variability and • Support efforts by small island developing States to build capacities and institutional arrangements to implement intellectual property regimes; There was also a call for a 10-year comprehensive review of the BPOA at a highlevel international meeting in the year 2004. (This meeting will take place in Mauritius in 2004). In a follow-up to WSSD, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/57/2625 which recognizes the challenges to SIDS in the context of development and, inter alia urges all relevant organizations to finalise the work on the vulnerability index, “taking into account the particular

circumstances of and needs of small island developing States.” Preparations are currently under way for the “BPOA + 10” review to be held in August/September 2004 in Mauritius. What are the expected outcomes of this meeting? While achievements will certainly be reported in the various areas through projects and initiatives, sectoral areas such as Coastal and marine resources, Land Resources, Tourism Resources, Freshwater resources and Biodiversity resources will remain priority areas for action. In fact all fourteen areas will remain priorities for action and there are new issues emerging such as growing terrorism and its attendant impact on tourism and travel. This does not mean that implementation of the Porgramme of Action has been unsuccessful, but that the achievement of major goals will take time. After all, we have been utilizing the earth’s resources from pre-historic times with little concern for the health of the ecosystems on which we are dependent. It has only been within the last few decades that we have realized that a healthy earth is critical for human survival and that the present rate of ecosystem degradation is not sustainable

The Convention on Biological Diversity The Convention on Biological Diversity, one of the so-called “Rio Conventions”, was opened for signature at the “Earth Summit” in 1992 and entered into force on December 29, 1993. At present there are 187 Parties to the Convention. Its genesis was from the realization that sustainable development could not be achieved without the conservation and sustainable use of the earth’s resources and, importantly, through equitable sharing of benefits from the use of such resources. The objectives of the convention are: “the conservation of biological diversity6, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all 5 6

rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding.” Since the first session of the meeting of the Parties in 1993, the convention has considered several thematic areas and crosscutting issues. It has developed programmes of work for the following thematic areas: marine and coastal biodiversity, agricultural biodiversity, forest biodiversity, the biodiversity of inland waters, and dry and sub-humid lands. The Convention’s recently developed Strategic Plan recognizes it as an essential instrument in achieving sustainable development. It has been recognized in Johannesburg Plan of Implementation as the “key instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from use of genetic resources.” It could therefore be considered one of the legal frameworks under which sections of the BPOA could be implemented. Already the CBD makes special reference to SIDS in its work and there is a certain amount of overlap between the CBD’s work and the priority areas identified in the BPOA.

This is shown in Table 1. (The table is not exhaustive). As seen from the table, there are several areas in the BPOA that are currently being considered by the Convention on Biological Diversity through its thematic areas and crosscutting issues. This opens the opportunity for synergies between the two instruments. How will SIDS benefit? Should both instruments continue to work separately? Will a collaborative approach be more beneficial to SIDS? Should the CBD with its focus on conservation and sustainable use take the lead in the implementation of the BPOA in the areas that are covered by both? Certainly these questions are worthy of consideration. Most SIDS are Parties to the CBD. Recommendations from the CBD process relevant to Island ecosystems. In March of 2003, at the CBD’s Open-ended Inter-Sessional Meeting on the Multi-Year Programme of Work of the Conference of the Parties up to 2010 (MYPOW), held in Montreal, a number of the recommendations

Table 1. Comparison of Thematic Programmes and Cross – cutting Issues under the Convention on Biological Diversity with some areas of the Barbados Programme of Action Convention on Biological Diversity: Programmes/Issues Thematic Programmes § Agricultural Biodiversity § Dry and Sub-humid Lands Biodiversity § Forest Biodiversity § Inland Waters Biodiversity § Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Cross-cutting Issues § Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing § Alien Species § Article 8(J): Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices § Biological Diversity and Tourism § Climate Change and Biological Diversity § Economics, Trade and Incentives § Ecosystem Approach § Global Strategy for Plant Conservation § Global Taxonomy Initiative § Impact Assessment, Liability and Redress § Indicators § Protected Areas § Public Education and Awareness § Sustainable Use of Biodiversity § Transfer of Technology and Technology Cooperation (for COP 7)

Barbados Programme of Action: corresponding priority areas § § § § §

Freshwater Resources Biodiversity Resources Freshwater Resources Freshwater Resources Coastal and Marine Resources

§ Biodiversity Resources § Biodiversity Resources § Biodiversity Resources & Human Resource Development § Tourism Resources § Climate Change & Sea Level Rise

§ § § § § §

Biodiversity Resources Biodiversity Resources Biodiversity Resources Biodiversity Resources Biodiversity Resources Biodiversity Resources & Human Resource Development § Biodiversity Resources § Biodiversity Resources Biological diversity is defined in the Convention as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and ecological complexes of which they are part, this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.


made for consideration at the seventh meeting of the Parties (COP 7), to be held early 2004, could have a positive impact on implementation of the BPOA.

The Way Forward

Marine Protected Areas for consideration at COP 7. The call for the negotiation of an international regime on Access and Benefitsharing under the CBD by the WSSD should be taken into account at the upcoming review of the BPOA and ways to prevent duplication should be identified. An in depth consideration of island biodiversity at the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties could provide an opportunity to explore ways and means to further implement the BPOA. How will the issue of Island Biodiversity be addressed? Certainly there are existing thematic and cross-cutting areas/issues in which island biodiversity can be addressed. Some of these are: • Coastal and Marine Biodiversity, in particular looking at marine protected areas and the development of national marine and coastal biodiversity management frameworks; • Indicators: development and testing of indicators within the context of sustainable use i.e. biological indicators, economic indicators and social indicators, taking into consideration the increasing vulnerability of island ecosystems; • Public Education and Awareness, specially targeted at communities, coastal and inland, on the effects of their activities on the various ecosystems which support major economies such as tourism; • Global Taxonomic Initiative, specifically looking at island flora and fauna, and • Sustainable use: development of a simple practical guide for sustainable use for middle level managers, taking into account the draft Addis Abba Principles and the shortage of skilled personnel in SIDS.

If adopted at COP 7, these recommendations provide opportunities for further addressing the special circumstances affecting island ecosystems and in particular the implementation of the BPOA. The issues of hotspots and protected areas are very pertinent to SIDS. Conservation International notes that “Several hotspots are tropical island archipelagos, like the Caribbean and the Philippines, or relatively large islands, like New Caledonia, or combinations of both, like Sundaland.”7 Already the CBD’s subsidiary body has started work on ecological networks in

There are of course many more areas for collaboration between the two instruments. In particular, the critical factor of funding must be addressed if there is to be sustained and significant implementation of activities which address island ecosystem degradation and loss. For improved access to international funding, there will need to be further guidance to the Financial Mechanism of the CBD, the Global Environment Facility. Decisions would have to be taken as to how important are island ecosystems in the global context.

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). In its analysis of the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development as it relates to the Convention process, the MYPOW recommended inter alia, that at its seventh meeting the COP consider the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development relating to hotspots, ecological networks and corridors in the context of the work on protected areas, taking into account other relevant thematic programmes and crosscutting issues. Also, with regards to the call for the negotiation within the framework of the convention an international regime to promote and safe guard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, the MYPOW recommended that its Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing consider the issue and provide advice to the Conference of Parties at its seventh meeting. Multi-year Programme of Work Review In its review of the of the CBD’s multi-year programme the MYPOW recommended that no new issues should be taken up for indepth consideration, with the exception of Island Biodiversity which is to be discussed at COP 8.




Are they collectively globally significant? If so, should they be afforded special consideration for funding? The WSSD Plan of implementation states “Oceans, seas, islands and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem and are critical for global food security and for sustaining economic prosperity and the well-being of many national economies, particularly in developing countries.”(Para. 30). Also, should the resilience/vulnerability of island ecosystems be taken into consideration and be a significant criterion for accessing official development assistance? Conservation and sustainable use of island ecosystems will require more than the development of principles and work programs, ratification of international treaties, and external funding. For interventions to be sustainable there must be recognition at the national level of the importance of island ecosystems and the fragility of these systems. At the global level there must be a commitment to address the trade-related issues of SIDS “in a manner commensurate with their special circumstances and in support of their efforts towards sustainable development”.


BINGER, Albert; WIT, M; BRIGUGLIO, Lino; BHUGLAH, Ached; PAENIU, Bikeniben; SPRINGER, Cletus;, GIBBONS, Lolita; ALI, Mohammed; HOGWARTH, Russell. 2002. The Growing Vulnerability of Small Island Developing States. Prepared by the University of the West Indies Centre for Environment and Development Mona, Kingston, Jamaica for the United Nations Development Programme Capacity 21 Project. JACKSON, Jeremy BC; KIRBY, Michael X; BERGER, Wolfgang H; COOKE, Richard; ERLANDSON, Jon; ESTES, James A; HUGHES, Terence P; KIDWELL, Susan, LANGE, Carina B; LENIHAN, Hunter S; PANDOLFI, John M; PETERSON, Charles H; STENECK, Robert S; TEGNER, Mia J; WARNER, Robert R. 2001. Historical Overfishing and the Recent Collapse of Coastal Ecosystems. Science , July 2001, vol.293, p.629-638. WHITTAKER Oxford University Press., Robert J. 1998. Island Biogeography; Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation.


Discussion of a Bimodality Islands are creatures of trans-territoriality; their history and culture, as well as their political administration, is a perennial dialectic between the woof of home and the warp of away; between openness and closure; between ‘routes’ and ‘roots’ (Villamil, 1977; Clifford, 1997; Brinklow et al., 2000). Thus, an island reveals a particularly stark rendition of the local and the global. It is, at any one time, a discrete piece of geographic or physical terrain, identifiable by its delineated boundary. This is typically represented by the shore and the sea beyond. The finite compactness of the enclosed space tends to reduce the number as well as the internal diversity of both species (of flora and fauna) as well as of products and services (where populated). Its obvious totality is in itself an allure, inviting humans to ‘play God’: becoming agents of transformation. This is a rare experience of near total control over environmental variables. Yet, concurrently, an island owes its existence to both imputs towards and outputs beyond itself. In spite of the apparent contradiction-in-terms, what are often referred to as ‘externalities’ - including exports, imports, migration, remittances, epidemics, tourists, environmental disasters or military interventions - are

simply and powerfully central to island life. Such a condition has been described as “hypothermia” (Baldacchino, 2000), “vulnerability” (Briguglio, 1995) or “volatility” (Easterly & Kraay, 2000).

Impact Studies These two conditions represent the globallocal, or ‘openness-closure’, dilemma of small island systems. The composite effects, and ensuing dynamics, of this bimodality assure us that the impact of living things, particularly human beings and their actions, on this planet are nowhere more dramatic, or more tragic, than on island territories. An island, since it is an island, lends itself much more easily to impact, whether the latter is caused by forces within or without. Such an impact becomes all the more glaring, or need not be so significant for it to have a measurable effect, with decreasing physical size of the island. This proneness to impact is one reason behind the fact that island territories reveal and harbour extreme versions of the living condition. Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace have been pioneers in identifying this uncanny circumstance amongst living things leading to a process of biodiversity often culiminating in endemism (Darwin, 1979; Wallace, 1975). In economic terms, small, island based societies like Aruba, Iceland, Bermuda and French Polynesia are counted amongst the world’s richest people (The Economist, 2003a); while those of São Tomé & Principe, Vanuatu or the Maldives are recognised amongst the


world’s poorest. In political terms, the nature of colonial impact on small islands has ranged from the total extermination of native peoples (for example: Moorehead, 1966) to the cultural incorporation of the locals into the imperialist psyche, to the extent that they shun, rather than actively seek, political independence (Miles, 1985; Winchester, 1985). Where biota are concerned, “island isolation dictates evolutionary problems in heightened form” (Carlquist, 1965:1). In demographic terms, many small islands run the risk of either depopulation or overpopulation (Connell & King, 1999). In geophysical terms, islands can be born (such as Surtsey or Kavachi - see Nunn, 1994) have their entire living biota wiped out (such as Anatahan Island - see NASA, 2003) or totally wiped off the face of the map (such as Krakatoa - see Whittaker, 1999) as a consequence of natural, or human, activity. Life cannot get more extreme than that. No wonder islands are comfortable metaphors for both paradise and prison. It may come as a surprise, but considerable difficulties may arise in determining whether any such impacts are overall beneficial or deleterious. The contestation over land use by different stakeholders (such as local residents, foreign tourists and [local or foreign] property developers) especially where land is a very scarce commodity has been amply documented in the tourism literature (BoisGodfrey Baldacchino, BA (Malta), MA (The Hague) PhD (Warwick), is Canada Research Chair in Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, and Visiting Professor of Sociology at the University of Malta, Malta. His publications include Global Tourism & Informal Labour Relations (London, Mansell, 1997). E-mail:


sevain, 1996). Similar case studies exist in relation to the contestation of land considered (by at least one of the parties) of strategic value (Bartmann, 2002; Espindola, 1987). The conflict escalates not only because of the finite resource basis of the land; but also because any long-term effects or opportunity costs tend to be quite considerable. Indeed, it may be fair to say that, when it comes to smaller islands, speaking of ‘sustainable development’ is a contradiction-in-terms.

Impact and Sustainability The ‘openness-closure’ dilemma identified above contours the sustainability argument in at least two distinct ways. First, it facilitates a resort to management via externalities which reduces the urgency and pressure to devise local solutions to local problems. The world beyond becomes, or actually continues to serve as, both the eponymous recycle bin we now readily use on our personal computers, as well as the potential source for desirable imputs, a modern rendition of the cargo cult (Worsley, 1968). Imaginative statecraft and diplomacy are fervently deployed in the context of international relations (in the case of sovereign island states) or domestic politics (in the case of small islands which are sub-national entities) to achieve solutions to one’s problems - small, by anyone else’s yardstick other than one’s own, after all which avoid internal resolution. Second, small islands are truly ‘I-lands’, where the role of specific individuals is aggrandized. Being a big fish is easier in a small pond, although other ‘big fish’ may stand stubbornly in the way. This need not happen through active, strategic pursuit but may be a consequence of sheer default; especially so in islands enjoying some degree of administrative autonomy. ‘Soft state’ dynamics make it so much easier for locals or foreigners to identify discrete individuals who take decisions, and to lobby and influence the substance and/or direction of such decisions to one’s advantage (Lowenthal, 1987). Outcome: the potential or disposition for ‘building monuments’ is nowhere so readily and easily available (Bray & Fergus, 1986). And monument building, by definition, is not typically a sustainable activity.



Biodiversity and Sustainability “[T]he incidence of endangered or extinct species is greater on islands than on continents. More endemic species have been created on islands but more have perished there” (Young, 1999: 253). The ‘openness-closure’ perspective helps us understand better the dynamics of biological diversity and sustainablity on islands. The particular geographical circumstances of each island create a specific eco-system, with its own evolutionary dynamics. In the case of continental islands - land areas that used to be connected to the mainland - evolution works via a long-term process of biota reduction: a progressive loss of species (extinction) which is bound to occur irrespective of the impact of humankind. In the case of oceanic islands - those rising from the sea thanks to coral deposits, volcanic activity or tectonic forces - evolution works via a long-term process of biota addition: a progressive accretion of new species coming in from the outside, starting from nothing (Quammen, 1996). In both cases, differentiation then occurs as a consequence of relative isolation and biota specialisation. However, also in both cases, reduction and vulnerability of both the number and variety of species is accentuated with the impact of one particular living form humankind - and its associated evaluation of land not as habitat but as potential for real estate and commodification. Hence, and ironically, the dedication of land to ‘development’, including tourism development. Hence also, and even more ironically, the construction of nature reserves and parks as ‘tourism products’.

Strategies for Use Practice How to promote sustainable use practices in such a context? And all the more so when tourism - with all its associated infrastructural and environmental constraints - is fast becoming the common denominator in the development strategy of many small islands? Once again, it is the ‘openness-closure’ paradigm which suggests plausible answers. Let us start from within. Given the towering role of specific individuals within small island communities, much can be achieved by identifying and promoting ‘champions’ from

amongst the island communities’ leadership. The transparency of decision making makes it so much easier to praise and commend those decisions, and the persons behind those decisions, which support sustainability, Active members within civil society, environment lobby groups or green-sensitive political parties can show and extend their support to key individuals, institutions or businesses who adopt or promote more sustainable user practices. The rapid spread of information in a small island community, with or without the use of formal media, ensures quick and cheap publicity. Let us now continue from without. The impact of trans-territorial and/or transnational forces can be very significant on small islands. These external agents must not be underestimated as prime movers of change. Take, for example, the presence and role of the diaspora, the sum total of those individuals who have left their home island and settled elsewhere. These emigrants could typically be more numerous, as well as of better financial means, than the locals who opted to stay put. They are the ones most likely to resort to multiple return tourism, and to spend longer nights on ‘their’ island whenever they visit family and friends. They are usually more post-materialist and environmentally sensitive (Inglehart, 1977), more strident and critical of the state of the local island environment. Their opinions count, and it pays - often literally for their local cousins to listen.

Thirdly, the amalgam of local and global can nurture a very particular form of island identity. Successful island peoples are often ones who have developed a fairly broad common definition of who they are, in relation to the ever looming external world. The corner stone of economic success is the creation of a society suffused with trust and social cooperation amongst its members (Srebrnik, 2000: 56).

Island Identity Islands, especially small islands, come along with some distinct advantages in relation to the construction of identity. First, their geographical precision facilitates a (unique) sense of place (Weale, 1992); they have a natural deployment towards the

sea and a maritime destiny that facilitates trade; and they are endowed with an obvious sense of alterity with the rest of the world beyond the horizon. Place, and its shared definition, fosters (though it does not guarantee) a sense of unitarism. Second, ‘place’ can be invented and reconstituted - though it can also be lost - with encroaching globalization. After all, most small ‘cross-roads’ islands have been obliged to operate, or were even historically constructed, as global platforms (Churchill Semple, 1911: 424; Connell & King, 1999: 3-4). Thus, and thirdly, small islands tend to do a better job, culturally and economically, when they are well-run jurisdictions with open export-geared economies, harbouring an ethnie: a people, a ‘moral community’ with a shared history and language (Fukuyama, 1996). Island identity can, in this way, replace ethnicity, class or political partisanship as the referent social fabric, still respecting the openness-closure dialectic - and therefore not suggesting defensive mono-culturalism or xenophobia. This facilitates a ‘learning organisation’ setting (McClelland, 1967), open to diversity, pluralism and the toning down of social class and/or status barriers and tensions. All the more so at a time when powerful forces of localism are being unleashed everywhere (Bartmann, 2000). Fourthly, the compacted social space, intense webbing and networking of social dynamics, and the manner in which the consequences of decisions are sudden, rapid, total and visible provides easy lessons in



cause-effect relationships. The damage, typically to the natural environment, caused by the wrong decisions is therefore immediate and readily visible to one and all. It becomes a glaring reminder of bad policies, and quickly associated with the instigator(s) of such bad policies.

2002; Briguglio et al., 1996; Conlin & Baum, 1995; Gossling, 2003; Lockhart & DrakakisSmith, 1996). UNESCO recognized this island condition as early as 1976. If sustainable development is already a headache; then surely, sustainable tourism in small islands is even more impossible!

Enter Tourism

Specific Practices

Tourism provides a sinister twist to this condition. Although the industry permits what appears to be a cheap and easy cashing in on natural resources - sun, sea, sand unless the fourth ‘s’ of sustainability is also present, then what appeared as a cash cow could soon degenerate into an ecological catastrophe. Tourists invariably bring along added pressure on energy, fuel demands for imported food and raw materials, contribute to solid waste, clogged drainage, roads and telephone lines, and are party to polluted air and beaches. One cannot repeat enough, and the literature confirms this time and time again: the tourism impact is nowhere more sudden, pervasive, transparent - and perhaps even irrevocable - as on islands and their communities, especially smaller islands (Apostolopoulos & Gayle,

How, then, to buck the trend? Each and every island is unique; and each has the promise of serving as a geographically total environment. Such a condition resulting naturally from isolation renders most islands ideal for serving as advance posts, laboratories for experiments in novel uses and practices. The island of Iceland is today a key leader in genetic decoding, thanks to its extensively well-documented genealogical heritage (Vesilind, 2000). The island of Mafia, off Zanzibar, is the WHO test site for the elimination of elephantiasis (The Economist, 2003b). The island of Tristan da Cunha may hold the key to the asthma and lung cancer genes (Scott, 2003). Islands are also obvious starting points for designing sustainable ecotourism programmes via biosphere reserves, national parks and other diversity-rich areas (Di Castri & Balaji, 2002). Turning to sustainable island tourism, Lelaulu (1994) offers four basic suggestions:


a. Zoning: Keep tourists concentrated in one

place for as long as you can during their visit to a particular island. Waikiki Beach on Oahu, Hawai’i, is one such good example. The tourism policy of the Maldives - a Muslim country - is another. This policy is easier to introduce and implement in the case of archipelagic island territories. b. Less but Better & Richer: Take Fewer Tourists who will stay longer and spend more. Again, small islands enjoy a net advantage here. They do not need millions of tourists to make a difference to their gross national product. And access - by air or by sea - is more easily controlled. A relatively expensive pricing policy, accompanied by quality tourism infrastructure, is typically enough to keep the hordes away. Icelandair and Air Seychelles have done this very effectively. Doumenge (1998: 341) narrates an interesting case, drawn from the Caribbean: “[On] the small island of St Barthelemy, the airport has a very small airstrip, accessible only to small planes having not more than twenty seats (including that of the pilot); this drastically limits tourist access, and offers an efficient means of control.” Another example is drawn from the island called Martha’s Vineyard, Massachussetts, USA: “High prices keep Martha’s Vineyard exclusive, although other tourists can come to observe the celebrities on day trips, their numbers

being controlled by a ferry boat licensing system. About 100,000 people are on the island [of whom 10,000 residents] at any one time in the summer” (Royle, 2001: 196). c. Do not compete on sun, sand and sea:

When islands compete as any other sun, sand and sea destination, they lose out on their distinctive characteristics. They become effectively placeless, just another ‘paradise’ destination on the tourist brochure. One should exploit and showcase the charm, history and culture which makes every island unique. This diversity management strategy -geared towards ‘ecotourism’ - will tend to attract less but ‘better’ tourists, with a ‘hostguest’ encounter more likely to be synergetic than standardising (Baldacchino, 1997). Moreover, this recipe provides hope for the development of a viable tourism product in ‘cold water’ islands. d. Involve the local community. Mass tourism

is hard put to offer its clients a taste of local culture. Very often this amounts to “staged authenticity” (McCannell, 1973): cultural programmes often invented specifically to serve and amuse the tourist, and with no resonance whatsoever with the local population. Like the eponymous tourist souvenirs which have been manufactured elsewhere, and which therefore must be imported. Rather, one should involve local artists, local farmers and local service providers, improving the lot of the locals, while assuring a better host-guest interaction. Locals are also meant to include what is alas too frequently a silent or invisible majority: women. This strategy nurtures all round ownership of tourism, and an appreciation that its benefits are widely and indigenously shared, rather than siphoned off to the few and foreign. The latter leads easily to resentment, recoil or outright hostility (Pearce, 1987). What kind of sustainable island tourism is that which warns its tourists not to depart from the relative security of the hotel precinct? Again, it is islands, bearing high rates of tourism penetration, which have served as sites for the development of the aptly-named ‘irritation index’ (Doxey, 1976; Mathieson & Wall, 1992: 137-8; McElroy & De Albuquerque, 1994: 14).

Conclusion It is ironic that it has been the tourism industry which has obliged many small island territories to start recognising that their natural environment is a key resource which cannot be allowed to deteriorate. Both guests and hosts can participate in the campaign to economise on waste generation, choose sustainable products, keep the place clean, re-use or recycle specific products and finally to dispose of inevitable waste in the proper way. The campaign should be a way of life; islanders should takle pride in being custodians of their environment, even if they do it for the sake of foreigners!

For all of history, and for as long as a trace of it remains on the face of the earth, our generation is likely to be remembered as the one that has made the most spectacular technological progress and yet caused the most harm to the planet. With their status as platforms of extreme renditions of the human condition, islands bear the most dramatic trace of such a state of affairs. They also act as the proverbial miner’s canary, providing early warning signals of environmental problems which require urgent attention and which are not typically restricted to islands (Baldacchino & Milne, 2000: 241). Small may be beautiful; but it is also vulnerable (Cropper, 1994).

Postscript: A Case for ‘Island Studies’ It would be a pity to end on a depressing note. It has already been argued that one characteristic of (especially small) islands is the manner in which the cause-effect relationship is typically quicker, deeper and visibly so. Such a phenomenon is in itself an invitation to consider the richness of the cause-effect relationship which is sadly often fragmented into separate disciplines and specialisms. The close inter-relationship between an island’s geography, ecology, demography and economics - to mention a few key issues - and the proneness of islands to all kinds of ‘externalities’ are, in themselves, a lesson in the importance of interand pluri-disciplinary strategies. Which is why ‘island studies’ - also known as ‘nissology’ (McCall, 1994) - today beckons as a field of study, research and inquiry per se. Islands need to be studied and evaluated on their own terms, preferably in comparison to other islands, and respectful of their ‘openness - closure’ alterity. For example, it remains bitterly ironic that, with close to 10% of the world’s population - over 550 million people - living on islands, INSULA remains the only international journal dedicated to island studies. Indeed, there is no other way except the holistic way to properly and humbly understand, and then hopefully adopt, sustainable development practices.



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The idea of putting aside areas to be maintained over time for the protection of nature or some of its components, such as wildlife, is in fact an old concept. In 1240, under the reign of Abou Zakaria, a member of the Hafside dynasty, a number of game reserves were created and protected in Lake Ichkeul, Tunis, which continued to be managed during the times of the Ottoman Empire in the Twentieth Century, and that today form part of Ichkeul National Park. The Greeks and Romans were, perhaps, the first to formally establish protected areas. In the Natural History, written by Caius Plinius Secundus, actions are described which were taken by the Roman Empire to control special areas with a view of preserving wildlife. Special The establishment of marine protected areas are receiving increased attention in a number of regions such as in the Caribbean as a mechanism to address the conservation of marine biodiversity from threats such as pollution and over exploitation of fisheries.

mention should be made of the hima system, drawn up under Islam as a legal framework with continues to rule the management of protected areas for the benefits of communities (Rosabal 2003). However it is correct to say that the protected areas1 movement in its modern form is associated to the establishment of the firsts National Parks in the United States of America, particularly Yosemite National Park, which origins go back to 1864, and Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 and considered as the “father” of many National Parks worldwide (Phillips 2002). The global network of protected areas has grown from over 1,000 protected areas in the 60’s to an impressive number of 102,102 sites in 2003, covering 18.8 million km² (IUCN and UNEP-WCMC, 2003) an area larger than that of India and China combined. This total area represents 11.5% of the global land surface but only includes 0,5% of the world’s oceans. This impressive growth reflects and increasing


political commitment to conserve the Earth’s remaining biological diversity but also the high social and cultural values that societies place on them.


IUCN, The World Conservation Union, adopted the following definition “Area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means” (IUCN, 1994). Pedro Rosabal is geographer and M.Sc on Environmental Planning and Management. He has over 22 years of experience on protected areas issues. His experience includes: evaluation of terrestrial and submarine landscapes; management of PAs; tourism and ecotourism; teaching and research, and; work with FAO and UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme. He joined the IUCN Programme on Protected Areas in 1994. His work in IUCN includes support to the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA); involvement in protected areas projects worldwide; strategic analysis, and; advice to a number of international conventions. He is at present Senior Programme Ofcer of IUCN. Email:


Another important issue was also evident during the Vth IUCN’s World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa, 8-17 September 2003: the increasing recognition of the many benefits provided by protected areas to society. The theme of the Congress “Benefits beyond Boundaries” focused the debate on the contribution of protected areas to people through the provision and maintenance of environmental goods and ecological services. As noted in the Durban Accord “…we see protected areas as a vital means to achieve the synergy between conservation, the maintenance of life support systems and sustainable development. We see protected areas as providers of benefits beyond boundaries –beyond their boundaries on a map, beyond the bound-

aries of nation-states, across societies, genders and generations” (IUCN 2003). Protected areas play an important role in biodiversity conservation, as recognised in article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), but also they contribute to the achievement of globally agreed goals, such as the targets agreed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals, particularly goal 7 on ensuring environmental sustainability. Protected areas are also a key component of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) that

Scuba diving is a major recreational activity in many island’s protected areas, being in some cases a key source of income for the economy. (Photo of Pedro Rosabal taken by José Martins in Fernando de Noronha Marine Park, Brazil).

The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, Bahamas, in replenishing fish stocks in waters around the park thus playing a crucial role to maintain sustainable fisheries. The Park also attracts a number of visitors, many of them willing to contribute to its conservation through donations.



have been prepared by almost all countries signatories of the CBD. Moreover the role of protected areas is particularly important when considered in the context of Islands as they have to respond to key challenges associated to islands ecosystems such as: (a) isolation; (b) high vulnerability to natural and human-induced disturbances; (c) dynamic environments; (d) high demand for limited available resources, mainly for land and water; (e) species diversity is generally low and species turnover may be high, making them vulnerable to accelerated extinctions; (f) normally they are rich in endemic species which increase their conservation values, and (g) high ratio of shoreline to total land area, particularly in small islands (Salm and Clark, 1984). Indeed islands ecosystems deserve particular attention in relation to conservation priorities. Just few facts: (a) from the 234 Centres of Plant Diversity and Endemism 19 (8% of the total) are located in Small Islands States (WWF and IUCN, 1997); (b) some islands have remarkable high percentage of endemism of vascular plants, such as the island of Saint Helena and the Hawaiian islands, each with 83.3% of endemism, quite remarkable considering that Australia has the highest percentage (95.4%) of endemism (WWF and IUCN, 1997); (c) from the top 50 countries with highest number of global threatened species of birds 7 (14%) are in Small Islands States, and some islands have high percentage of threatened species in relation to their total birds population, such as Pitcairn Islands (42%), French Polynesia (38%) and Cook Islands (26%) (Birdlife International, 2000); (d) from the total number (76) of Endemic Birds Areas of the World of critical priority for conservation, 22 (29%) are in islands (Stattersfield and Crosby 1998); (e) from the global 200 ecoregions more important for biodiversity conservation 22 (11%) are associated to islands (Olson and Dinerstein 1998), and; (e) coral reef ecosystems, one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth and the second after rainforests in species richness, are associated to islands, for example only the Insular Carib-

bean Region contains over 11% of the world’s reefs (Spalding et al 2000). Recognising the importance of protected areas national governments, NGOs and other stakeholders, have made great efforts in establishing them over the years. When looked at the evolution in the establishment of protected areas in Small Islands States over the past decade (see Table 1) it is extremely encouraging to see that the total number of protected areas have increased from 137 to the impressive number of 1037. The extension covered by those areas has increased 300% from that existing in 1993. This is an impressive achievement of Small Islands States and represents a strong commitment to conservation. It is also important to note the shifting in priorities in the establishment of different categories of protected areas. While in 1993 emphasis was given to the establishment of Nature Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks (according to 1978’s IUCN Categories for Protected Areas). Since then more attention has been giving in establishing Managed Resource Protected Areas (Category VI, IUCN 1994) which allows for the multiple use of natural resources within those areas. When considering that establishing and managing protected areas demand important financial and human resources the key question is whether or not is it worthy, particularly considering other pressing socioeconomic and development priorities faced by national governments. Some examples may help to address this key question.

Environmental education and awareness campaigns are delivered to people visiting many of the protected areas and other natural environments in the Bahamas.

In the Pacific Island of Samoa consultation with village’s council was essential to promote the establishment of small fish reserves to address the decline in catches of seafood from coastal areas.

Protected Areas and their Benefits to Islanders Humanity is facing one of the most important challenges of all times: how to deal with the socio-economic, cultural and environmental

Saltworks areas (Las Salinas) of Ibiza are of international importance for migratory birds and also used for environmental research, education and awareness programmes.

factors associated with global change? Expanding population, growing resource consumption, climate change and globalization are among the forces altering the context within which society develops. All these changes require adequate long-term responses that, in addition to priorities associated with economic development, poverty alleviation, health and education, placed additional burden on national governments. While for some people investments in protected areas can be seen as a “luxury” these investments are in fact of paramount importance if we acknowledge that our social, economic and ecological long-term well-being depends upon the continued ability of protected areas to deliver ecosystem goods and services for the benefit of people. There are a number of cases that can substantiate that investing in island’s protected areas would result in the delivery a variety of benefits, not only to islanders but also to the global community.


The protected areas existing in Ibiza and Formentera are also of crucial importance to maintain significant areas of Mediterranean forest.

Contributing to sustainable fisheries: Bahamas: The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (45,620 ha) was established in 1958 covering both the terrestrial and marine environments associated to these islands. The Park became a no-take fisheries reserve in 1986, the first of its kind in the Wider Caribbean region and one of the first’s nontake marine reserves worldwide. Research has shown that the concentration of conch in the park is 31 times greater than outside the park, providing several million conchs per year to areas outside the park available to be harvested by fishermen. Additionally, tagged grouper from the Exuma Park have been caught off of both north and south Long Island (Bahamas), indicating the Park is replenishing grouper stocks in areas as far as 150 miles away. Tagged spiny lobsters from the Exuma Park are found replenishing the marine environment of Cat Island, which is 70 miles away. The success of fisheries resource replenishment in the Exuma Park led the government to announce a policy decision in 2000 to protect 20% of the Bahamian marine ecosystem, doubling the size of the national protected areas system (WCPA News 2002). St Lucia: In 1992 the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (a communitybased NGO) the Department of Fisheries and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) initiated a participatory process to design a coastal zone system that could respond to increased –and often conflictingdemands on fisheries, tourism, and maritime



transportation. The zoning resulting from this initiative was the Soufriere Marine Management Area, formally established in 1995, which includes four marine reserves covering 35% of available fishing grounds. Research indicates that conservation these areas have increased by 46% for large fish traps and 90% for small fish traps in 5 years (Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage 2003). Samoa: In the Pacific Island of Samoa, like in many countries in the tropics, catches of seafood from coastal areas, lagoons and inshore reefs have been decreasing over the past 10 years. Reasons for this decline include over-exploitation, the use of destructive fishing methods (including explosives, chemicals and traditional plant-

derived poisons) and environmental disturbances. In order to address this problem the Samoan Fisheries Division initiated in 1995 a community-based extension project in 65 villages which recognised the village fono (council) as the prime responsible for actions. A large number of villages (38) choose to establish small Village Fish Reserves in part of their traditional fishing areas and decided to actively support and enforce government laws banning the use of explosives and chemicals for fishing. Some villages also set minimum size limits for capturing fishes. While many of the village reserves are small (ranging from 5,000 to 175,000 m²), their number and the small distance among them, forms a network of fish refuges. After several years of existence of this network of small Fish Reserves the fisheries stocks have increased in 30 to 40% and there are signs of recovery in reefs previously affected by destructive fishing methods. As the Fish Reserves are being managed by communities which have direct interest in their success, prospects for longterm sustainability of this initiative are high (King and Faasili 1998). Supporting recreation and tourism: Virgin Islands: The Virgin Islands National Park experiences and average of 650,000 recreational visits per year with approximately 70 commercial businesses providing daily excursions, mainly to cruise ship passengers,

Atoll das Rocas it is also an important site for the conservation of the marine environment in the South Atlantic and it constitutes a source for replenishment of fish stocks in the waters surrounding it.

to key areas within the park. Tourism visits for the entire U.S. Virgin Islands increased from 470,300 in 1991 to 592,000 (close to 26%) in 2001. The financial revenue associated to the recreational use of the park is one of the most important sources of income for the population of the islands and also contributes financially to the conservation and management of the park (WCPA-Caribbean 2003). On-going research of the state of conservation and dynamics of the Posidenia prairies in Ibiza and Formentera, Spain, has been fundamental to explain the importance of this ecosystem to ensure the long-term sustainability of traditional fisheries and to maintain coastal dynamics. TABLE 1 - Comparison of Protected Area Coverage for Small Islands States for the last decade Country

Antigua & Barbuda Bahamas Barbados Belize Cape Verde Comoros Cook Islands (New Zealand) Cuba Cyprus Dominica Fiji Fed. States of Micronesia Grenada Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Jamaica Kiribati Maldives Malta Marshall Islands Mauritius Nauru Niue (New Zealand) Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa (Western) Singapore Seychelles Sao Tome and Principe Solomon Islands St. Kitts and Nevis St. Lucia St. Vincent & the Grenadines Suriname Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tuvalu Vanuatu Total:


1993 Extension

of Pas


2 10 0 14 0 0 1 53 4 1 5 0 0 0 1 3 1 3 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 5 3 1 3 0 0 1 1 2 13 0 6 0 0

6.128 124.364 0 323.121 0 0 160 892.757 75.337 6.872 18.922 0 0 0 58.559 9.700 1.520 26.630 0 0 0 4.023 0 0 1.200 82.016 10.072 2.796 37.893 0 0 2.610 1.494 8.284 735.970 0 15.728 0 0



2003 Categories

I 1

II 2 4










13 38 6 84 51 1 5 69 13 7 36 2 2 6 3 9 168 11 25 114 0 26 0 1 14 64 14 7 21 0 3 2 49 28 15 10 86 1 33

6.628 145.838 270 1.242.118 1.415 40.400

6.331 0 16.158 0 5.400 1.459 1.083.845 25.522 4.029 45.228 0 9.860 2.625 9.861 8.284 1.981.220 3.727 32.243 3.300 18.265

21 1.037


5 7

1 15 3

9 1 1



1 2 1





1 3 1 1

2 2 1


1 1 2 11

2 1







3.317.550 78.849 20.395 29.589




1 1 3

II 5 10 1 23


1 3

IV 3 27 3 28

V 3

VI None 2



6 51

1 12


1 2 1



1 20 6

3 12


6 3 1


728 486.000 7.354 994.728 58.841

3 3

1 2 2 1 4 5






4 3 2 3 7


2 1





21 2 1 6

1 1 6


6 2 137









0 2 5 2

2 1 1


29 25 10 5 14




1 25 1 25


1 1

1 1 24 2 8

7 35 4 1 1



17 3 3 1 1 1 1


27 235



2 61

Note: The preparation of the UN List of Protected Areas in 1993 only considered areas under Categories I to V of the 1978’s IUCN Management Categories System, but the 2003 UN List of Protected Areas consider all Categories I to VI of the 1994’s IUCN Management Categories System. Areas under “None” refers to small protected areas which categorization do not correspond to any of thze IUCN Management Categories, most of them are community-owned areas. (Table prepared by Virginia Tschopp, Programme Assistant, IUCN Protected Areas Programme) Sources: 1993 UN List of Protected Areas (UNEP, WCMC and IUCN, 1994) and 2003 UN List of Protected Areas (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN, 2003)


In Cuba a number of micro-reserves have been established to protect endemic species of flora, such as in Hatibonico, south-eastern coast of Cuba, well known for its richness in endemic species of cactuses.

Bonaire: The Bonaire Marine Park (2,700 ha) was created in 1979 covering all reef areas around the island. While the resident population of the island is less than 15,000 inhabitants, almost 17,000 to 20,000 scuba divers visited the park every year, thus representing the main economic activity of the island. Total gross revenue through dive-based tourism was estimated at $US 23.2 million in 1991. The government also generated an additional $340,000 through taxes levied on visiting divers. The cost associated with the establishment of the park ($US 518,000) and the recurrent cost associated to its management ($US 150,000) was more than covered by visitor fees. The park also generates employment to over 1,000 people. By 1994 the number of divers increased to 24,081 and the total annual visitation was of about 70,000 (Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage 2003).

Lobsters, an important commercial specie throughout the Caribbean, also benefits from the protection offered by the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park to the marine environment.



Merrit Island National Wildlife Refugee: Located at Cape Cañaveral, Florida, USA, contains two areas, with a total extension of 4,000 ha, that have been closed to fishing since 1962. Before these areas were closed, there was intensive commercial and recreational fishing and fish stocks were heavily depleted. The value of this reserve for the adjacent recreational fishery has been assessed by the number of record-size (‘trophy’) fish caught by recreational fishers. The area enclosing 100 km to the north and south of the reserve was found to provide 62% of record-size black drum, 54% of red drum and 50% of spotted sea trout. Fish tagging studies show that these species move out of the reserve and into the surrounding waters benefiting the adjacent recreational fishery (Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage 2003). Maintaining biodiversity at different levels: The Ngerukewid Islands Wildlife Preserve of Palau: Created in 1956 this wildlife preserve of 1,200 ha protects a representative sample of the limestone islands and lagoon ecosystems of the larger Rock Islands of Palau, which boast exceptional levels of marine biodiversity. Biodiversity surveys carried out in the Preserve show that contains 200 to 300 fish species, or 15-20% of the approximately 1,400 species reported for Palau’s waters. It also protects 22% of all the species of hard coral reported in Palau. The pristine conditions of the islands due to almost half a century of protection, combined to the relative lack of introduced species such as rats, make this area a unique natural laboratory to study the terrestrial and marine biodiversity and ecological processes occurring in the Pacific, thus constituting an important baseline area for biodiversity research and for assessing the impacts of climate change to Pacific islands ecosystems (Idechong and Graham 1998). Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park and Atoll das Rocas Biological Reserve: There are less than 10 oceanic islands in the South Atlantic and these two areas combined represents more than 50% of the South Atlantic Ocean’s islands in terms of terrestrial surface, thus constituting an

important repository for the maintenance of biodiversity in the South Atlantic basin. The vegetation of Fernando de Noronha is classified as Insular Atlantic Forest, a sub-type of Atlantic Rainforest, considered the world’s most threatened tropical forest (Conservation International 1995). F. de Noronha is also considered a Global Centre of Bird Endemism (Birdlife International 1998). Approximately 150,000 birds utilize Atoll das Rocas, including the largest South Atlantic colonies of sooty terns, brown noddies and masked boobies. Based on the diversity and number of individuals, Atoll das Rocas is considered the single most important site for tropical seabirds in the whole Atlantic (Stattersfield and Crosby 1998). There is a clear connection between these sites in relation to biological and ecological processes. They are clearly linked in a marine ecological corridor on which a number of species such as marine turtles, dolphins, and sharks survival depends. In the case of marine turtles research indicates that both sites are important feeding grounds for juvenile hawksbill and loggerhead sea turtles during their migration to the Eastern Atlantic Coast of Africa (Sanches and Bellini 1998). In recognition of the outstanding universal values of these Brazilian sites for global biodiversity conservation they were inscribed in 2001 in the List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention (Rosabal 2001). System of Micro-Reserves of Cuba: One of the key contributions from islands to the theory and practice of conservation is related to the importance of considering the appropriate “scale” to plan and manage protected areas. While it is true that larger areas can enhance the effectiveness of conserving species and ecosystems, this is extremely difficult to achieve in islands where land is a precious resource for social and economic development. Besides, many species living in islands ecosystems are endemics or restricted-range species. A number of islands states have adopted the “micro-reserve” approach by which small sites –ranging from 10 to little over 1,000 haare dedicated to conservation of these species. Such is the case of Cuba, an archipelago characterized by a complex geological structure, which have influence the high level

of endemism of its flora (49.6%). Since the beginning of the 60’s close to 100 microreserves have been established in Cuba for protects its rich flora and some restrictedrange species of fauna. These small areas have contributed to the in-situ conservation of these species which is often combined, particularly for plant species, with ex-situ conservation programmes. Most of these reserves are managed by local governments, universities, and provincial botanical gardens and they have been used for environmental education and awareness programmes, thus providing cultural benefits for the communities living around them and particularly for children and the youth. Promoting participation, partnerships and awareness: Negril: In this area, located in the Western Coast of Jamaica, local concern about rapid and unplanned tourism development resulted in the establishment of local environmental NGOs, formed by key local communities representatives and other stakeholders, with worked together to establish a Marine Park. It soon became clear, however, that the park by itself could not maintain Negril’s marine resources unless the land-based impacts upon them could be controlled. This led to local advocacy for a protected area comprising the entire Negril watershed and coastal zone, resulting in the Negril Environmental Protection Area in 1997 (equivalent Category VI, IUCN). While management of the area is implemented by a range of government agencies, activities such as research, monitoring, and environmental education, are under the responsibility of the Negril Environmental Education Trust, a consortium of local and national government agencies, local community associations and NGOs. The Trust have been very successful in raising awareness of local communities on key environmental issues facing Negril and in mobilizing actions by tour operators and other local partners, to support the management of the Marine Park (Geoghegan and Renard 2002). Misali: This is one of the two main islands that make up Zanzibar, in the United Republic of Tanzania. The Misali Island Marine Conservation Area, which an exten-

sion of 2,200ha, was established in 1998. This Conservation Area protects some of the finest coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. At the time of its establishment the area’s natural resources were threatened by overfishing and unplanned tourism development. Promoting with local communities the idea of establishing a protected area using “conventional” conservation arguments was not well understood and did not receipt the support required. However the strategy was soon changed to promote the protected area based on the customary Shariah (Islamic Law) as a means for nature conservation and sustainable development. This received immediate attention and support by the overwhelmingly Muslim population living in the island. Under the Shariah the protected areas was designated as a hima (an area strictly protected equivalent to IUCN Category I). As a result the Marine Conservation Area received the support of local communities that, since its creation, have been actively involved in its conservation and management. This approach not only provided direct benefits to the local communities through increased fishing catch and the development of ecotourism operations, but also contributed to expand the teaching of the Islamic approach to conservation in schools and mosques helping to create further environmental awareness on the values –ethical, ecological and economic- of protected areas (Chernela, Ahmad et al 2002). Ibiza and Formentera: There is a combination of terrestrial and marine protected areas in these islands, which form part of the Balearic Islands, Spain. The terrestrial component mainly includes the coastal lagoons and saltworks areas (Las Salinas) of Ibiza and Formentera which were included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in 1993 in recognition of their importance for migratory birds. The marine component includes the open sea between these islands and it is characterized by the presence of dense and very well preserved prairies of oceanic Posidonia (seagrass) and coral reefs. While both islands and particularly Ibiza are well known as an important tourist destination in Spain, their natural values, for which

they were included in the List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention in 1999, are less understood. In order to address this challenge a number of environmental education and interpretation projects are under implementation supported by national and local governments and a coalition of institutions including the University of Madrid, the University of Valencia and the Ecological Group of the Balearic Islands. These projects also include

Ecotourism is receiving increased attention as an important source of income for local and national economies in island states, such as in the Dominican Republic, where it is one of the main activities occurring in Los Haitises National park.

Research on marine turtles undertaken by the TAMAR project in Fernando de Noronha has shown the importance of this area as feeding grounds for juvenile hawksbill and loggerhead sea turtles during their migration to the Eastern Atlantic Coast of Africa.

Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park in Brazil it is not only protecting areas of high biodiversity values but also important cultural and archeological sites.


Atoll das Rocas Biological Reserve in Brazil is considered the single most important site for tropical seabirds in the whole Atlantic.

on-going biological monitoring and research, which have been fundamental to demonstrate the benefits of protecting the prairies of oceanic Posidonia to maintain the exceptional conditions of transparency and unpolluted waters that attract many visitors and divers. The Posidonia prairies are also crucial to maintain the quality of the beaches while offering coastal protection from storms. Results from research are also systematically

communicated to local people, particularly to fishermen groups and diving operators, who recognize the importance of protecting these areas to ensure the long-term sustainability of traditional fisheries and tourism activities (Rosabal 1999).


KING, M., and FAASILI, U., 1998. A Network of Small Community-Owned Village Fish Reserves in Samoa. PARKS Magazine, vol. 8, n.2, June 1998, p. 11-16. OLSON, DM., and DINERSTEIN, E. 1998. The Global 200: A Representation Approach to Conserving the Earth’s Most Biologically Valuable Ecoregions. The Journal of the Society of Conservation Biology. vol.12, n. 3, p. 502-515. PHILLIPS, A. 2002. Turning ideas on their head: The New Paradigm for Protected Areas. IUCN, Switzerland. ROSABAL, P. 1999. Ibiza: Biodiversity and Culture. IUCN Evaluations of Natural and Mixed Properties to the World Heritage List. IUCN, Switzerland, p. 182-190. ROSABAL, P. 2001. Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and Atoll das Rocas Tropical Insular Complex. IUCN Evaluations of Natural and Mixed Properties to the World Heritage List. IUCN, Switzerland, p. 127-140. ROSABAL,P. 2003. Reflections about the contributions made by the Mediterranean region to the fifth World Parks Congress. Protected Areas in the Mediterranean Basin. Junta de Andalucía, Spain, p. 167-176. SALM, RV. and CLARK, JR. 1984. Marine and Coastal Protected Areas: A Guide for Planners and Managers. IUCN, Switzerland, p. 169-179. SANCHES, TM and BELLINI, C. 1998. Juvenile Eretmochelys imbricate and Chelonia mydas in the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. Chelonian Conservation Biology, vol.3, n.2, p. 308-311. STATTERSFIELD, AJ., CROSBY, MJ., et al. 1998. Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. Birdlife Conservation Series, No. 7, Birdlife International, Cambridge, UK, p. 27-43.

Australian Department of Environment and Heritage. 2003. The Benefits of Marine Protected Areas. Australia, p. 8-14. BirdLife International. 2000. Threatened Birds of the World, Lynx Editions and BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK, p. 1-29. Conservation International. 1995. A Regional Analysis of Geographic Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean, Washington, DC, USA, p 5-23. CHERNALA, J., AHMAD, L., et al. 2002. Innovative Governance of Fisheries and Ecotourism. PARKS Magazine, vol. 12, n.2, June 2002, p. 28-36. CHAPE, S., BLYTH, S., FISH, L., FOX, P., and SPALDING, M (compilers). 2003. United Nations List of Protected Areas. IUCN and UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK. GEOGHEGAN, T., and RENARD, Y. 2002. Beyond Community Involvement: lessons from the Insular Caribbean. PARKS Magazine, vol. 12, n.2, June 2002, p. 16-22. IUCN. 1994. Guidelines for Protected Area Management Categories. CNPPA and WCMC. Cambridge, UK, p. 5-10. IDECHONG, NT., GRAHAM, T. 1998. The Ngerukewid Islands of Palau: 40 years of managing a marine protected area. . PARKS Magazine, vol. 8, n.2, June 1998, p. 17-22. IUCN. 2002. Bahamas doubles national parks system. IUCN-WCPA Newsletter, n. 88, issue 3, July 2002, p. 9-11. IUCN. 2003. The Durban Accord. IUCN, Switzerland, p. 1-4.



Final remarks By no means has this article intended to summarize all benefits derived from protected

areas to people and society in general. As mentioned above this was the theme of the Vth World Parks Congress where a wealth of experiences were presented, ranging from the contribution of mountain protected areas to maintain hydrological regimes and water quality, to the role of protected areas in climate change mitigation strategies (key outputs from the Congress are already posted at; the full proceedings would be available at this site by end of December 2003). However, the examples presented in this article, help to acknowledge and understand the key role of protected areas in contributing to the well-being of islanders. Understanding this role is particularly important in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity as the key international instrument to ensure continue provision of ecosystems services by ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The author also wanted to highlight what is not so often obvious: that small things can make big differences. Thus, island’s protected areas, while smalls, are making a huge contribution not only to islanders but to the global community as well.

SPALDING, M., et al. 2000. Atlas of Coral Reefs of the World. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK, p. 1-30. UNEP and IUCN. 1994. United Nations List of National Parks and Protected Areas. WCMC and CNPPA, Cambridge, UK. UNEP/CBD. 2003. Protected Areas: Proposed Programme of Work of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Montreal. WWF and IUCN. 1997. Centres of Plant Diversity: A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation. IUCN, Cambridge, UK. WCPA-Caribbean. 2003. Insular Caribbean Report to the World Parks Congress. CNAP, Environmental Defense, WWF, UNDP, UNEP and IUCN. Havana, Cuba, p. 9-18.

Protected Areas are also essential to maintain remnants of natural ecosystems almost in pristine conditions such as those preserved in Desembarco del Granma National Park and World Heritage site in Cuba.


In many island settings in the world, ecosystems are under threat as a result of human activity, but natural disasters are likely to amplify this trend in years to come. The loss of species and the destruction of habitats and ecosystems are undermining the resilience of islands and their ability to withstand or to recover from severe disturbances.2 Island states are vulnerable to almost all types of natural, technological and humanrelated hazards. 3 The most common and most widely experienced events are tropical

cyclones and accompanying storm surges, floods and landslides; a hazard, for example a tropical cyclone can sometimes trigger other hazards such as coastal and riverine floods. Many small island states have grown more vulnerable to disasters because of environmental degradation caused by, among others, poor land use, deforestation, pollution from mining, rapid population growth. In those island states where agriculture plays a dominant role, indiscriminate burning, deforestation and unsustainable cropping

Figure 1. Effects of environmental degradation and disaster risk ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

Degradation of resource base

Alteration of natural processes

• Increased impacts of natural disaster

• Global environmental change

• Less ability to absorb impacts • Decreased resilience

• Changes in hazard patterns



coping practice Desertification Less acces to livelihoods

Deforestation Sea level rise Coastal areas degradation Regresion of glaciers

Rapid urbanization

Biodiversity loss Siltation

Extreme weather eventes Wind storms Floods Wild fires


This paper was prepared with inputs from the ISDR Secretariat 3 ISDR defines a hazard as a potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon and/or human activity, which may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation. 4 Climate variability and change and sea-level rise in the Pacific Island Region. A resource book for policy and decision makers, educators and other stakeholders (SPREP). 5 Ibid. 1 2

patterns can enhance the effects of natural disasters such as cyclone or droughts. Population growth, social change and economic transformation will place island communities under further pressure and make them more vulnerable to disasters.4 The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) consider that the phenomena consistent with the anticipated adverse consequences of climate change are already an unfortunate reality for Pacific Islanders. This is reflected in extensive coastal erosion, coral bleaching, persistent alterations of regional weather patterns, decreased productivity in fisheries and agriculture, and plantations are suffering increased erosion. On those islands that have not experienced inappropriate coastal development, recent devastating droughts have hit export crops, causing serious water shortages and more widespread and frequent occurrence of mosquito-borne diseases. 5



Loss of traditional


Sálvano Briceño , Venezuelan and a lawyer by training is, since 25 June 2001, the Director of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) based in Geneva. Formerly, he was the Coordinator of the BIOTRADE and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Initiatives at UNCTAD Geneva, and has been involved since 1978 in senior management positions at the Ministry of Environment in Venezuela, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and since 1986, at the United Nations. He was the rst Coordinator of UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme, based in Jamaica for 5 years, followed by 8 years in Geneva with the Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) and the Desertication Secretariat (UNCCD). His professional career has focused on public policy and management of international programmes in various elds of sustainable development.


More than half of the 25 disaster prone islands in the world are classified as small island developing states (SIDS); as many of them are still subsistence based, this means that many island populations are dependant on local biological and other natural resources for survival. The importance of biological diversity has long been recognized in certain island settings, not simply because many islanders are dependant on local biological and other natural resources for survival but because biodiversity conservation is also a social and cultural issue. Fiji, for example, has a Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and has valued its ecosystem services at about USD 550 million per year. Average economic losses from extreme weather events over the 1990s were six times greater than in the 1960s. 6 Small island developing nations (SIDS) pay a particular high price, mainly because many SIDS are vulnerable to natural hazards. The disastrous social and economic impacts due to Hurricanes Georges and Mitch, as well as the effects of the climate variability due to the 1997/98 El Niño/La Niña events, have highlighted that a single hazardous event can destroy social and economic infrastructures that have taken years to develop and upon whose vitality local and national economies depend. Extreme climate events can –and do– set back the development process for decades. However, while much attention is focused on global warming causing gradual, longterm changes in average conditions, the most immediate and more significant impacts are likely to arise from changes in the nature of extreme events (e.g. flooding, tropical cyclones, storm surges) and climate variability (eg droughts and El Niño). The possibility of more extreme events such as tropical cyclones and storm surges coupled with projected rates of sea-level rise and flooding will increase

now accepted that a close correlation exists between increased demographic pressure, especially in developing countries, growing environmental degradation (and accompanying destruction of biodiversity), increased human vulnerability and the intensity of the impact of disasters.8

International support for disaster reduction in SIDS pressures on island ecosystems, as well as on critical infrastructures (e.g. port facilities, airports, roads), and vital utilities such as power and water, coastal protection structures and tourism facilities.

Disasters as a manifestation of unsustainability The traditional resilience of island communities to natural disasters is under threat from unsustainable practices and various economic and social pressures. The quick recovery of ecosystems can no longer be assured: poor farming and logging practices are creating massive erosion during storms; overharvesting of coastal fish and invertebrates remove important sources of nutrients from coral reefs and sewage from urban areas have destabilised near-shore coral communities making these vital ecosystems less able to withstand and recover from the waves and rain of hurricanes.7 Disaster risk professionals now consider that the vulnerability of societies to the existing level of hazards is increasing and that many countries are accumulating large latent risk burdens such as growing populations in hazardous locations, and the stripping of environmental capacities to withstand hazards. The escalation of severe disaster events triggered by natural hazards and related technological and environmental disasters is increasingly threatening both sustainable development and poverty reduction initiatives. It is

2003 Geo Risk Research Dept., Munich Re., January 2003. ESCAP Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, August 2000, Japan. 8 ISDR: Disaster Reduction and Sustainable Development: Understanding the links between vulnerability and risk to disasters related to development and environment. A background paper prepared for the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August - September 2002. 6 7



The combination of current and anticipated impacts of climate variability and climate change are of great and urgent concern to SIDS. This concern has been aired in numerous international fora over the past decade or longer. The Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action (1994), held mid-way through the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), declared that priority attention needed to be given to developing countries, in particular the least developed, landlocked states and small island developing states. In the same year, the Barbados Declaration (1994) which resulted from the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island States also drew attention to the fact that: “Small island states are particularly vulnerable to natural as well as environmental disasters and have limited capacity to respond to and recover from such disasters.” In 2002, the WSSD Plan of Implementation, in its chapter on “sustainable development of small island developing states”, calls on the international community to extend assistance to SIDS in support of local communities and develop appropriate national and regional organizations of SIDS for comprehensive hazard and risk management, disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness and help relieve the consequences of disasters and extreme weather events. In 2004, the Barbados Plan of Action +10 (BpoA+10) will provide substantive justification for renewing and elevating political commitment towards disaster reduction and motivate further action of governments and communities through an expanded programme for the period covering 2005-2015 to coincide with the targets of the Millenium Development Goals and the Commission for Sustainable Development.

Disaster risk reduction

Commitment of SIDS to disaster reduction Many island states throughout the world have, in varying degrees, taken steps in recent years to address the challenges posed by natural disasters and climate change. In many settings, the management of disasters is now widely recognized as an issue of national concern, although it is equally understood that strengthening regional linkages and fostering a sense of common purpose improves overall disaster and risk management capabilities. The similarity of hazards that Pacific SIDS face, the shared problems they experience and a generally common approach adopted in their institutional arrangements all provide a fruitful basis for regional cooperation. The current strategy for improving Pacific regional collaboration rests on two primary objectives: to support a highly functional coordinating body, the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission Disaster Management Unit (SOPAC-DMU), established in July 2000, and strengthen the capacity of national risk officials to accomplish effective disaster management programmes domestically. SOPAC countries have integrated a set of principles, the Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM), into their national development plans. These principles envisage that changes are needed to: accomplish a paradigm shift from managing disasters to managing risks; produce

more adequate hazard and vulnerability assessments and improve presentation; ensure uniform and consistent approaches to common problems; ensure national integration and coordination; and enhance current land use systems and tenure. One of the pioneering endeavours to safeguard and develop a strong regional capability for the coordination of information exchange, training and technical assistance in support of national biodiversity conservation efforts in the Caribbean has been UNEP’s Regional Programme for Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) in the Wider Caribbean. This programme has made it possible to improve the management of national protected areas and species in the region, including the development of biosphere reserves and develop specific regional, as well as national management plans developed for endangered, threatened or vulnerable species. In the Caribbean, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), set up by the Caribbean Community in 1991, has worked to create an expanding infrastructure for a methodical approach for developing disaster management programmes among member states, including multi-island projects. The idea of disaster reduction has been introduced in most regional initiatives at policy level, including the Programme of Action for Small Island States, and the programmes of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

Disaster risk reduction or disaster risk management focuses on the areas known to be critical to risk amelioration, which can be grouped into three key areas: (i) assessment of the risk factors present; (ii) tools and practices to reduce the risks; and (iii) institutional mechanisms to support both risk assessment and risk reduction. Risk assessment concerns the identification and analysis of hazards (natural and otherwise), and the analysis of the environmental changes and degradation and the socioeconomic vulnerabilities that exacerbate risk. The information produced by risk assessment or analysis allows for the determination of government policy in different sectors (finance, agriculture, education, and infrastructural development). Risk reduction measures are most successful when they involve the direct participation of the people most likely to be exposed to hazards. Risk assessment in Fiji Risk assessment in Fiji consists of detailed hazard and vulnerability assessments, integrating the scientific, geological and meteorological information with information on the built environment (building stock, infrastructure, critical facilities and lifelines). The results and inputs have had major implications in many practical applications for disaster management, such as in helping to formulate building codes and to train emergency services personnel.

The Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World (1994) describes risk assessment as a: “required step for the adoption of adequate and successful disaster reduction policies and measures.� Risk assessment is undertaken to review and assess the intensity and extent of hazards and to evaluate the relative degree of risk. It also includes detailed quantitative and qualitative understanding of risk, its physical, social, economic, and environmental factors and consequences. We need to know about the risks we face in order to be able to determine what policies and counter measures to implement. However, risk awareness varies among individuals, communities, agencies and governments, according to their particular perceptions. These can be influenced by the knowledge of hazards and vulnerabilities, as well as


by the availability of accurate and timely information about them. The information on hazard risks should be shared – and acted upon – at three levels: Local communities should have sufficient familiarity with the hazards they are exposed to and an understanding of advisory information they may receive in an emergency in order to act in a manner to advice, instruct or engage the population in a manner that increases their safety or reduces the possible loss of resources on which the community depends. National governments should prepare and issue hazard warnings for their national territory in a timely and effective manner to ensure that warnings and related protective guidance are directed to those populations determined to me most vulnerable to the hazard risk. Regional institutions should provide specialized knowledge, advice or benefit of experience in support of national efforts to develop or to sustain operational capabilities related to hazard risks experienced by countries sharing a common geographical environment. Institutional mechanisms are essential for effective disaster risk reduction. Risk assessment and risk reduction practices need to be strongly supported by sound administration, law and political processes. This includes the following aspects, arranged in order from more tangible to less tangible items: organizational structures (departments, consultative bodies, etc) and professional staff resources; incorporation of risk reduction into existing and new legislation; implementation

of laws via codes, standards, documents, workshops, accountability, enforcement and evaluation; integration across sectors and government departments; and political recognition and financial commitment.

Activities associated with disaster risk reduction Disaster risk management spans a wide range of methods and activities – assessment and analysis, mapping and data analysis, public information, community participation, early warning systems, policy and regulation, project impact assessment, education programs, conservation practices, and political processes. While there are general approaches to risk reduction, the specific approaches must be tailored to local circumstances. Typically, the risk reduction activities will not be done as stand-alone projects, but will be implemented as integral components of other programmes, such as in specific development projects, water resources management, planning and land-use policies, environmental protection, and community development. Many countries and regions have begun to adopt a more proactive approach on disaster reduction of disaster preparedness and mitigation in place of the former emphasis of postdisaster relief and rebuilding. Many of these initiatives are provided in the global review of disaster risk reduction initiatives, Living with Risk (ISDR, 2003), which contains a rich resource of information with examples

of effective risk reduction activities reported from countries around the world.

Environmental management The environment and disasters are inherently linked. Environmental degradation affects natural processes, alters humanity’s resource base and increases vulnerability. Likewise, it exacerbates the impact of natural disasters, lessens overall resilience and challenges traditional coping strategies. It is now well know that practices that protect the integrity of nature and ensure a wise use of natural resources provide solutions to reduce vulnerability from which both the environmental and disaster communities will benefit. Environmental management can become a cost-effective tool for disaster reduction while serving many other objectives including conservation of biodiversity, mitigation of adverse global environmental changes and poverty alleviation. The use of environmental management and knowledge needs to be promoted as a strategy for reducing risks. Environmental actions that reduce vulnerability need to be identified and applied by disaster reduction practitioners. Integrating environmental management within existing disaster reduction policy frameworks and international strategies will build a safer world. At present, environmental management tools do not systematically integrate trends in hazards occurrence and vulnerability. Similarly, disaster reduction practitioners do not systematically explore the advantages of using environmental management tools and approaches. Some benefit might be drawn from the fact that environmental tools were developed from a risk management approach. Indeed environmental and social impact assessment processes are geared towards risk identification to address them in the design of plans and projects.

Early warning systems Early warning systems have an important role to play in protecting the interests of societies and communities. Political support is crucial to ensure the technical and social relevance, usefulness and efficiency of early warning strategies. As a key element of any disaster reduction strategy, early warning must be integrated into sustainable development



policies. We need to broaden the historical focus of early warning to incorporate lesserexplored issues linked to longer-term hazards and phenomena such as climate change and El Niño and La Niña phenomena. Early warning measures in SIDS Mauritius offers an interesting example of the high priority given by an island nation to early warning of cyclones. Its warning system is built into legislation and legitimized by its links to the Prime Minister’s office. The Mauritius Meteorological Office is also part of the Prime Minister’s Office. The Central Cyclone Committee, a communicationoriented central government by provides leadership to ensure the effectiveness of the warning system. This endorsement from the highest political authority is a particularly strong and commendable feature of its disaster planning from which others elsewhere can learn. Lives and property can be saved by timely forecasts and issuance of warnings. When Hurricane Michelle, the strongest hurricane in 50 years, made landfall in Cuba in November 2001, reaching wind speeds of 220 km/h (category 4 SaffirSimpson scale), early warnings made it possible to evacuate 700,000 people and roughly the same number of livestock. The resulting loss of life was very low considering the force of the hurricane. Wherever possible, farmers on the island also sought to protect important sources of revenue such as their banana plantations by wrapping the trees with burlap.

Information management and innovative communication practices play key roles in disaster risk management. Most countries with effective national risk management authorities are committed to increasing public awareness about hazards and disaster reduction practices. Only by providing evidence of the benefits of reducing vulnerability to hazards can future investment and priorities in this area be sustained. Sustaining public interest in times of calm is one of the key disaster risk management roles that public awareness can play. It is in the time between disasters that public awareness activities can be accomplished if future losses are to be avoided. In this respect, a valuable step that can be taken is to ensure the timely and widespread circulation of lessons learned from disasters and activities that can reduce risks in the future. 9

Disaster reduction practices and climate change Disaster reduction practices will be challenged by climate change, especially in SIDS. However SIDS can provide the international momentum, given their vulnerability both to extreme events and the impacts of climate change in order to bridge the gap between the disaster reduction and climate change communities. ISDR is currently working to solidify the links and bridge the gaps between climate change and disaster reduction activities through enhanced exchange of information, coordinate policy actions and building of partnerships, and implement activities serving common interests. The ultimate aim of these outreach activities is to promote the use of disaster risk reduction as a readily implemented component of climate change adaptation strategies. This includes the strategies of major donors as well as those associated with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as the National Adaptation Plans of Action (UNFCCC, 2002). At present only a few of the National Communications prepared under the Convention processes have any significant mention of disaster risk reduction activities. The ISDR Secretariat is advising on potential risk reduction elements to be included in a manual being prepared by the UNFCCC Secretariat to guide the preparation of national communications of Non-Annex 1 countries.9

ISDR is convinced that resorting to disaster reduction tools and instruments to reduce vulnerability to today’s climate variability and hazards is an opportunity for a no-regrets adaptation approach to climate change that will also address extreme events. Learning to deal with climate variability and extremes is an excellent way of building adaptive capacity in the long run. In short, weatherrelated natural hazards and climate change can no longer be treated separately in international policy and funding. Steps are being taken to promote the involvement of disaster risk reduction experts in the next IPCC assessment process, which will be completed in 2007. Work is also continuing under the ISDR on technical matters, such as the development of better databases on hazards, risks, vulnerabilities and disasters.

What ISDR has to offer The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) is the focal point in the UN System to promote links and synergies between, and the coordination of, disaster reduction activities in the socioeconomic, humanitarian and development fields, as well as to support policy integration. It serves as an international information clearinghouse on disaster reduction, developing awareness campaigns and producing articles, journals, and other publications and promotional materials related to disaster reduction.

ISDR: Linking natural disaster reduction and adaptation to climate change: towards the integration of information, knowledge and policies. April 2003.


Recognizing that natural hazards can threaten any one of us, the ISDR builds on partnerships and takes a global approach to disaster reduction, seeking to involve every individual and every community towards the goals of reducing the loss of lives, the socioeconomic setbacks and the environmental damages caused by natural hazards. In order to achieve these goals, the ISDR promotes four objectives as tools towards reaching disaster reduction for all: • Increase public awareness to understand risk, vulnerability and disaster reduction globally. • Obtain commitment from public authorities to implement disaster reduction policies and actions. • Stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectoral partnerships, including the expansion of risk reduction networks. • Improve scientific knowledge about disaster reduction. UN agencies and governments are increasingly using the ISDR as a primary international vehicle to develop and guide commit-



ments and action. Within the UN system, numerous other initiatives are strengthening country capacities to reduce disaster risk and better manage risk, through programmes in UNDP, WMO, UNEP, WHO, FAO, UNESCO, World Bank and OCHA, for example. Civil society organizations are also very active, and include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the ProVention Consortium.

Conclusion The ecosystems of many small island states support more rare, endangered and threatened species than anywhere else in the world and the marine environment comprises an enormous and largely unexplored resource, including the most extensive and diverse reefs in the world, and intact populations of many globally threatened species including whales, sea turtles, etc. Their societal development depends on the generation of ecosystem goods such as food, timber and medicines and ecosystems services such as water purification, flood

ICSU: Resilience and sustainable development, series on science for sustainable development no. 3, 2002.


control, carbon sequestration, pollination, seed dispersal, soil formation, among many other services and benefits. Continuing damage to the biodiversity and ecosystem of these small island states needs to be halted, for the sake of island populations and humankind as a whole. 10 ISDR and disaster risk professionals are convinced that environmental and natural resource management are important costeffective tools for disaster reduction which, at the same time, has the added advantage of working towards other objectives such as conservation of biodiversity, mitigation of adverse global environmental changes and poverty alleviation. Successful disaster reduction measures should enhance environmental quality, which includes protection of natural resources and open space, management of water run-off, and reduction of pollution. Sustainable management of natural resources should also increase the resilience of communities to disasters by reversing current trends of environmental degradation and dealing with hazard management in a comprehensive way.


Introduction Biological diversity is humanity’s greatest natural heritage, providing both goods and services to the life of the planet as well as satisfying its main needs and aspirations. Understanding of the need to conserve biodiversity has increased in number, vision and complexity in the last few years, falling into two main categories (Callicott 1997): intrinsic and utilitarian value. Biodiversity is significant in any analysis related to sustainable development first, for the present and potential use of biological resources and second, for its role in the maintenance of the biosphere to guarantee conditions for human life and third, for the maintenance of biological biodiversity “per se”, mainly at a species level. This analysis is even more relevant in the case of islands due to their fragile ecology, environmental vulnerability, biologically diverse riches and that their economic activities are chiefly based on natural and cultural values.


Development and biological resources Biological resources are concentrated in the world level in some critical points or “hot spots”. Mittermeier et al, 1998, estimated that these areas, which represent only one percent of the planet’s surface, have that between 30 and 40 percent of biological diversity, 40 percent of all terrestrial plants, and almost 25 percent of vertebrates are endemic to these areas. Figure 1, created by these authors shows that many of the insular systems coincide with the sites of highest priority hot spots or with tropical areas with more natural characteristics in their ecosystems. Figures 2 and 3 compare the presence of some taxonomical groups, reflecting the world importance of biodiversity in the islands, even when they are compared with zones of mega-biodiversity. But, despite the singularity of biodiversity in the islands, only approximately 15 percent of established biosphere reserves are located

in islands: 6 percent in small islands and only 4 percent of the RAMSAR sites. The oceans occupy over 70 percent of the planet’s surface. However, natural marine areas are only 1 percent, which represents a serious situation (Hillary 2001). The same author studied the list of World Heritage Bárbara Garea Moreda. Graduated in 1979 as Physic at Lenin Institute in Moscow, Russia. Currently is the Director of the Centre for Management of Prioritised Projects and Programs, Ministry for Science, Technology and Environment. Head of the National Research and Development Program “Global Changes and the Evolution of the Cuban Environment” and is the Cuban representative at the Inter American Institute for Global Changes Studies, where hold the position of 2nd Vice-president of this institution. Miguel Angel Vales García. Graduated in 1973 as Licenciate in Biological Sciences speciality Botanist at the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Havana University, Cuba. In 1982 obtained the degree of Dr. In Biological Sciences at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Since 1992 to 2000 he has directed the National Biodiversity Center and coordinated the Cuban Biodiversity Country Study and formed part of the task force group for the elaboration of the Cuban National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Member of the Experts Group of the Cuban Program for Global Change. Since 2002 worked as specialist of the Centre for Prioritized Program and Projects Dalia Maria Salabarria Fernández. Graduated in l966 as Licenciate in Biological Sciences, speciality in Marine Biology, at Havana University, Cuba. In 1989, obtained the Doctor Degree in Biological Sciences, at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.Since 1977, started to work at National Commission for Environmental Protection, attending the issues related with the conservation and management of natural resources in the coastal and marine zone. She has been close related with the Convention on Biological Diversity since the process of elaboration and negotiation, from 1989, and participated in the process of the National Biodiversity Study, from 1997 to 1999 and the elaboration process of Biodiversity National Strategy and the Action Plans, in 2000.Since 1994 is the Head of Department on Natural Resources Management at the Environmental Information Management and Education.

Figure 1 Schematic representation of Mittmeier et al.

Centro de Gerencia de Programas y Proyectos Priorizados Calle 20, No.4112 e/18ª y 47, Miramar, Playa, Ciudad de la Habana, CP.11300,Cuba email:


and preservation. Alterations of these conditions due to natural or anthropological factors cause the genetic reduction of species and ecosystems. Figure 2 Number of reptilian species in two selected islands and two continental countries

and found that only 10 out of 161 natural and mixed sites have been registered for the values of marine biodiversity. This shows the urgent need to include a greater number of marine and coastal sites and small islands with exceptional value. The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000, published by FAO (2001) using a new definition of forests with areas of at least 0.5 hectares and a forest surface of over 10 percent, gives us information about the surface of most of the islands of the world. Insular Africa has 0.006 %, Insular Asia 4 %, Insular Caribbean 0.15 % and islands of Oceania, 0.9 % of the total forest surface of the world. Although this information is considered manipulated, it permits a view of how forest resources are distributed in the islands. There are a considerable number of plants and animals in terrestrial, coastal and interior water ecosystems that are part of complex networks of biological relations, creating the necessary conditions for their balance



• 5 to 10 percent of forest species could be extinct in 30 years. Currently, biological resources support nearly 40 percent of the world economy and meet 80 percent of human needs, including ecological, social, genetic, scientific, cultural, and spiritual ones. Its economic importance lies in its role for the development of agriculture, livestock, forestry, and fishing, as well as for

Present assessments on the loss of biodiversity show: • 75 percent of genetic biodiversity of crops was lost in the 20th Figure 3 Number of Angyosperms in two selected Islands and two continental Countries century. with Megadiversity. • 20 percent of freshwater fish species are extinct, threat- many industries and key life services. However, what is most important is that ened, or endangered. • 75 percent of marine fish reserves is today, biodiversity continues being the main depressed, overexploited, or at its biologi- food source and thus an essential component of food security for our planet. The increascal limit. • 24 percent of mammals and 12 percent of ing development of new products and services -which source are genetic resources, birds are in danger of extinction. microorganisms, flora and fauna species, • 50 percent of swamps have been drained. • 33 percent of coral reefs have been ecosystems, and landscapes- provide insular economies with an ever increasing potential. destroyed or degraded. Many species are used by native and rural • 17 million hectares of forests have been communities due to their traditional heritage. cut down in tropical regions.

New technology has accelerated the process, transforming native genetic resources into commercial products, mainly developed by companies from countries at a different scale of industrialization. They include the production of certified seeds for agriculture and forestry, production of dyes, medicines, bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, as well as high quality fibers and fuels. The development and commercialization of these products would allow Islands to obtain income through a solid system of patents and copyright of genetic resources and development of technologies, based on biological species and their chemical components. The unquestionable biotechnological advances and commercialization of genetically modified organisms have paved the way for an international debate on “bio-security.” Regarding this, it is necessary to establish policies combining development in these fields with preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, based on economic, ethical, and sustainable aspects, among others. At present, there is a growing preference for ecological products on the world market, as consumers are aware that they contribute to increased quality of life in the population and the environment in general. In this, agricultural products and tourism have a very important place, thus providing islands with a special opportunity due to these sectors’ role in their development. According to chapter 17 of Agenda 21, small developing Insular States are a special case, both for the environment and develop-

ment, as they are vulnerable, ecologicallyfragile areas because of their natural and economic environment. Small islands’ vulnerability is mainly due to their limited territorial extension, limited availability of natural resources, fragility and vulnerability of their ecosystems, their physical-geographic conditions favoring the incidence of meteorological phenomena, natural and industrial disasters, and their generally weak economies. Climatic changes are also a great risk for islands, as the negative impact is mainly linked to an increase of sea level, possible increase of aridity, and drought processes. This negatively influences availability of water resources, agricultural production, and biodiversity. The invasion of exotic species is one of the greatest threats for native biological diversity, as their impact is considerable, and generally irreversible. This can be as harmful for native species and ecosystems as the lack and degradation of habitats. This situation is more problematic for small islands. Oceans, mountains, rivers, and deserts have acted as natural barriers for millenniums, so that unique ecosystems could evolve. In only a few centuries, these barriers have become inefficient, due to the combined action of global forces that have helped exotic species cover long distances toward new habitats, becoming invading species. Changes in consumption patterns, advances in science and technology, recent trade strategies, and new political and economic scenes have also influenced small insular

National Scientific Technical Program “Global Change and the Evolution cuban Environment”

Figure. 4 Participation of the different Projects in the National Program

States. This is undoubtedly a risk for the sustainability of their natural and cultural resources. Forest ecosystems have been affected by the cutting of trees and deterioration of swamps due to the expansion of agriculture, intensification of related practices, and socioeconomic development itself. All these aspects have led to the destruction of habitats and the consequent extinction of species. The development of basic economic activities for islands, such as agriculture, fishing, and tourism in their littoral zones have affected their coastal and marine ecosystems in a peculiar way. The excessive exploitation of fishing resources, the use of mangrove swamps for aquaculture, changes in the use of soils for agriculture, tourism, deforestation, and pollution have determined the changes in coastal habitats, thus affecting the protective function of marine and coastal ecosystems. The sustainable development in fishing regions in the small Islands is negatively affected by several factors such as: irresponsible fishing practices, lack of capacity, both human and institutional, for the research and handling of resources, limited participation of those who use the resources in planning and making decisions, inadequate or insufficient knowledge of the fishing reserves of sea biodiversity in general and the ecosystems and its work, and an insufficient capacity for surveillance and control. The industrial, handicraft and re-creative fishing activities should be carried out in accordance with the real capacity of the species and ecosystems, in a way to guarantee the sustainability of their products. Tourism based on the Islands’ natural, cultural and environmental values is one of the main ways for the development of the insular States. For example, the Caribbean is visited by more than a hundred million tour-


ists, tourism is fundamental in this region’s GDP and it generates a large number of jobs. In the same way, the European Union’s island destinations are becoming more recognized, visited and chosen as preference. The situation presented is highly complex, on one hand, tourism is increasing, and on the other, there are environmental and social risks that can be irreversible. It is only possible to face this challenge with a sustainable tourism, ecologically bearable for the long term, economically and equally viable from an ethical and social perspective for the local communities. The active and consequent participation of all sectors involved in the elaboration and implementation of integrated strategies for tourist development on the islands is necessary for this to be not just a declaration. The elaboration and implementation of strategies for the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity comes from the knowledge obtained and that necessary to acquire, the real evaluation of the environmental situation, and the priorities established for development. In this sense, studies and national and regional evaluations, although they are still numerically limited in the case of the islands, could constitute the basis for the preparation of these strategies. The international community has organized programs and projects that facilitate the study of biological diversity and topics associated with it. This has been included on the agendas of the United Nations, other international and Habanilla Dam, Cuba



national organizations, and public, private and non-governmental institutions. Future efforts that must be carried out to reply to questions such as the following: (CEPAL, 2003): • What are the factors that represent a threat for the biological, genetic diversity of species, of functional types, landscapes, etc? • What are the acceptable levels of damage that allow an appropriate lead time for response, with adaptable handling for a sustainable use of the ecosystems or to their preservation? • Which are the ecosystemic or ethical values of diversity? That is, how many and which species can be lost, and what else do we lose when we lose biodiversity? What are the biodiversity’s ecosystem services? • What are the costs in terms of diversity, ecosystem services, water availability and biogeochemical cycles of crops to contain carbon? What are the proposals within global measures to mitigate the emission of gases with greenhouse effects? • How to guarantee the viability of the farming systems on which the maintenance of genetic diversity strongly depends? • How to recover and make systematic the practices, traditional or indigenous, of technologies for sustainable use and handling of natural resources and environmental services as elements for science and technology toward sustainable development (CTDS)?.

• How to deal with the paucity of legislation referring to the protection, sustained use, and economic attraction of natural resources, and to establish mechanisms so that the legislation in force is accomplished? • How to achieve sustainable agriculture that is economically competitive? How to transform subsistence agriculture, practiced by millions of poor farmers, into a sustainable agriculture? • How to achieve that the existing technically appropriate solutions are also economically competitive under other conditions? The Republic of Cuba, an archipelago with particular value in its biodiversity, high vulnerability, and fragility as a small insular state, has assumed indisputable commitments to guarantee sustainability in the use of its natural resources. It has elaborated and implemented policies and strategies at different levels and sectors on scientific and technological bases, and led the economic development, food security, health quality and respect for the country’s cultural and ethical values with this aim. As an example, Cuba established the National Scientific-Technical Program in 1995. In this program, “Los Cambios Globales y la Evolución del Medio Ambiente Cubano” (Global Changes and the Evolution of the Cuban Environment) 72 projects have been executed (Figure 4), of them 42 percent dedicated to biodiversity and earth ecosystems, 31 percent to climate and contamination, 13 percent to agro ecosystems and soils, and 14 percent to the coastal zones. One of the most important projects in this program was the elaboration of the Biodiversity Country Study, which simultaneously had the support of the GEF/UNEP. In this study were identified the main aspects for the elaboration of the national strategy. Today, the National Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use and Action Plan of the Republic of Cuba (Vilamajó interrelates with the National Environmental Strategy and with sector and territorial strategies, which constitute the main tool of work of the National Biological Diversity Group. Cuba has also integrated with regional and world efforts in relation to scientific and

technological research. It is interesting to stress the role played by the Inter American Institute for the Research of Global Change, which through the promotion of comparative studies and focus on important regional themes, has been creating capacities to better understand the impact of global change in the past, present and future in the 19 member countries.

Political agenda international framework The international agenda has set a series of international goals difficult to attain. They target the treatment and possible solution of the main problems affecting humankind: hunger, poverty, improvement of living conditions and health, in which biological diversity, due to its importance for human beings, has occupied a leading position that commits nations to its conservation, particularly, its sustainable utilization (See Box 1). BOX 1 The global tasks of the millennium, proclaimed by the millennium summit in 2000, establish the eradication of extreme poverty and famine as a goal of paramount importance to respond to the most essential needs of development.

The Sixth Conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) examined this issue, which was explicitly reflected in its Ministerial Convention and adopted by Decision VI/26, committing the parties to implement the Convention more effectively and to substantially reduce the current biodiversity loss rate at the international, regional and internal level by 2010, to contribute to the palliation of poverty. Undoubtedly, the Johannesburg Summit marked an important point and provided an important space for the critical role of biodiversity and ecosystems’ recourses and services, to fulfill the Millennium Objectives. The best reason for this declaration is that biodiversity is among the five aspects of the Program promoted by the UN Secretary General known as WEHAB (Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity), recognizing these elements, which should be paid the greatest attention, as priorities to resolve humankind’s major problems. Chapter IV, paragraph 44, on biodiversity

establishes: the fundamental role of biological diversity to attain sustainable development and elimination of poverty; the essential nature of biological diversity for the existence and welfare of human beings; the Convention as key vehicle for the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity and the equal distribution of benefits from using genetic resources. The Implementation Plan’s Chapter VII on the “Sustainable Development of Small Developing States” considers these countries a special case, in terms of environment and development, and calls for a number of actions at all levels. Among these major actions are: • Speed up the Action Program implementation at the national and regional level, with adequate financial recourses. • Implement a sustainable management of fisheries with the support and strengthening of the regional management bodies for fishing. • Provide assistance for small islands to attain a sustainable management of their coasts and sea. -Support small islands in the development of their domestic capacities. • Foster the completion and begin operation, under agreed upon terms, of social, economic and environmental vulnerability indexes, and other related indexes, as tools to allow for sustainable development. • Assist small islands in support of local communities and adequate national and regional organizations, for the manage-

ment of risks and threats, preparations in the face of disasters and mitigation of extreme meteorological events and other emergencies. • Examine the implementation of the Barbados Action Program. It can be said that to attain a sustainable development, in harmony with the conservation and sustainable utilization in small islands, at least it is indispensable to: • Have the adequate knowledge of biological diversity to define its potential and establish priorities for its preservation and sustainable use. • Have the necessary political and legal framework to guarantee the elaboration of development programs on a sustainability base, and particularly, to establish the control over the already established regulations. • Guarantee that conservation and sustainable utilization of bio-diversity resources are included in the programs and plans for economic and social development. • Guarantee territorial planning adequately comprising the environmental principles and criteria established at the national level. • Check and strengthen the planning and control process of fishing activities. • Have National Management Plans for tapping species, based on research results scientifically supporting the management plan. • Attain the recognition of the Comprehen-


sive Management of Coastal Zones, as the only way to reach a real consensus between socioeconomic development and the preservation and sustainable use of coastal and sea resources. • Guarantee the active participation of local people and governments. • Have an educational and environmental promotion program targeting all sectors, especially workers and decision- makers. • Fortify the necessary institutional, human resource and financial capacities to accomplish the predicted results. • Strengthen Regional Cooperation and Coordination by exchanging information and experience among countries of the area. • Have access to the required financial resources. This calls for priority actions, among them: • Completing the outline of national strategies to preserve and make a sustainable use of biological diversity and proceed to Immediate implementation • Outline national general guidelines for adequate territorial planning and incorpo-

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• •

rate environmental considerations to decision making. • Outline general line of action for an integrated management of Coastal Areas, as starting point to study and adopt caseby-case development programs. • Establish environmental regulations for tourist development. Establishing national monitoring systems for each element of biological diversity, allowing invigoration of the state and evolution of those components, and adopting the decision best suited at a given moment. Work for institutional improvement and training of national human resources. Outline and work intensely on environmental education and promote focus on every sector of the population, establishing the most suitable mechanisms to achieve involvement of local government and communities. Establish and implement the evaluation of the environmental impact in socioeconomic development programs. Define the areas, ecosystems and species requiring special handling to secure their preservation, restoration and sustainable use. Develop, among priorities, methodology for the economic evaluation of the resources of biodiversity. Increase the levels of international cooperation and coordination, especially at the regional level.

Finally, it is necessary to stress that biological diversity can be only be seen as a resource for sustainable development if it is given a comprehensive and systematic approach, clearly revealing the existing interaction between society and nature.


CALLICOTT, J. B. 1977. Conservation values and ethics. Pages 29-55. “Principles of Conservation Biology”. G.K. Meffe; C.R. Caroll, and contributors, editors. 2nd. Edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts. CEPAL, 2003. Ciencia y Tecnología para el desarrollo sostenible: una perspectiva latinoamericana y caribeña. Serie Seminarios y Conferencias. No. 25, 52 pp. COMARNA, 1993. Las Pequeñas Islas y el Desarrollo Sostenible. Conferencia Global sobre Desarrollo Sostenible de los Pequeños Estados Insulares. Informe Técnico, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba. 33 pp. FAO, 2001. Forest Resources Assessment (FRA)2000. Main Report. FAO Forest Study 140. Rome, Italy. GESAMP, 1996. The contributions of science to integrated coastal management. Reports and Studies, No. 61, 66 pp. HILLARY, A. 2001. El tesoro Escondido: los ecosistemas marinos. Conservación Mundial 2/2001. pp. 13-14 MITTERMEIER, R.A., N. MYERS, J.B. THOMSEN, G.A.B. DA FONSECA, AND S. OLIVIERI, 1998. Conservation Biology 12: 516-520. “Biodiversity hotspots and major tropical wilderness areas: approaches to setting conservation priorities”. SALABARRÍA, D. M. 1997. Vulnerabilidad de los Pequeños Estados Insulares. Informe Técnico Reunión Regional del Convenio de Lucha contra la Desertificación y la Sequía. SERRANO, FRANCISCO 1998. Lineamientos para el planteamiento territorial del turismo en pequeñas islas del Archipiélago de los Canarreos. República de Cuba. Tesis de grado. 115 pp. UNEP, 1995. Global Biodiversity Assessment. Summary for Policy Makers. 46 pp. World Travel Tourism Council. Agenda 21 for the Travel and Tourism Industry: Toward Environmentally Sustainable Development. 77 pp. VILAMAJÓ, D.; VALES, M.A.; CAPOTE, R. P. Y SALABARRÍA, D. Eds. 2001. Estrategia Nacional para la Diversidad Biológica y Plan de Acción en la República de Cuba. WRI/IUCN/UNEP, 1992. Global Biodiversity Strategy. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.


Introduction Small islands are renowned for their biological diversity and their endemism, and biological diversity plays a crucial role in the daily life and social fabric of the human populations of many small islands, from subsistence economy to contemporary tourism. Small islands have also long played an important role in scientific studies on the genetic diversity and evolution of living beings. A century-and-a half ago, observations on the Galápagos Islands were critical in shaping Charles Darwin’s revolutionary Theory on the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. And in recent decades, topics such as island biogeography and the impact of alien invasive species on island biota have figured prom- inently in the theory, concepts and practices of popu-


lation biology, ecosystem management and conservation science. However, biological diversity on many small islands is under increasing threat, through such impacts as the introduction of exotic species, development of tourism infrastructures, excessive harvesting of particular biotic groups (e.g corals), and so on. Generally, island species tend to be much more vulnerable to changes in their environments. Plant and animal populations tend to be small, localized, highly specialized and they tend not to have developed defence mechanisms against a broad range of potential predators or competitors. Within such a context, it is scarcely surprising that conservation of biodiversity takes on a special hue in small islands. To the extent

Dirk Troost is a coastal scientist, and is Chief of UNESCO’s Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) Platform.

Malcolm Hadley is a biologist, recently retired from UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences.

Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) Platform UNESCO 1 rue Miollis 75352 Paris Cedex 15 • France. E-mail: Tree ferns are a prominent feature in the mountain forests of the volcanic Morne Trois Pitons National Park (designated as a World Heritage site in 1997), in the Caribbean island of Dominica. Photo: UNESCO/ J.W. Thorsell.


that small islands provide the setting for many innovations in biodiversity conservation. And have thus added substance to visions on the exemplary role of small islands and small island developing states (SIDS) in respect to sustainable development, reflected in the following two statements culled from an issue of UNEP’s Our Planet magazine devoted to small islands (Volume 10(3), 1999). Small islands are microcosms for our world. We are all inhabitants of the global island, surrounded by the limitless ocean of space. If we can find solutions to the special vulnerabilities of islands, it will help us address more global problems. Kofi A. Annan, United Nations Secretary General

Small island developing states have been at the forefront of global environmental consciousness raising and problem solving. Mohamed T. El-Ashry, former Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Consistent with such perceptions, this contribution explores the thesis that small islands constitute living laboratories for innovative approaches to biodiversity conservation. The Durban Action Plan adopted at the Vth World Parks Congress (Durban, 8-17 September 2003) is used as a framework for examining some of these approaches, in such domains as the role of protected areas (PAs) in sustainable development, PAs linked to surrounding landscapes and seascapes, rights of indigenous peoples, empowerment of younger generations, improved forms of governance, and so on. The contribution draws mainly but not exclusively on experiences from various UNESCO initiatives relating to biodiversity conservation (Box 1), including World Heritage sites and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (UNESCO 2002a), as well as postings from an Internet discussion forum on wise coastal practices and other sources.

Box 1. UNESCO Activities Related to Biodiversity Conservation in Small Islands UNESCO’s continuing concern is rooted in two complementary international instruments for the conservation of biological diversity, as well through various field projects and several internet discussion forums. The Convention for the Protection of the World’s Natural and Cultural Heritage is a binding legal instrument which provides a permanent legal, financial and administrative framework for international cooperation in contributing to the protection of the world’s natural and cultural heritage. The focus is on sites of outstanding and universal value. The World Heritage List includes insular sites listed specifically for their biological processes and biodiversity values such as Fraser Island and Lord Howe Island Group (Australia), Cocos Island (Costa Rica), two sites in Cuba, Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica), Galápagos National Park and Marine Reserve (Ecuador), New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands, Aldabra Atoll and Vallée de Mai (Seychelles), East Rennell (Solomon Islands). The World Network of Biosphere Reserves has developed within the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, and in late 2003 comprises 440 sites in 97 countries. Biosphere reserves are sites to explore and demonstrate approaches to conservation and sustainable development at a regional scale, with associated research, monitoring, training and education and the involvement of local people as the driving force for conservation. The Web-based discussion forum on Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development (WiCoP Forum) is operated as part of UNESCO’s Coastal Regions and Small Islands (CSI) Platform. A team of moderators and translators maintain the site -- editing the contributions before they are posted in English, French and Spanish on the Forum site, and in addition sending the new postings as e-mail to over 17,000 individuals connected with the Forum. Since the Forum’s creation in May 1999, individual contributors have flagged many perspectives related to biological diversity and its conservation and management in coastal regions, in both continental and insular settings, drawing in part on experience gained in CSI-sponsored field projects (e.g. UNESCO 2002c). The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) includes several initiatives relating to coastal marine biodiversity, focused on such biotic groups as coral reefs, harmful algae and coastal benthos. Among the outputs of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (cosponsored by UNEP, the World Bank, IUCN and the IOC) is the biennial ‘Status of Coral Reefs of the World’, the most recent version of which (Wilkinson 2002) includes information on the status and changes of coral reefs in 36 individual SIDS.



Conservation challenges and island innovations It is well accepted by the ‘conservation community’ that protected areas are not synonymous with biodiversity conservation and that many of the challenges in biodiversity conservation lie outside protected areas. This said, by taking as its theme ‘Benefits Beyond Boundaries’, the Durban Congress recognized that protected areas cannot remain in isolation from the surrounding areas of land and sea, and from the communities and the economic activities in and around them. As such, the conclusions and recommendations of the congress can be considered a fairly good reflection of current thinking on conservation challenges. The principal outputs included a set of 32 recommendations (addressing such subjects as climate change and protected areas, cultural and spiritual values, tourism), a vision statement entitled the Durban Accord, and the Durban Action Plan -- a suggested checklist of the activity needed to increase the benefits of protected areas to society and to improve their coverage and management. This Durban Action Plan is organized around ten key outcomes, with suggested actions at various levels (international, regional, national, local, protected area authority) ( pdfs/outputs/wpc/durbanactionplan.pdf). In the following paragraphs, the substance of these various outcomes are used as topic heads for examining some recent and planned initiatives in biodiversity conservation in small island settings. Critical role in global biodiversity conservation Outcome 1 of the Durban Action Plan seeks to fill gaps in the global system of protected areas, identifying specific actions in this respect by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Heritage Convention. One action requested of the World Heritage Committee is to give priority to achieving complete knowledge of potential World Heritage around the world, including marine biomes of outstanding universal value. Some work has already been undertaken that addresses this issue. In 2002, the World Heritage Centre

and IUCN organized a workshop to identify priority tropical coastal, marine and small island areas for nomination as World Heritage (Hillary et al. 2003). Following the workshop, three pilot projects, that all contain small islands, have been initiated in this respect: the Pacific Line Islands, the Southern Caribbean Islands group, and the Eastern Pacific Marine Conservation Corridor. Among the priorities for future action is further development of the World Heritage marine programme, including testing the application of transboundary and serial approaches into new marine World Heritage nominations. Fundamental role in sustainable development Reinforcing action to ensure that protected areas strive to alleviate poverty is an explicit part of Outcome 2 of the Durban Action Plan. A small-islands perspective is provided by an evaluation of a recent ten-year (1992-2001) project to promote biodiversity conservation in the Pacific (Hunnam 2002). The evaluation notes that options for conserving biodiversity

are to stop its use (i.e. to try to ‘set it aside’) or to use it in ways that do not degrade its natural values, by limiting the types of exploitation, their timing, intensity or techniques employed. The close dependence of Pacific-islander lives and livelihoods on local natural resources means that the latter approach is more realistic and likely to be more effective. The recommended approach is to ensure that conservation is shaped and recognized as a cornerstone of sustainable development and is therefore an important valid business for government and private agencies concerned with economic and social development and the use of natural resources in fisheries, forestry, agricultural, mining and tourism. The evaluation further underlines that conservation is essentially a social issue requiring democratic involvement of the people and local communities whose lives and livelihoods are most affected. As elsewhere, local people must be recognized and empowered as the primary stakeholders and central participants in conservation projects.

Linking protected areas to surrounding landscapes and seascapes Outcome 3 of the Durban Action Plan relates to the challenge of further developing a global system of protected areas linked into wider ecological/environmental systems on land and at sea. All-too-often in coastal regions, land and water areas are under separate jurisdictions and management authorities, making difficult a coherent approach to regional ecosystem complexes. More promising is recent experience in a number of small-island settings, where a range of mechanisms and procedures have been sought to articulate the work of agencies having different management responsibilities in land-marine ecotone areas. Central to this challenge is consideration of adjacent land and marine systems as an ensemble, with different areas zoned for different functions and purposes and core protected areas identified in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Figure 1. Zoning contiguous land and marine areas for different purposes and uses B. In the ‘whole island’ biosphere reserve of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands of Spain, the core area is focused on the volcanic Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, with six nature parks in the buffer zone. The biosphere reserve also includes 38.000 ha of contiguous marine systems.

A. The zonation scheme of the Guadeloupe Archipelago Biosphere Reserve is made up of two units: the tropical humid forest of the Guadeloupe National Park and the marine area of the Grand Cul de Sac Marine Nature Reserve consisting of mangroves, small islands and coral reefs. The transition areas include numerous small towns and villages with many tourist facilities. Different management regimes are required for each zone and each ecosystem type.


An example is in the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, where in 2001 the World Heritage Committee approved the addition of the Galápagos Marine Reserve to the existing World Heritage site. Currently the World Heritage Centre, together with partners, is working towards establishment of a sustainable development and conservation corridor between Galápagos and Cocos Island World Heritage sites and with small island sites in Panama and Colombia. Examples of biosphere reserves in smallisland settings, which include both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, are Nanji Islands (China), Seaflower (Colombia, comprising the archipelago of San Andrés-ProvidenciaSanta Catalina in the southwestern Caribbean), West Estonian Archipelago, Archipelago Sea (Finland), Archipel de la Guadaloupe and Iroise (France), Boloma Bijagos (Guinea Bissau), Tuscan Islands (Italy), Far East Marine (Russian Federation), Isla de El Hierro, Lanzarote, La Palma and Menorca (Spain), US Virgin Islands and the Socotra Archipelago (Yemen). Experience in a number of these reserves – in such domains as conflict prevention and resolution, and the zonation of land and water areas for different purposes (Figure 1) – provides insights useful in conservation planning and management in other small island situations.

Small islands are renowned for their biological diversity and endemism. The natural palm forest of the Vallée de Mai World Heritage site in the Seychelles is the home of the ‘coco de mer’ (Lodoicea maldivicia), the largest seed in the plant kingdom. Photos: UNESCO/Julian Palmyre.



Improving effective management The challenge of improving the quality, effectiveness and reporting of protected area management (Outcome 4 of the Durban Action Plan) has many dimensions Among the measures for improving the health of protected areas is making management more comprehensive, participatory and affordable, and sensitive to cultural and spiritual factors. For example, the island of Siberut – the home of the Mentawai people, located 150 km from the western coast of mainland Sumatra in Indonesia – was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1981, and an area somewhat less than half of the island as a national park in 1983. But these recognitions remained largely ‘paper designations’ for a decade and a half. More recently, a series of small-scale pilot projects for community development has led to a new (2001-2005)

community-conservation project focused on the empowerment of customary environmental management (Myers et al. 2003). The project aims to develop and put into practice a new management mechanism that integrates customary ecological knowledge and practices of local people with conservation and socio-economic planning. For programmes in conservation and incomegeneration, co-management teams have been set up, consisting of members from indigenous communities, local NGOs, the national park authorities and UNESCO, with initial support provided principally through the ASPACO project (Asia-Pacific Cooperation for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Resources in Biosphere Reserves and Similarly Managed Areas). As a critical part of the co-management structure, a transparent financial management has been et up, allowing open auditing between different levels of the project management and stakeholders. Demonstrating how using an assessment, monitoring and reporting framework can enhance effective management is a principal aim of the UNESCO/IUCN/UNF project ‘Enhancing Our Heritage’. Among the ten World Heritage sites taking part is Aldabra Atoll, where special attention has been given to prioritizing management actions and identifying how management systems need to be improved. Promoting sensitive use of modern scientific knowledge and technological tools is another ingredient for improved conservation planning. Examples here include the use of remote sensing technologies for tropical coastal management (Edwards 2000) and the development of geographic information systems for regional planning, as illustrated through the integrated management GIS for the Bijagos archipelago in Guinea Bissau, which includes ten maps of the littoral environment at a scale of 1:50,000 (Cuq 2001). Recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities Outcome 5 of the Durban Action Plan relates to the rights of indigenous peoples, mobile peoples and local communities being recognized and guaranteed in relation to natural

resources and biodiversity conservation. Alltoo-often in the past, world-wide, the various components of the conservation community have tended to disregard or minimize the roles, knowledge and customary laws of indigenous and mobile peoples and local communities, in respect to their lands, territories and resources. Sometimes, indigenous peoples and local communities have been expelled from government-created protected areas, thereby severing their relationships with their territories and undermining their cultural integrity. Indeed, indigenous peoples

and local communities have often borne the costs of and received few benefits from protected areas. Yet in many small-island settings, indigenous and mobile peoples and local communities have remained the custodians of nature, and form the starting point of many recent conservation initiatives. In the Pacific, for example, countries have experimented with community-based conservation areas as an alternative to inflexible protected area models that deny local people access to natural resources. As part of the ten-year

On the Indian Ocean island of Socotra, vegetation is sparse and dominated by xeromorphic (drought-resistant) forms. Socotra became parte ofthe World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2003, following preparatory work supported through one of the island-biodiversity projects of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Photo by Giuseppe Orlando


(1992-2001) South Pacific Biodiversity Conservation Programme (SPBCP), 17 community conservation areas have been set-up in 12 counties of the region (Read 2002). Though results of the project have been mixed (Hunnan 2002), there has been sufficient evidence to suggest that, in the Pacific at least, conservation is first and foremost about respecting community rights to the lands and resources on which they depend. One of the sites featured in the SPBCP is the Vatthe (‘Eye of the sea’) Conservation Area on Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu, with key roles being played by the communities of the coastal village of Matantas and the inland village of Sara (Martin et al. 2000). Despite a history of dispute, the villages came together to establish the Vatthe Conservation Area and associated Conservation Area Management Committee, assisted by a conservation support officer funded by the programme. Together with a small ecotourism enterprise, the Vatthe Conservation Area is owned and managed by the communities of both villages who have chosen the conservation of their forest, allowing for traditional use and ecotourism initiatives, over lucrative logging contracts. Reinvigorating oral traditions is another dimension of recognizing the rights of indigenous and mobile peoples, as has been done in a project with the Moken sea gypsy communities of the Surin Islands, in the Andaman Sea off the southwestern coast of Thailand (UNESCO 2001). Among other aims, the project has sought to strengthen dialogue between officials of the marine national park and the Moken, to enable the latter to become active partners in the management of the area and safeguarding its heritage value through the sharing of knowledge, skills and tools. In some small islands, making resource management laws available and understandable to local resource users may be an important step in promoting dialogue and stakeholder participation. In Haiti, for example, fisheries laws are written in French. However the majority of those affected by the laws (i.e. inhabitants of coastal communities and especially fisherfolk) only speak or read Créole. Whence the translation of the fisheries



laws into Créole, as a crucial component of a project to enhance coastal and fishery management through stakeholder participation, local knowledge and environmental education (UNESCO 2002b). Involving and empowering younger generations Engaging young people to take an active role in resource management and biodiversity conservation (Outcome 6 of the Durban Action Plan) has been a key feature of a long-term project in the Caribbean (which started in 1985-86) for understanding beach changes, applying the knowledge gained in improved coastline planning, and training school children in the use of scientific method for observing and monitoring change. This work has been carried out within the framework of a UNESCO regional project involving 13 countries/territories, involving persons from government agencies and non government organizations, from the private banking sector, from scientific and educational communities, and from civil society (UNESCO 2002c, Annex II). Together, a standardized methodology has been developed, to measure, assess and manage the various phenomena associated with beach erosion. Beach monitoring programmes have been established, as part of measures for improved coastal planning and erosion mitigation. Five countries in the region have tested a generic methodology to ensure that new coastal development is placed at a safe distance from the active beach zone, thereby providing for the safety of coastal infrastructure and the conservation of beaches. In cooperation with the Caribbean Development Bank, coloured illustrated booklets on wise practices for coping with beach erosion have been published for ten island countries/territories, with a combination of generic and island-specific information. Support has been provided for getting the message into the living room, by providing training and equipment to persons from environmental and broadcast agencies. Most recently, in collaboration with the UNESCO Associated Schools Project, the Sandwatch project has been launched for training schoolchildren in the use of the

scientific method through monitoring and observing changes, activities and processes at local beaches. And then, with the assistance of teachers, parents and communities, for applying that information in the design and implementation of specific projects to solve a particular problem while also improving the beach environment. Increased support for protected areas from other constituencies Establishing and recognizing mutual agendas for conservation among diverse constituencies (part of Outcome 7 of the Durban Action Plan) should result in many partnerships involving the business and commercial sector as well as conservation volunteer programmes of various kinds. An example is provided by Chumbe Island, situated 13 km southwest of Zanzibar Town in Tanzania and covering an area of approximately 20 ha and bordered on its western shore by a fringing coral reef of exceptional biodiversity and beauty. Based on the initiative and investment proposal of Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd, a private company created for the management of Chumbe, the island was gazetted in 1994 as a protected area by the Government of Zanzibar. This created the first managed marine park in Tanzania, and also (it is believed) the first private marine park in the world. The objectives of the Chumbe Island Coral Park project are non-commercial, while operations follow commercial principles. The overall aim is to create a model of sustainable conservation area management where ecotourism supports conservation and education. Profits from the tourism operations are re-invested in conservation area management and an environmental education programme for local schools that includes excursions to Chumbe. About two-thirds of the investment costs of approximately US$1 million were financed privately by the project initiator (a conservationist and former manager of donor-funded aid projects). Several project components -- such as the construction of the visitors centre, biological baseline surveys, the Aders’ duikers sanctuary (protecting a highly endangered endemic species of miniantelope), nature trails and the park rangers’

patrol boats -- received some funding from a range of donors. This covered about a third of the investment costs. More than 40 volunteers from several countries provided, and continue to provide, crucial professional support for between one month to three years. Running costs of the park are entirely covered from income generated through ecotourism. This information on private sector investment in coral reef conservation figured in an initial account on Chumbe Island, posted in March 2000 on the WiCoP discussion forum (Riedmiller 2000). The account triggered a considerable ‘post-bag’, with respondents taking up such issues as the need for a worldwide representative system of similar reserves and incentives for non-consumptive use as an alternative to heavy taxation. The case study also illustrates the use of modern information and communication technologies in diffusing information and promoting debate on an innovative approach to biodiversity conservation in an island setting. Improved forms of governance Promoting the application in all protected areas of five principles of good governance (legitimacy and voice, performance, accountability, fairness and direction) is among the lines of action foreseen under Outcome 8 of the Durban Action Plan. The institutions of governance are constantly evolving and include a wide range of structures, including government-managed, comanaged, private, charitable and community-based structures. Small islands provide several innovative examples. In Jamaica, government intentions to create 14 terrestrial, marine and integrated protection areas have been confronted with widespread social distrust of regulatory systems that are perceived as belonging to somebody else, or operating in someone else’s interest. Rather than setting-up a national agency to manage these areas, national policy provides for the delegation of management authority to qualified NGOs. For example, in 2003, the Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) Foundation was delegated management responsibility of the Portland Bight Protected Area. A crucial step in seeking compliance

has been to create a sense of ownership of the laws and regulations among natural resources users. This was achieved in Portland Bight by assisting the fishers to prepare their own fisheries management regulations using the local fisheries associations and the Fisheries Management Council midwifed by C-CAM (Espeut 2002). Thus the fishers now feel that they own the regulations rather than viewing them as a system of rules being imposed from above. Even when the local community owns the regulations, some may still resent outsiders coming in and arresting their relatives and friends for non-compliance. A better way to cement a new culture of compliance and natural resource management is to empower community leaders as enforcement officers. In the Portland Bight Protected Area, some 50 fisherfolk were officially appointed ‘Honorary Game Wardens’ and ‘Fishery Inspectors’ under the Wildlife Protection Act and the Fishing Industry Act, thereby providing them with powers of search and arrest. All the enforcement officers are given training by C-CAM and they are informed that compliance is the objective, not making arrests. One of the fears with this approach was that the community enforcement officers might abuse their authority. Careful selection of suitable persons, thorough training, and close supervision have resulted in not one case of abuse of authority, or false arrest, since 1996, and a 100% conviction rate in those cases which have gone to court. Another fear was that Honorary Game Wardens and Fishery Inspectors would excuse their friends and relatives and harass their enemies, or take bribes. No such cases have been observed, in fact the reverse. The community enforcement officers advise their relatives and friends not to embarrass them by committing an offence, as they would be forced to personally arrest them so as to prove they are not corrupt. Enhanced resources for protected areas Outcome 9 of the Durban Action Plan addresses the challenge of securing enhanced funding for protected areas, commensurate with their values and needs, including

resources within the mechanism agreed for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, specifically the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Considerable GEF funding has already been made available to biodiversity conservation in small islands, through relatively large targeted projects (e.g. for Socotra) and through enabling activities of various kinds (Mook 1999). In looking forward, the intention of GEF to provide increased support to its small grants programme can be considered a positive trend for small islands, in that resources are likely to be in tune with needs and so-called absorptive capacities. The United Nations Foundation is also increasing its support for improving management effectiveness of World Heritage sites, drawing on experience within such recent projects as that on alien species eradication in the Galápagos.

Communicating the benefits of protected areas ‘Improved communication and education on the role and benefits of protected areas’ (Outcome 10 of the Durban Action Plan) is an important component of environmental programmes and projects in many small island situations. An example is the process leading to the setting-up of the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve in the Caribbean, under the aegis of the Colombian public agency CORALINA (Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providence and Santa Catalina). Central in this process has been an extensive community-wide education programme involving workshops and meetings, teacher training courses and information campaigns, and the inclusion of a communication and educational component in various research and management activities, for example on fisheries recovery, mangroves, coral reefs, marine turtles (Mow et al. 2003: see also separate case study in this issue). Most important, the programme generated a considerable momentum of grassroots involvement and support for new conservation and resource management initiatives that take explicit account of livelihood-related issues.


Concluding remarks Effective approaches for biodiversity conservation combine sound science and cultural sensitivity with robust legal frameworks, adequate resources and appropriate management. World-wide, there is now widespread recognition of the crucial role of local people as the driving force of biodiversity conservation. This involvement may be especially important in small island situations, for several reasons: the nature of traditional often communal ownership of land and marine resources in regions such as the Pacific; the absence or weakness of government-based conservation agencies in many small island developing states; the non-compliance of resource users to topdown, government-imposed regulations in some islands. In addition to testing various types of co-management and governance arrangements, small islands may also represent privileged areas in seeking new resources for innovative approaches to conservation (e.g. involving the private sector) and scaling inputs to levels that are assimilable and non conflictual.




CUQ, F. (ed.). 2001. Un système d’information géographique pour l’aide à la gestion intégrée de l’archipel des Bijagos (Guinée-Bissau). Notice de la carte, constitution et exploitation du SIG. Brest: Géosystèmes. EDWARDS, AJ. (ed.). 2000. Remote sensing handbook for tropical coastal management. Coastal management sourcebooks 3. Paris: UNESCO. ESPEUT, P. 2002. Community policing in the Portland Bight Protected Area, Jamaica. Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum. Posted 14 October 2002. Paris: UNESCO. and related discussion thread messages. HILLARY, A.; KOKKONEN, M.; MAX, L. (eds). 2003.World Heritage Marine Biodiversity Workshop. Proceedings of a workshop. Hanoi, Vietnam, 25 February-1 March 2002. Paris: World Heritage Centre, UNESCO. HUNNAM, P. 2002. Lessons in conservation for people and projects in the Pacific islands region. Apia: UNDP. MARTIN, G.;BARROW, S.; CUNNINGHAM, AB.; SHANLEY, P. (eds). 2000. Managing resources: community-based conservation. People and Plants Handbook Issue 6. Paris: UNESCO. MOOK, E. 1999. GEF: helping small island developing states. Our Planet 10(3): 26-28. MOW, JM; HOWARD, M.; DELGADO, CM.; TABERT, S. 2003. Promoting sustainable development: a case study of Seaflower Biosphere Reserve. Prospects 33(3):303-312. MYERS, K.; NITTA,K.; HAN QUILI. 2003. Empowerment of customary environmental management in Siberut

Biosphere Reserve in 2001-2002. In: UNESCO (ed.), The Third Meeting of the Project on Asia Pacific Co-operation for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources in Biosphere Reserves and Similarly Managed Areas (ASPACO). Okinawa, Japan, 1-6 October 2002, pp.78-81. Jakarta: UNESCO Office. READ, T. 2002. Navigating a new course: stories in community based conservation in the Pacific islands. Apia: UNDP. RIEDMILLER, S. 2000. Private sector investment in marine conservation / Chumbe Island-Tanzania. Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum. Posted 6 March 2000. Paris: UNESCO. and related discussion thread messages. UNESCO. 2001. Indigenous People and Parks. The Surin Islands Project. Coastal region and small island papers 8. Paris: UNESCO. pub/papers2/surin.htm UNESCO. 2002a.Biosphere reserves: special places for people and nature. Paris: UNESCO. http://www.unesco. org/mab/publications/BRbook/BRbook.htm UNESCO. 2002b. Lwa ki gen pou wè ak Anviwònman Kotye ak Lapèch nan Peyi d Ayiti. Lois relatives à l’environnement côtier et à la pêche en Haïti. CSI info N° 13. Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO. 2002c. Wise practices for conflict prevention and resolution in small islands. Results of a workshop on ‘Furthering coastal stewardship in small islands’, Dominica, 4–6 July 2001. Coastal region and small island papers 11. Paris: UNESCO. WILKINSON, C. (ed.). 2002. Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2002. Townsville: Australian Institute of Marine Sciences. research/coral-bleaching/scr2002/scr-00.html


The limits and the splendor of sustainable development. In spite of being so widely used, sustainable development is a rather debatable term and concept when applied in operational terms to large areas and regions with badly defined boundaries, and to the interactions among too many economic sectors (di Castri 2002 a). There are so many definitions and even opposite interpretations of this concept that – paradoxically – “it is now a term that inherently eludes definitions”. Nevertheless, nowhere else this concept can be better applied for real operational activities and proper management than in small islands and as regards tourism. If a solid theory and practice on sustainable development would really emerge in the future – and this should be a must for continuing using this term – most likely they will originate from research and management carried out in these areas (di Castri et al. 2002 a, di Castri and Balaji 2002). Inputs and outputs, of people (residents, new migrants, tourists), of capital and goods, of resources and even of invasive species can be easily measured, detected and observed in small islands. Even in the absence of an accurate and

sophisticated definition, local inhabitants and managers can easily and rapidly realize whether the four legs of the chair that support sustainability – the economic, the environmental, the social and the cultural ones – are unequally developed, undermined and to what extent (di Castri 1995). Economically, whether the flow of tourists is decreasing in quantity (both total number of tourists and permanence in nights) or deteriorating in quality and return, whether tourism concentration is becoming too seasonal, where other economic sectors in the island (local agriculture, fisheries, handicraft) are not backing and supporting enough tourism activities. Environmentally, whether coastal and soil erosion, degradation of coral reefs, deforestation, availability of freshwater, use of energy (with special emphasis on renewable energy), transport, waste management, land use (including urban planning), invasions of alien species are taking too serious adverse proportions. Socially, whether the gap between the rich and the poor in the island increases, thus usually leading to increased criminality that

Figure 1 Back in the horizon the emerging mountains of Bora Bora facing its “small sister” Maupiti and its lagoon.

Maupiti has adopted patterns of tourism development much more sustainable than those of Bora Bora.


badly affects tourism, whether there is a real economic return and welfare for local populations from outside operations, where the new expanding activities attract too many migrants from other regions and cultures, and whether the societal system value is collapsing. Culturally, whether the local language remains vigorous and represents really the first mother tongue, and it is not learned later as a kind of foreign language. No local culture is possible if it is not rooted in its own language. If this is not the case, even the mental representation and interpretation of facts and events are distorted. Neither quality nor sustainable tourism is viable, if they are not inserted in a genuine culture. Cultural pride, diversity and identity, to the extent that Francesco di Castri is Director of

Research at the National Center of Scientific Research of France (CNRS) in Montpellier, and leader of the SCOPE/ICSU (International Council for Science) project on Environment in a Global Information Society (EGIS), in Paris. He has been Assistant Director General of UNESCO, Paris, President of the international research program DIVERSITAS on biodiversity, and is member of the Academies of Sciences of Italy and Russia. He has authored or coauthored some 40 books and more than 500 scientific articles. E-mail:


they do not lead to the rejection of the others and to a kind of naive, false and exclusive genetic racism, provide local residents with the self-respect and self-recognition, and with the absence of preconceived prejudices or sense of inferiority and dependence, that are the sine qua non for sustainable tourism. Among all economic sectors, tourism is the one that can only survive if it strictly applies the principles of the trust economy. Given the paramount and growing importance of the cultural component of development, it is somewhat strange that so little attention has been given so far to culture as the key element for sustainability, even in large international fora as the one in Johannesburg last year. All the above conditions can be easily detected even in the absence of the so-called indicators of sustainable development. In my own research and development on small islands, they have proved to be of little use. The most misleading indicator is probably that of carrying capacity (di Castri 2000). Comparisons among islands from Polynesia, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean show that there are no linear relations between population size of residents and of tourists, local natural resources, surface size and sustainability. As an extreme example, the frequency of tourist visits, when considering the size of the island, is some 150 times higher in Porquerolles and 240 times higher in Port-Cros (two French islands in the Mediterranean Sea) than in Easter Island (politically Chile, geographically Polynesia). Yet, the terrestrial and marine environment of these two Mediterranean islands are well conserved, compared with Easter Island, where tourism and the environment are facing very serious problems of sustainability, embracing almost every aspect of island management. Sustainability does not depend just on inherent natural and demographic features, but – above all – on human knowhow and cultural adaptation, distribution and diversification of space use, and the existence of appropriate service and infrastructure. Two last characteristics on tourism sustainability are explained below. Tourism is the most sensitive factor to outside, out-ofcontrol events. For instant, the attack of 11 September 2001 has almost immediately



produced catastrophic consequences on the tourism of some small islands that were considered to be wisely and sustainably oriented. All the organization of tourism, the marketing system in different parts of the world, the cruiser tourism viability, and the very raison d’être of too large resorts, had to be drastically reviewed (di Castri 2002 b). A new paradigm for tourism sustainability in small islands has accordingly emerged. Tourism, to be sustainable, has to be early reactive and adaptive to change. Second, when some segments of sustainability become to decline, such as too many tourists not respectful toward the environment, criminality and tourist harassment, excessive urbanization, cultural degradation and trivial uniformity, lack of trust and control on quality and prices, tourism tends to initiate a progressively self-destroying cycle that is very difficult to be reverted. The number of tourists and the period of permanence decrease, the level and the cultural interest of tourists are lowering, prices are progressively collapsing, and discontinuation or bankrupt of several tourism operations become unavoidable.

Tourism sustainability in the global information society. It is often not sufficiently realized how much human society and its more or less sustainable activities have changed during the last 15 years or so, during the transition from the industrial to the information, knowledgebased society. This transition and the previous ones have been extensively illustrated in their

phases by di Castri (2002 c). Tourism is – by far – the economic sector that has been more reactive to this societal transition. Let’s consider and enumerate, for instance, the main causes that were leading to lack of tourism or to unsustainable tourism in small islands, before this period. Admittedly, the case applies more to distant, remote or underdeveloped archipelagos and islands, such as Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Cap Vert, Maldives, Seychelles, part of Macaronesia, part of the Baltic Islands, than to more advanced and fashionable Mediterranean and Caribbean islands or to the Canary Islands. Main causes and constraints were as follows: 1. Isolation and fragmentation, thus undermining the possibility of appropriate marketing and benchmarking, as well as that of organizing complex and diversified itineraries covering more than an island. 2. Very often, too low human population size in a given island for maintaining the dynamic culture evolution, including its own language, that is needed to keep and valorize the local identity when newly opening to tourism. 3. The impossibility for local inhabitants to initiate small tourism entrepreneurial activities by themselves, not going through large tourism operators, to advertise and marketing directly their tourism products, to receive direct booking and to accept payment by credit cards. 4. The impossibility to provide islanders with appropriate education in their own language; even less, to ensure continuous

Figure 2 Francesco di Castri and his Polynesian assistant Sping Teupoohuitua at the top of the Teurafaatiu

mountain of Maupiti, the most sustainable island of the entire Society archipelago (Autonomous Territory of French Polynesia).

capacity-building on tourism matters. 5. When there was tourism, this was then confined almost exclusively to large international tourism operators, with ofteninappropriate resorts or large tourism camps. Economic return to local population was low and based on dependence. Contacts between tourists and residents were insufficient, inappropriate and biased. They did not lead to interactions among cultures, mutual understanding and sharing aspirations and interests, that is the very raison d’être of tourism – from a cultural and social viewpoint – in a world so culturally fractured as it is the present one. At present, none of these five past constraints is still applicable. With the establishment of the information society and the new generation of information technology, the most isolated and small islands sharing similar culture and aspirations can be easily connected for cultural, educational and economic purposes. An impressive cultural Renaissance of local languages and art expressions is taking place, with special emphasis on Polynesia (Tahitian, Marquisian, Rapanui languages), and local identities are strengthened. Continuous e-learning provides unprecedented possibilities for education, capacity-building and training. There is a blooming of tourism microenterprises, often at a family level, often accompanied and backed by agriculture, fisheries and pearl culture. With an attractive web site for advertisement, in order to provide information and receive booking for accommodation, and with a small number of simple but appropriate housing, it is possible to initiate small-scale tourism activities in islands where this was considered impossible to be achieved, even only a few years ago (di Castri 2003 a). Even during the tourism crisis after 11 September 2001, small tourism operators and family micro-enterprises resisted better, and provided a greater diversification of activities, than large operators and resorts. Concepts and practices as those of digital islands, e-learning and Grid Technologies, VIAD (Virtual Institute for Alphabetization for Development) are becoming familiar – at present - for tourism viable development,

Figure 3a The atoll of Mataiva (Tuamotu Archipelago)

with its unique reticulated net of coral reefs inside the lagoon, thus delimitating some 70 basins of turquoise water. Mataiva has the potential of developing the most sustainable tourism of the overall archipelago, to the extent that mining exploitation and extraction of phosphates in the lagoon is prevented, including through international public pressure, given the uniqueness and worldwide significance of its lagoon.

Figure 3b The excellent, healthy status of the coral reefs

in the lagoon of Mataiva.

particularly at a small scale and with the involvement of local populations. Particularly relevant is the alphabetization for development. Alphabetization (mostly through e-learning) consists of making people aware of the two new languages that dominate the present world: the digital language and digital information provided by the new generation of computers and information technology as a product of cultural evolution, and the genetic language and genetic information provided by biodiversity and biotechnology as a product of biological evolution. Being illiterate in these two languages, most development opportunities are lost, not even envisaged or perceived by people (di Castri 2003 b). Possibility for local, distant populations to master such languages is surprisingly rapid and easy. di Castri et al. (2002 b) discuss and review the main applications of information technology to tourism sustainability in islands, going from better management and marketing, innovation in organizational patterns, enhancement of biological and cultural diversity, application of high performance tools, capacity-building, better health

care through telematics, and database on biodiversity. If small islands are – for reasons already discussed earlier - the best indicators of global change and adaptation (or lack of adaptation) to change, this situation applies – to different degrees – to all countries and regions of the world. The transition toward the global information society does not recognize boundaries. Nevertheless, globalization and international trade were only a minor concern during the UN Rio Summit in 1992 when the concept of sustainable development was first approved (but discussions on it, with only some minor differences, went back up to the UN Stockholm Conference in 1972). Ten years after Rio, last year (2002) in Johannesburg, sustainable development has been mostly discussed out of context of the ongoing information society. Most discussions in Johannesburg have led to a feeling of strange alienation from the realities of the present world. Again, it is desirable that research and development in small islands, more focused in space and more reactive to today realities, can help improving operational knowledge and practice on sustainable development in general.

Figure 4 Hiva Oa (Marquises Islands). The emblematic

tiki of Takaii, under a giant breadfruit tree (Artocarpus). Archaeological site of Lipona (Oipona), near Paumau. Takaii, sculpted on keetu, a red volcanic tuff, is the tallest tiki of Polynesia (2.67 m), not considering the moai of Easter Island.


The three main conditions for tourism sustainability in small islands. On theoretical, and – above all – empirical evidence, conditions of tourism sustainability in small islands can be found when the following three conditions are met, at least to a reasonable extent. 1. Empowerment of the local people and the emergence of their entrepreneurial capacity. They are the only actors capable of meeting their aspirations for development with their concern for conservation of their culture, their environment and their biodiversity. Conservation of cultural and natural heritage should be considered as a dynamic and continuously adaptive and evolving process, and not a simple preservation of the status quo, or of a hypothetical status quo ante. 2. Connectivity among all stakeholders concerned, from local populations to potential tourists, tourism operators and environmental managers. Aspects of in situ social cohesion and connection, as well those of international marketing and benchmarking are equally important, going from the local to the global scale. This implies a network-



based, decentralized approach, which is largely facilitated by new tools of the information technology. 3. Diversification of tourism activities themselves, and as placed in the context of economic diversification of other sectors. A tourism “monoculture” would be too risky in the current unpredictable society, and would not ensure per se conditions of sustainability. All aspects of cultural diversity (both the tangible and the intangible facets, language, traditions, system values) and of biological diversity (from genes to species, to ecosystems and landscapes) should be considered under this item. A more detailed characterization of conditions for tourism sustainability in small islands – a checklist to be monitored in a comparative way - is given as follows. They shape three blocks, with seven pillars in each one of them.

Access to bi-directional digital information Capacity-building, including distance learning Cultural pride and memory of traditions. Cultural revival (local language, arts, folklore) Sense of identity, based on cultural and natural heritage Acceptation, receptivity and adaptation to innovation and change Entrepreneurial capacity and potential of local people Administrative conditions of autonomy

• •

All elements of the community system in close interaction and cooperation among themselves Ability of the community to establish connections with other islands, and opening up to the global international tourism Enlargement of market place, channels of distribution and advertisement, marketing and benchmarking capacity Transport facilities (by air and by sea, also internal in archipelagos) Telephone, Internet and fax communications. Use and acceptance of credit cards Conditions of security and safety in the island Infrastructures, mostly for medical care, including tele-medecine facilities

• • • • • • • • • • •


of Paul Gauguin (called Koke by the Marquisians), dead in Atuona in 1903, under a fragrant tree of frangipani called locally “tipanier” (Plumeria), and a reproduction of his statue Oviri (“The Wild”).

• • • • • • •


Figure 5 Hiva Oa, Atuona, Marquises Islands. The tomb

Diversity of tourism uses (beach tourism, diving and snorkeling, trekking and land sports, horse riding, ecotourism, agrotourism, cultural and archaeological tourism) Appropriate daily and seasonal distribution of tourism activities, the main goals being those of increasing the permanence in nights, and to transform an occasional tourism in a destination tourism Diversity of tourism accommodations, from high level comfort (but strictly avoiding large resorts not fully integrated into the local cultural and natural environment), to in-house accommodation of local inhabitants Diversity of economic activities (tourism, agriculture, sheries, pearl culture, aquaculture, forestry, handicrafts, energy sources and uses, with special emphasis on renewable energy, elaboration of local products including for exports, services) Conservation and valorization of the biological diversity, mainly carried out by the local populations themselves, going from genes to species, ecosystems and landscapes. Main impacts affecting biodiversity in small islands are invasive species, soil erosion, overgrazing, overshing and coral reef degradation Landscape and seascape ecology and management, including designing and building new landscapes and seascapes, if so needed. Diversication of cultural attractions, from the oldest traditional ones to those derived from successive cultural encounters. Culture is an eminently evolving, and not xed, entity.


Local empowerment Out of the three boxes of sustainability, described below, I will only give some more consideration to local empowerment, since it represents the essential condition. With no empowerment, it would be impossible to reach the conditions of connectivity and diversification. Indeed, empowerment of people is the key factor. It is based on the renewed awareness and pride on the universal value of their culture and environment. Empowerment enables the local people to become actors and operators of tourism activities, so that the generation of economic wealth primarily benefits local societies. Together with the access to information, empowerment is promoted by opportunities for lifelong distance learning and capacity-building, and development of tourism-related skills. This process can foster cross-cultural exchanges approached with appropriate sensitivity. Moreover, isolated populations sharing the same culture can be connected through digital communication tools, so that they can reach a critical size for diversification of tourism products and services. In some situations, tourism has been shown as a catalyst in promoting the cultural revival and identity of a given region or ethnic group (di Castri 2000). It should be underlined again and strongly stressed, that conservation of biological and cultural diversity is merely a utopia or a pointless action, unless it is put into the context of development activities involving

local populations. They can become actors of conservation only to the extent that they are – above all – actors of their own development, and realize by themselves and in the practice of their daily life how linked and interdependent are these two processes. This is the so-called “contextualization” of the environment within clear development objectives, the only way to get realistic progresses in biodiversity conservation. This ineludible relation between development and environment applies everywhere, even in developed countries. No conservation of UNESCO sites of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, national parks, biosphere reserves is possible, out of the prestige given by what is much too often a simple international label with few management repercussions, unless it is clearly contextualized and applied within a development goal. The tourism sector is usually the most appropriate one. The seven main objectives of local empowerment are as follows (di Castri et al 2002 b): 1. Fostering community networks, to help communities make use of information and communication technologies to improve their living conditions, to identify resources to address social problems with the community, and promote the interaction between low-income groups with similar problems and needs, even if they stand at great distance. 2. Training community facilitators and promoters on how to manage the technique and its potential for tourism development. 3. Dissemination of information in the public domain. 4. Creation of basic job skills, to include computer use and application, business management, marketing and benchmarking, e-commerce.

5. Job creation, to increase employment opportunities through partnership with business and professional associations, and design an online database of job opportunities and applicants. 6. To facilitate and encourage entrepreneurships. 7. To establish partnerships so that different people and organizations can work together, in the most informal, free and flexible way, to address common interests and concerns. Out of the so dramatic situation of poverty in the world, out – above all - of all demagoguery, hypocrisy and inaction linked with this drama, I don’t know myself – empirically and conceptually - of any other action able to break the vicious circle of poverty, in the present world, out of the access to information and the empowerment of local populations. How does local empowerment emerge and strengthen itself? Is it a long process to be established? During the last 12 years or so, I have never observed the emergence of such a stimulating process of awakening to a new future – l’éveil - and of revival to a new life – a life made of hopes and achieved aspirations – in the absence of the access to the new type of bi-directional information (the Internet and e-mail). It should be stressed that access to information – in present society – does not mean only or mainly the capacity and ability to receive it. It is rather the capacity to elaborate and process it and – above all – to transmit it freely, with no censure, with no limitation, in the own mother tongue, to the person he/she likes, usually a neighbor or somebody of the same culture living at great distance. This feeling of freedom, of force of communication, is the first trigger toward empowerment.

When a person from a local population is in a position to receive this information, the first reaction is one of surprise. It is neither the usual State propaganda nor the usual centralized management guidelines, rarely applicable to specific situations with the immense variety of islands. The person realizes then that he/she has “a possibility of choice”, and this is the very definition of freedom and democracy. The person furthermore realizes that he/she can complement and modify that information on the basis of local experience and aspirations for development. This information is transmitted to a number of friends or associates, responses are almost immediately received, and this is at the origin of the first informal network. It should be realized that most societies from small islands, including the poorest ones, and in general all isolated and poor peoples of the world, consistently aspire to break free from their isolation through new communication devices, in order to establish closer and continuing contacts with people sharing the same culture and development goals, and with the rest of the world. Moreover, their ability to quickly learn and actively handle and manage the new techniques is remarkable, as is their intuitive understand of logic behind the functioning of a computer, or e-mail communication and surfing. The process of local empowerment can often be astonishingly rapid, but it should certainly be an evolving process of continuous refinement and achievement.

Figure 6 Easter Island, one of the islands of the world

where condition of tourism sustainability are among the lowest, because of totally inappropriate “bizarre” land management. Dramatic erosion processes in the oldest volcano of Poike, a site of extraordinary historical and archaeological interest (the moai are unusually sculpted on trachyte). Erosion has been provoked earlier by most intense overgrazing by sheep, and now by cattle and horses.


Local empowerment is also the best solution to respond to globalization in an adaptive and specific way, a specificity reflecting local resources and local aspirations. Only an appropriate, specific and “tailored” response, and not a generic and uniform one as at the time of the previous industrial society, has a chance of being competitive and successful in a period of globalization. How to call and to refer to “local empowerment” in other languages out of English? An appropriate translation does not exist. In Spanish, the words “apoderamiento” or “empoderamiento” are sometimes used. In French, mostly in Quebec (Canada) where people are very cautious of not using British forms, the new word of “autonomisation” has been coined. In Italy, and to a lesser extent in France, empowerment is used as such, as a non-translatable neologism. In Italy, the Polynesian word of mana is sometimes used as synonymous of empowerment. Mana is the spiritual, immaterial, internal power that gives the capacity to a given man or woman of taking in hands his/her own destiny, and the conviction, trust, strength and ability to master it. It is also the possibility of communicating at distance. When working in Polynesian societies, I have been since years explaining the potential power for them of the information technology, mostly for tourism development, and the reply has been consistently the same: “This is very simple and easy to understand. This is just mana”. In Polynesia, the two fundamental societal principles are those of mana and of tapu (translated into English in a very restricted, limited and even negative meaning as Taboo). Tapu represents the norms and the traditions, “the limits”, that an individual should absolutely avoid to infringe, break or overcome, if the social cohesion of the overall community has to be preserved. It is amazing to realize how many analogies, linkages and connections are there between the modern terms of empowerment and connectivity, largely derived from island research and management, and the so old ones – coming from the largest insular civilization of the world (Polynesia) – of mana and tapu.



Comparisons on sustainability Sustainability can better be evaluated by comparison with other equivalent islands than in absolute terms. Considering the main land and sea forms of tropical islands, three main types of islands are usually described: a) High islands surrounded by coral reefs, thus circumscribing a central lagoon; b) High islands with no coral reefs; and c) Atolls (only coral reefs and lagoon with no central mountain). They represent three stages of the geological evolution, the high volcanic islands with no coral reefs being the most recent ones, and atolls the oldest ones. No type of island seems to be more prone to tourism sustainability than other types. It is just a problem of cultural adaptation to change of local populations and of appropriate management. Those more appealing for tourism are the high islands with coral reef and lagoon, since they include all types of landscapes and seascapes. Figures 1 and 2 single out an outstanding case of sustainability in Maupiti, an island in the Society Archipelago.

Atolls are becoming increasingly appealing for tourism, along with the expansion of activities of diving and snorkeling. I single out in Mataiva (Tuamotu Archipelago) the most significant case of sustainability of an atoll, because of the unique features of its lagoon (Figures 3 a and 3 b), the high diversity of birds and fish, and the empowerment of the small local population. High islands with no coral reefs are often a case, among other activities, of cultural and archaeological tourism. This applies, for instance, to Rapa Iti (Australes Archipelago), the Marquises Islands in French Polynesia and – above all – to Easter Island (di Castri 1999). A more detailed comparison between one of the Marquises Island, Hiva Oa, and Easter Island is very appropriate, because of a number of similarities, as follows. 1. Hiva Oa and Easter Island are both high volcanic islands with no coral reefs. 2. Most likely, the first inhabitants of Easter Island came from the Marquises. 3. They both experienced demographic and cultural collapse, close to ethnic extinction, from the middle of 1800, and a surprisingly fast recovery last century.

Figure 7 Hiva Oa, Marquises Islands. The stele dedicated to the great poet, composer and interpreter Jacques

Brel, dead in 1977, looking at the islands of Hiva Oa and Tahuata. Brel is a charismatic and mythical figure for two-three generations of Europeans. Gémir n’est pas de mise aux Marquises (something like, “Complaining himself is meaningless when one lives in the Marquises”), the last verse written by Jacques Brel before his dead, is sculpted in the stele. The last poem and song of Jacques Brel “Les Marquises” is the best evoking, imaginative illustration of what is the feeling in an island, when conditions of sustainability and empowerment prevail.

4. The most impressive statues (moai and tiki) from Polynesia are in Easter Island and Hiva Oa. 5. Cannibalism was largely spread out in both Hiva Oa and Easter Island. However, while there is a kind of cultural pride in Hiva Oa for such sacred cannibalism with so sophisticated rituals (and the history of it is one of the tourism attractions), cannibalism is almost not mentioned in Easter Island (and – most likely – cannibalism in Easter Island had an alimentary scope rather than to represent a sacred societal function). 6. Both Hiva Oa and Easter Island have been evangelized by the Catholic Church, which is still dominant (unlikely most of Polynesia and the Pacific). 7. The ability and the extraordinary art and force for sculpting on stone and wood are still astonishingly widespread in both the Marquises and Easter Island. In spite of so many similarities, it would be difficult to imagine two societies that are more different – at present - in their behavior, aspirations and economic wealth than those of Hiva Oa and Easter Island, two islands managed in a more different way and following more distant principles, and two levels of tourism sustainability more diverse, very high in Hiva Oa and very low in Easter Island. In Hiva Oa, the Marquisian language is reborn and widespread, while in Easter Island some 77 % of children go to school having Spanish as the first language. Biological and cultural diversity is very high in Hiva Oa (Figures 4, 5 and 7), and local inhabitants participate to its protection and valorization, while land use and land management in Easter Island is one of the worst of the world, leads to the collapse of biodiversity and to almost inconceivable phenomena of soil erosion (Figures 6 and 8). Problems are intermingled and complex (di Castri 2003 c), but – if I were asked to evoke only one cause – I would say that Hiva Oa and the Marquises enjoy the very high level of administrative autonomy and political initiative within the French Polynesia Overseas Territory (with some special conditions of autonomy referring to the Marquises), while Easter Island stands like an almost undifferentiated part of the continental

Chilean territory and is managed like a large farm of Central Chile. This is in spite of the fact that nothing, from the cultural to the natural aspects, is in common between continental Chile and Easter Island. In other words, and taking the leitmotiv of this article, inhabitants of Hiva Oa enjoy since long


conditions of local empowerment, and those of Easter Island not yet. It is hoped that cultural and natural degradation in Easter Island would not become irreversible, before empowerment of local people be accepted and develops in a feasible and workable way.

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DI CASTRI F. 1999. Scenarios of tourism development in Easter Island. INSULA, International Journal of Island Affairs 8: 27-39.

DI CASTRI F. 2003 a. Tourism for community development and local empowerment. In: Proceedings EuroMAB 2002 Meeting. Rome: UNESCO and Academy of Sciences: 108-109.

DI CASTRI F. 2000. Ecology in a context of economic globalization. BioScience 50: 321-332. DI CASTRI F. 2002 a. Le développement durable, entre théorie et pratique, entre rêve et réalité. Liaison Energie-Francophonie. Numéro spécial Sommet de Johannesburg. 55-57: 38-45. DI CASTRI F. 2002 b. Tourism revisited after 11 September 2001. In: di Castri F. and Balaji V. (Eds.). Tourism, Biodiversity and Information. Leiden: Backhuys Publishers: 483-488. DI CASTRI F. 2002 c. The trilogy of the knowledgebased, post-industrial society: Information, Biodiversity and Tourism. In: di Castri F. and Balaji V. (Eds.). Tourism, Biodiversity and Information. Leiden: Backhuys Publishers: 7-24. DI CASTRI F. 2002 d. Diversification, connectivity and local empowerment for tourism sustainability in South Pacific islands – a network from French Polynesia to Easter Island. In: di Castri F. and Balaji V. (Eds.). Tour-

DI CASTRI F. 2003 b. Globalización, Biodiversidad, Desarrollo y Gobernabilidad. In: Darse Cuenta. Rosario, Argentina: AAPRESID: 11-53. DI CASTRI F. 2003 c. The dynamic future of Rapa Nui. Rapa Nui Journal 17: 44-48. DI CASTRI F. AND BALAJI V. (Eds.). 2002. Tourism, Biodiversity and Information. Leiden: Backhuys Publishers. DI CASTRI F., MCELROY J., SHELDON P. AND BALAJI V. 2002 a. Geographic regions: the Islands. Introduction. In: di Castri F. and Balaji V. (Eds.). Tourism, Biodiversity and Information. Leiden: Backhuys Publishers: 139-149. DI CASTRI F., SHELDON P., CONLIN M., BONIFACE P. AND BALAJI V. 2002 b. Information, Communication and Education for Tourism Development. Introduction. In: di Castri F. and Balaji V. (Eds.). Tourism, Biodiversity and Information. Leiden: Backhuys Publishers: 423-429.

Figure 8 Easter Island. Recent, over-embracing erosion in Poike, at different stages of advancement, including

in between the grasses. Result of overgrazing by newly introduced, heavy zebu Brahma cattle. The soils of the three main volcanoes of Easter Island are literally going to the sea. In spite of being a site of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage (nominated in 1995), the National Park of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is by far – among all islands studied – the one where the degradation processes are the most advanced and the management most unwise.





Introduction The perception that islands are representations of paradise and have thus avoided the impacts of human development is fast eroding. With growing populations, increasing tourism and fisheries pressure, many island coastal and marine ecosystems are threatened. Coral reefs, in particular are affected through landbased sources of pollution, coastal reclamation, destructive and uncontrolled fishing; as well as mass coral bleaching events, the most severe on record being in 1998 (HoeghGuldberg 1999). On the other hand, many studies have shown that coral reefs and associated ecosystems are critical for economic and sustainable development in islands (see Cesar, 2000). Coral Reefs support an estimated 25 to 34 million islanders, and services such as tourism (see Table 1) contribute about U$ 8.9 billion in foreign exchange earnings

in the Caribbean only, (Bryant et al. 1998). Following the bleaching event in 1998, one hotel in the Maldives reported over U$ 300,000 drop in revenues (MHAHE 2001). Coral reefs are clearly at the centre of economic development in island states. Furthermore, island inhabitants have traditionally depended upon coastal fisheries for food; coral and sand for construction materials, medicinal uses, and coastal protection. However, with the growth in tourism the number of conflicting activities has increased (UNESCO 2002), as indicated in Box 1 (Case Study 3). Tourism demands a more conservative approach to coral reefs and associated ecosystems, but many other coral reef users, such as fishermen think otherwise, seeing tourism as only benefiting investors with little money actually remaining in the local economy (UNESCO 2001).

The Stork patch reef in the Seychelles: before 1998 mass coral bleaching (Photo Courtesy of Riaz Aumeeruddy)


The article will focus on coral reef issues within Small Island Developing States (SIDS) rather than islands in general. Small island states have been defined as single islands or groups of islands which are independent political entities and have typically small land areas, large exclusive economic zones and a population under 1.5 million (Commonwealth Secretariat 2000). At least 34 island countries fall into that categorisation, mainly from the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific regions. Table 1 shows the characteristics of selected islands which have large areas of coral reefs. At least 60,000 km2, or 21% of global total of coral reefs areas lie within SIDS (See Table 1), with another 18 % found within Indonesia’s islands, which implies that at least 40 % of the worlds coral reefs are found around islands (Spalding et al. 2001). Three types of reef systems have been described in island situations: fringing, barrier, and atoll reefs however there are variations in the use of these terms since islands have very complex geological origins and changes through time.

Rolph Payet is the Chairman of the Board of Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology-Marine Parks Authority, and Director General for Policy, Planning and Services (Ministry of Environment). He is also PhD student with the University of Kalmar (Sweden), with a BSc in Biochemistry (UK), MSc in Coastal Management (UK), and an MBA (UK). His primary research interests include resource management, coral reefs, climate change and large marine ecosystems. P.O. Box 1145 Victoria, Mahe, SEYCHELLES Tel: +248 670431; Fax: +248 610647 Email:


Table 1 Characteristics and coral reefs in selected island states

Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda Bahamas Barbados Cuba Dominica Dominican Republic Grenada Haiti Jamaica St. Kitts and Nevis St. Lucia St. Vincent and the Grenadines Trinidad and Tobago Indian Ocean Comoros Maldives Mauritius Seychelles Pacific Ocean Cook Island Federated States of Micronesia Fiji Kiribati Marshall Islands Nauru Palau Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu TOTAL

Land Area (km2)

Population (000s)

Coastline EEZ Length (000s km2) (km)

Reef Tourism Area Receipts (km2) (% of GNP)

280 13,935 431 110,861 750 48,442 312 27,750 10,991 269 616 389 5,128

66 276 262 11,041 71 7,823 92 7,180 2,447 41 150 112 1,306

153 3,542 97 6,073 148 940 121 370 1,022 135 158 84 3,760

110 652 186 345 29 261 25 127 251 10 15 38 74

240 3,150 <100 3,020 <100 610 150 450 1,240 180 160 140 <100

63.4 42.0 39.2 8.8 15.9 13.6 27.0 3.9 31.6 30.6 41.1 23.8 4.2

2,171 300 1,850 445

653 254 1,117 81

340 644 177 491

175 996 1,291 1,334

430 8,920 870 1,690

10.6 95.0 15.7 34.6

236 720 18,272 728 181 21 497 2,842 28,446 697 26 14,763

NA NA 784 79 NA 11 NA 171 378 98 10 169

120 6,112 1,129 1,143 370 30 NA 403 5,313 419 24 2,528

1,830 2,980 1,217 3,600 2,131 436 601 120 1,630 700 757 680

1,120 5,440 10,020 2,940 6,110 <50 <50 490 5,750 1,500 710 4,110

19.2 19.6 2.8 19.3






Data extracted from GEO Data Portal (; Spalding et al., 2001; and Wilkinson, 2002; Nurse et al., 2001)

Early research indicated that the abundance and diversity of coral reefs are much higher around islands than along continental coasts (Nunn 1994). The reason for this is related to oceanographic factors which are more dominant in island situations than along continental coastlines. Coral reef diversity is also at its greatest where the Indian and Pacific Oceans meet. However, little is known how these factors influence reef growth and development in island areas, and why in some cases upward reef growth could not keep pace with the last Pleistocene sea-level rise, for example the ancient drowned atolls in the Marshall islands (Lincoln and Schlanger 1991). The importance of coral reefs has been recognised by many SIDS, especially through deliberations of various international meetings and processes such as the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the World Summit on Sustainable Development



(WSSD), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Ramsar Convention (UNEP 2003). Since the launching of ICRI in 1994, SIDS have played an important role in mobilising support for global commitment on coral reefs. At least 12 paragraphs of the WSSD implementation plan refer to the need to reverse the growing decline in coral reefs through coordination, cooperation, conservation, research, and partnership among stakeholders, as well as engage in sustainable fisheries and tourism. Paragraph 52 specifies that SIDS should manage their rich and diverse coral reef inheritance and support the development of SIDS-specific programmes on marine and coastal biodiversity. The CBD recognised the need to focus on marine and coastal biodiversity since its first Conference of the Parties (COP), and by the sixth COP had adopted a work programme to address the specific issue of coral reefs, the emerging

threat of mass bleaching and actions to reverse the physical degradation of coral reefs (Decisions I/7; VI/2; and Annex 1 & 2 of COP Report, decisions/ accessed on 23/10/03). At regional levels, the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Regional Seas Conventions have provided an important mechanism to address coral reef issues in SIDS. The Regional Seas network with support of the UNEP Coral Reef Unit provides an effective network for the implementation of key global programmes such as the International Coral Reef Action network (ICRAN) and the identification of key centres of excellence in coral reef and marine park management at regional level. For example, through the Nairobi Convention (encompassing the Indian Ocean islands), a Coral Reef Task Force was set-up to implement the Protocol on the Protection and Management of coastal and marine resources (COP3 2001).

State of Coral Reefs Comparable information on the current state of coral reefs in small island states has been sparse (Wells 1988) until 1997 with the formation of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) through the first ICRI meeting. GCRMN is currently a growing network of regional nodes, national monitoring programmes, regional partnerships and collaborations among various intergovernmental organisations. The first global coral reef status report was published in 1998 (Wilkinson 1998), and subsequently two updates have been published (Wilkinson 2000, 2002). These two reports form the basis of this section on the status of coral reefs in selected island states. Figure 1 summarises the relevance of the key threats to coral reefs within the small island states. Table 2 summarises the impact of coral bleaching in selected SIDS. The Caribbean The islands states in the Caribbean consist of large islands such as Cuba, and groups of small low-lying islands such as the Bahamas. Coral reefs in the Caribbean are well developed and can be grouped into fringing reefs, as well as patch (small isolated reefs in lagoons) and bank reefs. Coral reefs

Box 1: Cases from selected islands illustrating practical approaches and constraints to coral reef monitoring and management. Case Study 1: Community Approach to Coral Reef Monitoring and Management in Samoa

An approach to involve the community based upon the customary marine tenure is being implemented in Samoa. Initial outcomes resulted in the setup of well-defined fisheries reserves and marine protected areas falling under the direct responsibility of coastal villages. Leadership from village leaders as well as capacity building is observed as being critical to the success of the approach. In fact, compliance to local rules was found to be higher than those imposed by the national government, and now community by-laws are even being enforced by national authorities. However, consistent monitoring has been problematic since it depends upon factors of financial sustainability and training. Delineation of marine boundaries between villages is also unresolved in some areas, but overall the approach is seen as an acceptable mechanism for the management of coral reefs in Samoa. Source: MacKay, K. 2003

Case Study 2: Coordination of coral reef monitoring at national level in Seychelles

The Seychelles National Coral Reef Network (SNCRN) was setup in 1998 a few months prior to the catastrophic coral bleaching event of that year with a view to coordinate coral reef monitoring in Seychelles. Whilst it groups organisations working in the marine sector ranging from the government institutions to conservation NGOs, academic institutions and the dive and fishing industry, each organisation have their own monitoring programmes. It also provided links into regional programmes and with GCRMN and ICRI. The network is currently implementing a monitoring programme as part of a regional initiative, and several training activities have been organised. The SNCRN has provided an essential platform for partnerships to be made in monitoring and also sharing of knowledge and experiences. At first many organisations were doubtful the process would work, but it has proved to be critical in encouraging wider support from NGOs and the private sector. However the network has yet to address several critical questions related to coral reefs - such as sustainable financing of monitoring, monitoring methods, centralised database management or not, and coverage of existing network. Contributed by: Bijoux, J. 2003 Seychelles Centre for Marine Research & Technology

Case Study 3: Policy issues in the management of reefs in Trinidad and Tobago

The leasing of prime coastal property adjacent to reefs in Tobago for tourism development, without proper allocation of rights and consultation has lead to serious conflicts with local fishermen. The developer imposed three conditions of access on local fishermen: (i) need to pay to fish; (ii) need to define time to fish; and (iii) needs identification to fish. The resulting conflict led to government intervention and it was agreed the no entrance fees should be paid by fishermen, but they would only be required to enter at certain times and always carry identification. Due to a lack of a national framework for access rights an open access regimes dominate, causing losses to all parties when there are conflicts over use. Multiple uses of coral reef within coastal areas and marine protected areas system is critical in establishing long-term sustainable use of coral reefs in SIDS. Governments have a very important role to play in the definition of access rights and ensure coral reefs are managed for multiple uses as well and protected against degradation. Source: Potts, A. 2003.

throughout the Caribbean have little variation in the number and types of species, although there area variances in abundances (Edmunds et al. 1990). Reef development within this region are affected through surface runoff, wave exposure and periodical hurricane disturbances, and sea temperatures which are influenced by cool upwelling from nearby deep trenches and the Gulf stream. Hard coral diversity is high in most areas, although coral diseases have affected much of the hard coral cover (Goreau et al. 1988). Associated species and ecosystems includes over 500 species of fish, large areas of mangroves (especially on the larger islands, such as Cuba), and algal beds. Coral reefs and associated ecosystems have been seriously damaged over the last 20 years as a result of a combination of activities and natural effects. Growths in population and unplanned coastal tourism are the most likely causes of this degradation, but sedimentation arising from deforestation in the larger islands (such as in Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic) also have an important effect at local levels. Sewage pollution from tourism, large coastal cities and runoff from agricultural land are also important stressors on the coral reef environment. Over-fishing and land-based sources of pollution is a major cause of coral reef degradation in many areas of the Caribbean (UNEP 1999). Natural disturbances, such as mass deaths of sea urchins (Diadema antillarum), overgrowth of macro-algae, white-band and other coral diseases, and large-scale coral bleaching associated with elevated sea surface

Table 2 Impact of coral bleaching on reef mortality in the three SIDS regions and the proportion of reefs at risk Island State

Reef Mortality Pre-1998

Reef Mortality (bleaching event) Post-1998






Highest risk due to direct impacts




Highest risk due to elevated seasurface temperatures (SST)




Relatively unaffected but at risk form live coral trade and SST

Caribbean Barbados Trinidad & Tobago

21% 43% -

Indian Ocean


1-2% ~4% 46%

Comoros Mauritius Maldives Seychelles Pacific

~4% 5% 4%

40-50% 15% 60-90% 50-90% 5%


5% ~50%

Federal States of Micronesia Palau

Reefs at Risk Indicator Medium

Regional Summary High

Source: Wilkinson 200,2002; Bryant et al. 1998; Linden et al. (CORDIO) 2002); Goreau et al., 2000.Lore consequismodipit exero eugait ate dunt lan hent praese tatis nullan henit landit autpat dolore dolore magna commolor si ese commy nulla commoloreet alit alis dolut euis alit la consequisim dio odolobore consequisit landrem vullamcon utet wisi estrud


Table 2: Selected Regional Monitoring programs supporting coral reef monitoring in small island states. Regional Program


Coordination, Information management and Support

Scientific program since 1992, to study land-interaction process in the Caribbean. Recent focus shifted to coral reefs and other marine habitats. Regional network of 25 marine laboratories.

Operates through a network of observers which collect data on 1 or 2 monitoring sites per country. Data analysed at University of West Indies in a central database (the Caribbean Coastal Data Centre)

An international collaboration of researchers to evaluate coral reef condition in the Caribbean using a specific rapid assessment protocol. Assessments have already been undertaken on 500 reefs.

AGGRA is coordinated through the University of Miami and data is managed utilizing a purpose-built MS Access database.

Currently in its third phase since 1998, it main aim is to undertake multidisciplinary scientific assessments by local scientists. Focus extended to socioeconomic aspects and impacts of coral reef degradation.

Major funding is from the Swedish Development Agency. The Indian Ocean islands network is currently coordinated through the Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology. A database and GIS-based system will be developed

Coral Reef Monitoring in the Indian Ocean Islands

Initiated in 2000 through the Indian Ocean Commission to strengthen coral reef monitoring capacity in all islands of the Indian Ocean

Full size project funded through the GEF. The project is coordinated from Mauritius. A coral reef data management software is in final beta-testing phase.

Nairobi Convention Regional Seas Action Plan (ICRAN)

Initiated in 2000 to strengthen marine protected area management in the island states

Through the ICRAN project and with support from IUCN and WWF. The project is coordinated through Seychelles. The database is linked through the UNEP Map Server

Adoption of a common approach for the assessment of coral reefs, with focus on reef health, exploited resources, customary practices and management effectiveness.

Coordinated through the Moorea Research Centre (in French Polynesia) with support through the French Government

A program initiated in 1982 aimed at improving the management and sustainable conservation of coral reefs, in terms of capacity building and assessments. In-country studies to implement ICRI Resolutions

Specific work program on coral reefs; supported by member contributions, various donors, including the GEF. Activities implement through secretariat in Samoa.

Caribbean Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP) Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGGRA)

Indian Ocean Coral Reef Degradation in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO)

Pacific The Polynesia Mana monitoring Network

South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

Source: Reefbase, Accessed 23/10/2003; Wilkinson, 2002

temperatures also threaten the reefs in this region (Goreau et al. 1993). For example in the 1980s, the white-band disease caused a near elimination of Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) from the reefs throughout the region, causing major changes in the composition and structure of those reefs (Peters et al. 1983). Other diseases such as Black-band, white-pox and white-plague diseases are now common and still causes wide spread mortality in the Caribbean (Antonius and Ballesteros 1997). Hayes and Goreau (1998) argue that the emergence of coral diseases may have been caused by pollution of coastal waters and reduction in coralâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s normal defences, but indicate that further research is required to determine these linkages. The Western Indian Ocean The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region is different from the other two ocean regions as is flanked by two large continental masses (Africa and Arabia), and has a distinctive through flow exchange with the Pacific Ocean (Tomczak and Godfrey 2001). The reefs in the



Indian Ocean share strong biogeographical origins with the Indo-Pacific region, and coral species diversity does not decline along the equatorial belt from Indonesia to the WIO region in contrast to the eastern part of the Indonesia (Sheppard 2000). Consequently, coral reef diversity is high and many endemic species have been documented (Ahamada et al. 2002). The islands in the WIO are of volcanic (Comoros & Mauritius), continental granitic (Seychelles) and coralline (Maldives and some parts of the Seychelles). Dominant reef types include fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls (especially in Seychelles and the Maldives) (McClanahan, Sheppard and Obura 2000). Population growth and tourism development on the coastal plateau in the Seychelles and on the small coral atolls of the Maldives is on the increase, and in some areas, such as on the east coast of Mahe (Seychelles) and Male (Maldives) major reclamation projects have severely affected coral reefs in the immediate area (Payet 1999). Coral reefs on the outer islands of the Seychelles are however devoid of such pressures. There

have been reports of coral reef extraction for construction in Comoros (Ahmed 1988) but this is still ongoing, despite evidence of accelerated beach erosion in the Comoros (Payet et al. 2003). Over-fishing is also a threat to coral reefs in all of the islands in the region, and evidence of blast fishing have been recorded some parts of the WIO (Salm, Muthiga and Muhando 1998). In Mauritius, the reefs are already affected through over-fishing and pollution discharges from agriculture and industry (Turner 1999). By far the largest impact on reefs in the Indian Ocean has been the severe mass coral bleaching linked to elevated seas-surface temperatures (SST) in 1997/1998 where in Seychelles, for example 90% coral reef cover mortality was observed (Linden & Sporong, 1999). In Comoros and Mauritius, coral cover loss as a result of the mass coral bleaching was 50% and 15%, respectively. The most affected species were the Acropora spp. Thereafter several bleaching events linked to elevated SST have been recorded in Seychelles since 1998 (Wendling et al.

2003).Recovery of the reefs has not been uniform across the region, and the recovery rate has generally been very low (Linden et al. 2002). Evidence of recruitment in the inner granitic Seychelles is also slow and recovery would be affected in the long-term if there are recurrent bleaching events and direct pressures are not reduced (Engelhardt et al. 2002). Coral recovery in uninhabited and remote areas such as the Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles) likewise is also slow but surveys undertaken from 1999 to 2001 indicates that the diversity of coral families being recruited is high (Stobart et al. 2002). Pacific Ocean The Pacific region is a vast region with almost 40% of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coral reef areas. Pacific island states can be grouped into (i) Melanesia (south-western Pacific Ocean, e.g. Fiji, the Solomon islands and Vanuatu); (ii) Micronesia (central and western Pacific, e.g. Palau, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Kiribati), and (iii) Polynesia (eastern Pacific, e.g. Tuvalu, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook islands). Melanesia is dominated by high volcanic islands where fringing and barrier reefs are well developed and extensive. The Great Sea Reef in Fiji extends over 370 km and is one of the largest in the region (Wilkinson 2002). Patch reefs also occur. Micronesia, on the other hand consists of groups of scattered archipelagos (Spalding et al. 2001). Palau, which is of mixed geological origins (volcanic and carbonate limestone), exhibits very high levels of coral reef diversity, with an estimated 425 species of corals, 300 species of sponges and 1 278 reef fish species. Other associated ecosystems include patches of seagrass beds and some mangrove areas. Atolls and several island archipelagos litter the large area of the Polynesian sub-region. However, species diversity is quite low, owing to its distance from the Indo-Pacific region. Overall, the condition of the reefs in the Pacific island states region are the healthiest on the planet (Bryant et al. 1998), but increasing human pressure as well as mass coral bleaching episodes are also threatening reefs in these isolated areas (Salvat 2001). Over-exploitation of reef species, especially for the live trade, is considered to be the largest direct threat. Whilst Pacific island

fisheries is largely subsistence, commercial and exports of invertebrate catches such as mollusks, shrimps, clams, sea cucumbers, and the pearl shell is increasing. Furthermore, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Tonga account for almost 25% of global live coral exports (Wabnitz et al., 2003). Destructive fishing methods such as dynamite and poisoning (the Derris root), chronic in South East Asia, is also on the rise (Adams and Dalzell, 1996). Strong traditional and customary practices that prevail in many Pacific island states may play a role in reversing present trend; see Box 1 (Case Study 1). The threat from mass coral bleaching is also a major issue for the future status of coral reefs in the Pacific region (Wilkinson 2002). The extent of the bleaching in 1998 and consequent reef mortality has been the most severe in Fiji and extending to the Cook Islands. In contrast to other SIDS region,

the effects of bleaching have less disastrous, but there are signs of increasing bleaching incidences with Acropora spp. also being the most common species affected.

Monitoring A number of international organisations have implemented coral reef and associated monitoring programmes in small island states, such as the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the Coral Reef Alliance, Conservation International, the World Fish Centre, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Nature Conservancy, UNEP, UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the World Bank, World Resource Institute, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) among others. Several Governments, through their bilateral overseas development pro-

Figure 1: Matrix showing the major threats to coral reefs in selected small island states

Data Extracted from: Wilkinson 1998, 2000, 2002; Bryant, et al., 1998; UNESCO, 1994; Linden et al., 2002


grammes have also contributed, for example Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States., among others. Collaborations with universities and research centres in some SIDS, for example the Univeristy of West Indies (Caribbean), the University of South Pacific and South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), have also contributed significantly to the wealth of information on coral reefs in islands states. The International Society for Reef Studies, which publishes a specialised journal dedicated to coral reef research, offers important networking among coral reef scientists. Global coral reef datasets maintained by Reefbase, a user friendly web accessible database with information on the status of coral reefs, have supported various SIDS with data management capacity. However, many areas remain to be tackled to address the global decline in coral reefs. There are at least two major global coral reef monitoring programmes and networks which all include SIDS: the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) and ReefCheck, which have recently become operational. GCRMN operates through a series of regional nodes, e.g. the Indian Ocean Commission and the Polynesian ‘Mana’ nodes, whilst ReefCheck, works through national coordinators (See Box 1, Case Study 2 for example of linkages with national programmes). In the Caribbean, the Reef Check program has proved to be very effective in extending the coverage of existing

monitoring programmes (Garzon-Ferreira et al. 2000). Although ReefCheck uses very simple reef monitoring protocols primarily aimed at volunteer recreational divers and community-based groups, the quick results generated could be useful in providing global coral reef status cost-effectively. There is no network joining coral reef scientists and institutions across the three main SIDS regions. As summarised in Figure 2, these regions share similar problems and a network for interaction and exchange can provide a much better perspective for managers involved in the research and management of coral reefs in SIDS. However, at regional levels a number of monitoring programmes are in place in the SIDS regions as summarised in Table 3, but coordination among these various programmes has not been entirely successful. One reason is that sites are monitored differently and at various scales (Wilkinson 1998). The Indian Ocean Commission decide in 1998 to publish acceptable protocols for use at regional levels (Conand et al. 1999), but there is still disagreement as to which methods are most effective in monitoring changes and status of coral reefs. Some monitoring programmes are only short-term and hence long-term datasets are unavailable for most regions of the world. For example, in Fiji long term data sets are only available for the Suva Reef which is located in proximity to the University of the South Pacific (Richmond et al.

2002). Consequently access to datasets in a comparable format which can then be easily used for management presents an emerging challenge. In the Federal State of Micronesia (Pacific), a database has been established; however the data is submitted to the World Fish Centre (previously ICLARM) for analysis. In the Indian Ocean islands software based database, COREMO, is being developed and tested to facilitate analysis of coral reef monitoring data for specific management purposes (Bigot et al. 2003). In many SIDS, the private sector has also funded and been involved in numerous long-term monitoring programs and have generated important datasets especially for remote areas. For example, surveys of pearl oyster populations in the Pacific by the private sector have often included reef and benthic surveys. The involvement of local communities in coral reef monitoring is also increasing. One example, in Samoa, a pilot village coral reef monitoring project was initiated in 1998. Villagers were trained, equipped and encouraged to monitor the status and health of their own coral reef resources with minimal government intervention (MacKay 2003).

Coral Reef Management Priorities Coral reef management priorities is small island states is not uniform across the three regions as indicated by Table 4, but a number of priority issues are common, and can be addressed inter-regionally. There are many

Table 3 Major Coral Reef Regional Monitoring Programmes in the SIDS Regions Management Priorities


Indian Ocean

Pacific Ocean

• •

• • •

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

• •

• • • • •

• • • • •

• • • • •

1. Policy and Institutions Stronger political will for conservation of coral reefs and associated resources. Improvements in existing police, legislation and effectiveness in enforcement. Framework for regional cooperation and coordination of activities. 2. Monitoring, Management and Research Development of sustainable resources for long-term representative coral reef monitoring. Implementation of coral reef resource management. Strengthening of coastal zone management frameworks. Establishment of representative marine protected areas through community involvement. Participatory approaches in monitoring, management and research. Determine carrying capacities of coral reefs for sustainable tourism and fisheries. Research to focus on stressed areas to reduce direct human impacts. Adaptive or coping mechanisms for mass coral bleaching events and related impacts. 3. Information & Capacity Building Further capacity building for monitoring and resource management. Provide reliable access to information and database. Further inventory and mapping of coral reef resources. Consistent education and awareness programs at all levels of the society. Establish meaningful linkages between public sector, NGO and private sector agencies Source: Wilkinson, 2000 & 2002; Reefbase (accessed 23/10/03);



• • • • •

Table 4: Coral Reef Management Priorities in SIDS Management Priorities


Indian Ocean

Pacific Ocean

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

• • • • •

• •

• • • • •

• • • • •

• • • • •

• •

• • •

1. Monitoring, Management and Research Development of sustainable resources for long-term representative coral reef monitoring. Implementation of coral reef resource management. Strengthening of coastal zone management frameworks. Establishment of representative marine protected areas through community involvement. Participatory approaches in monitoring, management and research. Determine carrying capacities of coral reefs for sustainable tourism and fisheries. Research to focus on stressed areas to reduce direct human impacts. Adaptive or coping mechanisms for mass coral bleaching events and related impacts. 2. Information & Capacity Building Further capacity building for monitoring and resource management. Provide reliable access to information and database. Further inventory and mapping of coral reef resources. Consistent education and awareness programs at all levels of the society. Establish meaningful linkages between public sector, NGO and private sector agencies 3. Policy and Institutions Stronger political will for conservation of coral reefs and associated resources. Improvements in existing police, legislation and effectiveness in enforcement. Framework for regional cooperation and coordination of activities. Source: Wilkinson, 2000 & 2002; Reefbase (accessed 23/10/03);

lessons to be learned in-between regions, especially since there are several on-going initiatives as shown in Box 1. However, many gaps exist which are further elaborated below. It is to be emphasized that monitoring is one of the most important tools for reef managers and policy-makers alike to enable tracking of changes in the reef ecosystem, and attention on sustainability of monitoring programmes is a key to maintaining longterm data sets (Westmacott et al. 2000). Monitoring, Management and Research Monitoring before the 1997/1998 mass coral bleaching was limited to a few stations in selected SIDS. The need to understand the extent and impacts of the mass coral mortality turned into monitoring for recovery, and restoration (Westmacott et al. 2000). Monitoring not only provides coral reef status but also supports the management and restoration of degraded ecosystems. Since monitoring is expensive and human resource demanding any long-term monitoring programme for recovery and restoration requires firm financial commitment. Many sustainable financing strategies have been developed and implemented successfully in many areas of the world (Hatziolos et al. 1998). Examples include utilising revenues from marine protected areas, community involvement, universitybased programmes and increasingly difficult - dedicated national budget. Various management approaches, such as coastal management and resource manage-

ment have not yet been implemented in SIDS. These management approaches provides integrated frameworks for implementing sustainability in the use of coral reefs (Haq et al. 1997). One such example discussed earlier is the reef fishery community program setup in Samoa. The determination of carrying capacities of marine ecosystems is still an emerging approach which depends upon a range of data sets such as coral reef health, visitor impacts, fishery yield estimates and socio-economic data. However, the tool is seen as a very essential policy tools to guide governments in the development of coastal areas with minimum impact on coral reefs. A strong need for participatory management of marine protected areas (MPAs), especially through the involvement of local communities has been expressed in all three regions (Wilkinson 2002). Rightly, many case studies have shown that local ownership and equitable rights allocation of coastal marine resources will improve marine protected area management, enable recovery of coral reefs, reduces incidences of poaching and increased the tourism value of such sites. MPA play a key role in reef recovery and an exercise to identify reef areas which are least damaged and representative of the marine ecosystem in tat areas and in the regional biogeographical context is also an important consideration (Roberts 1998). The continued mass coral bleaching is of considerable concern to SIDS, even at political level. For example, the Seychelles Parliament requested a special report on coral

bleaching and its effects on the economy. Linkages to climate change research are important but capacity is required. Only a small number of coping and adaptive measures have been proposed but are yet to be implemented in SIDS. Information & Capacity Building Information management forms the core of any coral reef monitoring and management programme. There is, indeed, a number of coral reef monitoring protocols and database systems, but it is highly unlikely one system will be utilised although Reefbase has successfully put together a system in which longterm data sets and comparative analyses can be made. Capacity is critical to the management of data on coral reefs and access to coral reef data should not be limited to scientists but to local communities and other stakeholders. All of the SIDS regions expressed the need for continuous inventory of coral reef areas and species (Wilkinson 2002). Specifically, the Pacific region recommended that taxonomic training is provided and guides prepared to enable researchers to identify coral species and other associated species. Mapping, utilising geographical information systems is becoming a useful interface for the analysis of coral reef data. Software have also been developed which can allow, based upon input data, sites based upon ecosystems and species representativeness and risk to be mapped for management purposes (Margules & Pressey, 2000). Education and awareness programmes exist in all regions, however the effectiveness


of these programmes in changing people behaviour in the short term is not known. Capacity building in the development of media programmes and activities in schools is clearly lacking. Many SIDS have developed coral reef packs, which can be used as part of the curriculum or as a science activity. Integrating coral reef education in government and education bodies through the development of specific programmes have been shown to be very effective, as motivation to protect coral reefs is well accepted when there is collective agreement. Meaningful linkages between Government, NonGovernmental Organisations (NGOs) and the Private sector are critical challenges in many SIDS. For example, monitoring of coral reefs by the private sector in some islands in the Pacific, engages the entire organisation in the process. Policy and Institutions A number of island states have developed and adopted a number of legal instruments and policies aimed at managing fisheries, for example the prohibition of use of destructive fishing practices such as dynamite (Wilkinson, 2002). However, stronger political will is needed so that such bans can be extended regionally. Regulations to establish standards for pollution emissions is also lacking in the

majority of SIDS although there has been considerable effort done within regional programs such as within the SPREP. The adoption of mandatory Environmental Impact Assessments for tourism projects is also not uniformly implemented within SIDS. Consequently, a review and adequacy of existing legislation and policies aimed at the protection and management of coral reefs may be required at national and regional levels. Enforcement and other command-andcontrol approaches, seems to remain to be one of the most critical aspects of management of coral reefs, although other attempts such as community-based management approaches and economic incentive-based mechanisms are being explored. Enforcement capacity is extremely weak across SIDS and specific strategies needs to be developed to ensure better surveillance and convictions of offenders. Convicting fishermen is a very delicate political issue in many SIDS, resulting in the continuous decline of many reef ecosystems. Regional cooperation provides a critical platform for exchange of experience and the opportunity to develop regional agreements such as those under the regional seas. Through regional programmes, countries can seek to implement various CBD and ICRI resolutions on coral reefs in a more cost-

effective manner, since island states typically suffer from problems of financing and human capacity. Regional cooperation also allows for the exchange of information and expertise which can provide systems of early warning and adaptation in cases of extreme storm events and mass coral bleaching. Existing regional networks should therefore be strengthened with a view to develop regional coral reef task forces with mandate to address at political and technical levels a number of management priorities discussed here.

Conclusions SIDS have very strong dependence on coral reefs, but increasing pressures threatens not only the reefs but also the livelihood and sustainability of island people. Since SIDS depends upon coral reefs for tourism, recreation and fish (as the main source of protein) any negative will lead to potential losses in revenue, employment as well as basic necessities such as food. Evidence from the global monitoring reports strongly indicates that many reefs within SIDS are in serious decline as a result of direct human exploitation. In much the same way as droughts affects many parts of Africa; coral mortality as a result of episodic elevated sea surface temperatures constitutes, has lead to widespread mortality of reefs in SIDS. It is therefore imperative that the international community and SIDS governments take urgent action to address those declining trends, and consider the development of implementable coping measures. Ideally, a proactive process should be engaged to further develop the recommendations presented in this paper with a view to address on the ground concerted and participatory actions to reverse the current trend.

The Stork patch reef in the Seychelles: after 1998 mass coral bleaching (Photo Courtesy of Riaz Aumeeruddy)




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The Brown tree snake became established on Guam about the time of World War II. It has reached very high population densities and has eliminated 9 of 11 native bird species on Guam. Virtually all Pacific islands are at risk of being similarly invaded. (Photo by USGS, Tom Fritts/ Gordon Rodda) by

Background Humans have been moving species of animals and plants beyond their native ranges, both deliberately and inadvertently, and many of these species have become established and spread. The phenomenon is increasing to the point that biological invasions have become a widespread and significant component of global change (Vitousek et al. 1997), and the term “invasive species” is currently widely applied to the non-native species that cause damage. It has long been known that invasive species establish more easily on oceanic islands and that island animals, plants, and human well-being are highly vulnerable to effects of invasions. Some of the more dramatic recent examples of effects of invasive species on islands include the following: • The invasive neotropical tree Miconia calvescens has demonstrated in French Polynesia that it is capable of establishing in the shaded understory of moist forest of Pacific islands, rapidly gaining complete canopy dominance, and drastically impoverishing biodiversity (Meyer 1996). M. calvescens was introduced to Tahiti in 1937; by the 1990s, displacement by this aggressive invader alone had reduced 40-50 endemic plant species to the verge of extinction (Meyer and Florence 1996). Spread to other islands in French Polynesia (tiny seeds hitchhike on dirty construction equipment, for example) is rampant in spite of precautions to date. M. calvescens was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the early 1960s and is now the most problematic invasive plant species in the high islands of that archipelago with annual

containment costs (on four islands) currently in excess of $2 million per year. • Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) was once just another ordinary snake native to the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and northern Australia. It became established on Guam about the time of World War II and has since attained population densities of 4,000-12,000 per km2 (10,000-30,000 per mi2), feeding on birds, rats, shrews, and lizards. Nine of the 11 native bird species on Guam in 1945 have been eliminated by the snake (Savidge 1987). Guam is a hub of transportation, thus the high densities of snakes and their nocturnal habits make the probability of stowaways in air and ship cargo very high. Spread to some islands of the Northern Marianas has already occurred. Virtually all Pacific islands are at risk of being invaded. Measures are in place, funded by several U.S. agencies, to reduce snake populations at ports and conduct surveillance of cargo leaving Guam for Hawaii, but cooperation by the shipping companies is voluntary, not mandatory. Nevertheless, whereas seven brown tree snakes had been detected during 1981-94 in Hawaii, in association with flights from Guam, none have been detected in Hawaii since 1994. • Traditionally, the most important food plant in Samoa was taro (Colocasia esculenta, Araceae), and in the early 1990s taro was the main agricultural export of those islands. An epidemic of taro leaf blight struck Samoa in 1993-94. All Samoan taro cultivars were susceptible to the fungus (Phytophthora colocasiae), and production in both (Western) Samoa and American Samoa was quickly reduced to near zero. Production started to


recover by 1998 after blight resistant cultivars were introduced from Palau, but prices had more than quadrupled (Anonymous 2000). • Australian researchers (O’Dowd et al. 2003) recently described what they referred to as “invasional meltdown” on Christmas Island in the Indian ocean south of Java, involving the invasive ant Anoplolepis gracilipes and two non-native scale insects. The researchers had been since the late-1980s studying the island ecosystem, especially notable because of the important role of red land crabs. Their

Lloyd Loope is a Research Scientist with the Pacic Island Ecosystems Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, based on Maui, Hawaii. Educated at Oberlin College, Virginia Tech, and Duke University (Ph.D. in Botany, 1970), Loope has 30+ years of experience in conservation science, including 23 years in Hawaii. He has some international experience, having worked with Unesco’s Man and Biosphere Program for 18 months in the mid-1970s. His current professional interests center on strategies for averting obliteration of ecosystems and biota of Hawaii and other oceanic islands through improved management of existing biological invasions and prevention of new ones. U.S. Geological Survey, Haleakala Field Station, P.O. Box 369, Makawao, Maui, HI 96768 Phone: 808-572-4470; fax: 808-572-1304; email: David A. Helweg is Deputy Director of the Pacic Island Ecosystems Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey and is highly engaged in developing research strategies and tools for addressing invasive species issues. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii in 1993, his M.A. from the University of Hawaii in 1989, and his B.A. from Amherst College in 1981. Dr. Helweg has studied comparative socioecology in cetaceans, and has introduced several new methods for analysis and automated classication of animal vocalizations. He has over 40 publications in the domains of animal biosonar, bioacoustics, and behavioral biology. Pacic Island Ecosystems Research Center, St. John 408, University of Hawaii, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822.


research had shown that the native crabs have a controlling effect on the forest structure; the understory was largely eliminated by feeding of the omnivorous crabs during cycles when they were abundant. Beginning in the mid1990s, supercolonies of the ant began to build up and spread, eventually eliminating the crabs locally over about 20% of the island. The cause of the dramatic local ant population buildup was exploitation by the ants of the honeydew food source produced by the scale insects in the forest canopy, in well-known, though usually less dramatic, ant-insect mutualism. The ant populations killed all crabs within the most vigorous ant supercolonies. Meanwhile, the forest canopy is dying because of sooty molds encompassing almost the entire leaf area of the forest canopy (O’Dowd et al. 2003), promoted by honeydew produced by the scale insects. Similar invasive ant-scale insect mutualisms have caused severe decline of Pisonia forest on Rose Atoll (Samoa) and Palmyra Atoll (Line Islands) and probably elsewhere. Of significant concern is the opportunistic nature of ant-insect mutualism leading to forest death, potential for which increases with the spread of invasive ants and scale insects. • Few endemic Pacific land snail species can now be regarded as secure, largely as a result of predation by the prolific and voracious snail Euglandina rosea, first introduced by

the Hawaii Department of Agriculture in 1958 as an agent to control, unsuccessfully, the giant African snail (Achatina fulica), which reached Hawaii in 1936 as an ill-advised and worthless food source (Cowie 2000). Tragedy for native Pacific biodiversity unfolded as both the African snail and its purported biocontrol agent were spread purposely by humans to most island groups. Extinction in remote island forests is always difficult to document but one of the best cause-and-effect cases ever reported was that of researchers on Moorea (French Polynesia), where endemic land snail (14 species of Partula) populations had been studied for genetic and evolutionary insights since the 1920s. Achatina was introduced to Moorea by 1970, followed by Euglandina in 1977. Researchers documented the spread of Euglandina and decline of the endemics; by 1987, no Partula were found (Johnson et al. 1984; Murray et al. 1988). Sadly, similar scenarios played out without documentation across the Pacific. Though Euglandina has not yet reached all islands, only concerted efforts at prevention will stop the continued spread. A recent note by Meyer (2003) confirms that endemic snails still thrive on an island (Ua Huka) in the Marquesas (French Polynesia) where Euglandina is absent. • The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA; Solenopsis invicta), native to South America and dispersed primarily through human com-

Arriving containers at the Port of Auckland. New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is at the forefront of exploring techniques for reducing the risk of pest introduction via burgeoning sea and air container traffic. (Photo by Philip Thomas, USGS.)

merce, has invaded over 120 million hectares in the southern United States since the 1930s in spite of a federal quarantine by the U.S. Depatment of Agriculture (USDA). It is a serious threat to public health and safety, industry, biodiversity, water quality, economy, and quality-of-life. Its aggressive nature and powerful sting have caused the deaths of at least 83 people, injury to tens of thousands of people annually, and injury and death of wildlife, livestock, and pets (Vinson 1997). Its broad diet, which includes plants and animals, has caused substantial agricultural damage and declines in biodiversity. RIFA reached California in 1998 and Queensland, Australia, in 2001. It is still sparse in California, but is very likely to spread widely in the state to locations including four major international airports and the largest shipping port on the west coast (Long Beach). This situation poses an immense threat to Hawaii and other Pacific islands. Australia is still very much involved in an eradication effort for RIFA, but the threat from Australia cannot be discounted. Within the past 20 years, RIFA has invaded numerous Caribbean islands from Florida – all the way to Trinidad (Davis et al. 2001) – and is capable of doing the same in the Pacific unless concerted action is taken. Based on a preliminary risk assessment for Hawaii, RIFA could occupy most habitats except rainforest, from sea level to above 3000 m elevation. Wherever RIFA reaches Pacific islands, it is likely to be extremely damaging to biodiversity, economy, and culture. Impacts to human quality-of-life can be expected to be most serious in island societies where living is close to the land. Biodiversity impacts will likely be most severe in archipelagoes where native fauna largely or entirely evolved in the absence of predatory ants and is consequently extremely vulnerable to aggressive ants (Gillespie and Reimer 1993).

Islands have special need for invasive species prevention Given the severe consequences of invasions for islands, one might assume that citizens of the world would exercise special care for oceanic islands through adopting stringent measures for preventing new invasions – but largely that has not been the case. The



agriculture and biodiversity) can work well – given political will, public support, flexible government, and ability to cooperate across sectors. New Zealand’s seemingly workable model may provide an inspiration for other islands of the world.

How are some island groups coping with the challenge of invasive species prevention?

On the island of Maui, Hawaii, over US$1,000,000 is currently being spent annually to contain the aggressive invader Miconia calvescens to protect native biodiversity and watersheds. (Photo from

concept of quarantine originated in 14th century Venice for protection of human populations from ships harboring bubonic plague. Sustained border-protection quarantine was first adopted by many governments near the end of the 19th or early 20th century to prevent spread of agricultural pests, one of the more dramatic of which was the infection of vineyards in Europe in the 1860s with the North American plant louse Phylloxera. There has been an evolution over the ensuing century toward common standards among countries for border protection quarantine. This has led to the currently definitive Treaty for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO 1998). The treaty is managed by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization which is also responsible for implementing the closely related International Plant Protection Convention (FAO 2001). A major challenge, especially for islands concerned about protecting their biodiversity, is the largely agricultural focus of the borderprotection quarantine system worldwide, a system built by and for agricultural interests. This means that to be effective, biodiversity interests have to work with agricultural interests, and must be prepared to work towards development of mutual confidence and capacity. But, as suggested below, New Zealand (Aotearoa) is demonstrating that a hybrid system (for protection of both

Hawaiian Islands The Hawaiian Islands comprise a worldrenowned microcosm of biological evolution in a diverse, isolated island system, with roughly 10,000 species of animals and plants endemic to the archipelago (Miller and Eldredge 1996). One might expect Hawaii, as part of the USA, to possess a first-rate system of border protection, but this is not the case, in spite of its dramatic vulnerability to invasions. One entomologist (McGregor 1973) calculated 30 years ago that, given the fact that Hawaii had roughly the same number of established non-native insect and mite species as the continental United States, the rate per unit area of introduction to Hawaii was 500 times that of the rest of the United States. Invasive species prevention in Hawaii is very complicated because Hawaii is a state of the United States. A main quarantine concern for the United States involves protecting mainstream agriculture in California and other states from fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) and other pests which reached Hawaii long

ago. When Hawaii was still a U.S. territory in 1912, the U.S. instituted a major quarantine to prevent fruit flies from reaching the U.S. mainland. This program persists today. Federal inspectors at Hawaii’s airports screen baggage and hand carried items for passengers bound for the U.S. mainland. In contrast, the quarantine for protection of Hawaii from pests from the U.S. mainland is funded and implemented not by the federal government but by the state government, which has limited jurisdiction. A further problem is that federal inspection of international arrivals focuses on essentially the same target pests of concern at all U.S. ports for protection of mainstream agriculture, and the state has no authority to inspect international arrivals. Moreover, coordination between federal and state efforts for dealing with specific shipments is complex and ineffective. The highest current priorities of the State of Hawaii’s border protection include: Rabies, Brown Tree Snake, Red Imported Fire Ant, and the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus. Federal programs provide major assistance for protection from Brown Tree Snake but not for the others. Invasions continue unabated and pose overwhelmingly the greatest current threat to Hawaii’s endemic biodiversity, while also jeopardizing the state’s economy, agriculture, health, and quality-of-life. Hawaii’s needs for prevention and management of invasive species are substantial, and it is clear that those needs are not nearly being met (OTA 1993).

Miconia calvescens, an invasive tree from the neotropics, has demonstrated clearly in Tahiti its ability to displace Pacific island forests and obliterate native biodiversity in moist environments. The understory of miconia-invaded forest is devoid of vegetation. (Photo by Jean-Yves Meyer, Delegation de la Recherche, Polynesie Francaise.)


There has been much interest for more than a decade in Hawaii in improving efforts for prevention of invasions (e.g., NRDC/TNCH1992; Holt 1996), but to date little or no improvement is apparent, a situation that clouds the future of biodiversity in the Hawaiian Islands (Loope 1998; Loope et al. 2001). The reasons for slow progress of the federal-state political system towards improvement of Hawaii’s border protection are complex, but involve inadequate (though growing) state and federal public and political understanding and the lack of broad pressure for change in the face of the many competing problems of modern society. No single agency can be blamed for the current lethargy. Unless this situation is turned around soon, Hawaii’s biodiversity will become irreparably marginalized. New Zealand (Aotearoa) In contrast to slow progress in Hawaii, New Zealand provides a striking contrast and an inspiring model of what is possible. New Zealand’s problems with biological invasions fully rival those of Hawaii, but the country currently exhibits remarkable determination to reverse trends of ecological degradation through restoration (e.g., Veitch and Clout 2002) and to effectively prevent continuing invasions with a strong border protection quarantine system. New Zealand is a highly entrepreneurial country, and it shares most of the problems of modern society found in Hawaii, but its citizens understand the economic and ecological consequences of invasive pests. Border protection quarantine and surveillance have good legislative and financial support only because the public in New Zealand is very supportive. Key aspects of New Zealand’s border protection quarantine program are as follows: • The Biosecurity Act of 1993 is New Zealand’s major piece of legislation relating to measures for keeping new invasive pests out of the country to prevent economic, social, and environmental damage. It provides a range of functions, powers, and options for the management of harmful organisms. Although a number of governmental departments are involved in biosecurity, primary responsibility for implementation falls to a single department, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). MAF’s



Quarantine Service (MQS) is the agency responsible for implementing the country’s border protection quarantine. • Import Health Standards (IHS) are the mechanism for defining conditions which must be met for importing risk goods to New Zealand. IHSs are based on risk analyses, consistent with standards set by the World Trade Organization and other treaties governing international trade. • MQS uses rational rules, excellent explanatory material, and meaningful penalties. Upon entering the country, travelers are asked to complete a form declaring any prohibited items before passing through a checkpoint where X-ray machines and dogs are utilized to detect prohibited items. In June 2001, the Government introduced a system of instant NZ$200 fines for travelers to New Zealand who make erroneous biosecurity declarations; 2.5 fines per 1,000 travelers were assessed during the first year. The fines have resulted in efficient word-of-mouth spread of New Zealand’s regulations. Inspection of passengers and baggage is fast and efficient. The system of screening passengers and their baggage at the airport is believed to be about 95% effective, evaluated by challenging the detection system with clandestine known items. • All incoming international mail is inspected for prohibited items using X-ray machines and/or dogs. MAF estimates that only 1% of prohibited material gets through. Whereas relatively passive beagles are used when dealing directly with the traveling public, so-called active dogs are used for mail and cargo to sniff out illegal items.

Eleutherodactylus coqui, an invasive frog from Puerto Rico, has reached all four main Hawaiian islands, probably via nursery stock, and poses a huge threat to biodiversity and quality-of-life of Hawaii and other Pacific Islands. (Photo by Allen Allison, B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu)

• Air and sea cargo inspection is less thorough than that for arriving international passengers and mail, but the most crucial pathways such as used cars from Asia are thoroughly inspected, and other pathways are sampled to determine and discourage risk. Continual re-evaluation is an important component of the entire system; a review of the pest risk from sea containers has recently been completed (MAF 2003), and new Import Health Standards for Sea Containers issued. • MAF has a branch targeted at detecting and responding to “post-border incursions” of unwanted pests before they are able to achieve firm establishment in New Zealand. The most dramatic such recent response involved the Red Imported Fire Ant. A mature (later estimated at 9 months to 2 years old) mounded nest of this notorious pest ant was detected and reported by a grounds maintenance worker at Auckland International Airport in March 2001. The nest was promptly treated with insecticide. The discovery triggered two years of intensive searching around the incursion site as well as a national awareness program, a national invasive ant surveillance program, and funding for an invasive pest ant risk assessment (A. Pascoe 2003 and pers. comm.). Managing the biosecurity risks in the air and sea container pathways poses substantial challenges for New Zealand’s quarantine system. The recently completed “Sea Container Review”

Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) poses a huge threat to biodiversity, economies, and qualityof-life for all Pacific Islands. (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University Fire Ant Project)

(MAF 2003) defined the problems clearly. For example, nearly half the sea containers contained wood packaging material, 60% of which was found to be unmentioned in the manifest (the required document in which the importer describes what is in the container) and 16% (mostly within the un-manifested category) of which required fumigation. The review recognized a remarkable opportunity for risk mitigation to overcome existing challenges through an electronic intelligencebased risk-assessment system (vs. the current, relatively unmanageable manual manifest system). Opportunity for requiring electronic manifests may be facilitated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new “Container Security Initiative” or CSI (http:// csi), which requires exporters to the U.S. to deliver electronic detailed and accurate manifest information 24 hours in advance of a shipment. (The CSI currently applies only to the world’s 20 largest exporting ports but other ports are already being phased in.) New Zealand sees this as an opportunity to greatly improve the ability to assure cleanliness of sea containers, since all countries will have to provide such information to the U.S. anyway. Options may exist to require detailed and accurate manifest information for container contents, including information on the packing material; to deny loading to containers with inaccurate information; to impose penalties for mis-manifested cargo; and to place alerts on containers with high-risk goods and allow exporters the option of

decontamination and certification overseas (MAF 2003). The remarkable dedication of New Zealand’s government and citizens to pursue a maximally effective strategy for prevention of new damaging invasions and rapid response to incipient invasions can be grasped by exploring their website ( Galapagos Archipelago The Galapagos archipelago has much in common with Hawaii as a roughly comparable microcosm of evolution in isolation, and is similarly susceptible to biological invasions. Yet Galapagos has been fortunate in its relative lack of degradation: for example, whereas Hawaii has lost 75% of its original bird fauna, Galapagos has not yet lost a single bird species (Loope et al. 1988). Increased human movement to Galapagos in recent decades increased the risk of alien species introduction through various pathways such as cargo boats and airplanes. After much deliberation, to prevent further incursions, the Galapagos inspection and quarantine system was established in 2000, based on Ecuadorian legislation passed in 1998. The Charles Darwin Research Station assists the Ecuadorian Plant Quarantine Service in implementing this quarantine system. The quarantine’s operation is funded from 5% of fee of US$100 entry fee, collected from every visitor to Galapagos National Park. The Galapagos quarantine is just getting started but has much promise for reducing future invasions to those islands.

Pacific Island Countries and Territories Pacific island countries and territories (PICT) comprise 25+ countries, most of which are served by two important regional international organizations, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (or SPC, which addresses agricultural issues) and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (or SPREP, which addresses biodiversity issues). Biodiversity of PICT is particularly vulnerable to effects of invasive species (SPREP 2000). Ant invasions already plague many Pacific islands, but special concern has arisen recently, now that the highly invasive Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) occurs at or near the coast on both sides of the Pacific. What is the prognosis for a successful Pacific regional prevention program for RIFA? The SPC-Plant Protection Service (PPS), based in Suva, Fiji, works in partnership with 22 PICT to maintain effective quarantine systems that limit incursions of new pests, diseases and weeds and to assist with regionally coordinated eradication/containment efforts when a pest incursion happens. Priorities for emphasis are determined by member countries, which meet periodically as the Pacific Plant Protection Organization (PPPO). The most concerted and successful effort of PPPO and SPC-PPS to date has involved a regional program to address the many species of invasive host-specific fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) that damage crops and reduce the ability of the countries to export much of their agricultural produce, thus substantially


reducing potential for putting food on the table. (see A major Pacific island conservation meeting in Rarotonga in July, 2002, sponsored by SPREP and others, recommended prevention of new terrestrial and marine species introductions through implementation of improved quarantine legislation and practices. SPREP’s regional invasive species strategy already involves conducting training of countries’ quarantine personnel to address issues relating to biodiversity needs; the first training session took place during the summer of 2003. The decision of whether to address regionally the potential invasion of the Red Imported Fire Ant and other ants as high priority rests with the PICT and PPPO. If they should decide on its priority, there would be an unprecedented opportunity for agriculture and conservation interests to work together with international and bilateral aid entities at regional and country levels to build much needed quarantine capacity to give PICT the protection they desperately need to address invasions which jeopardize both agriculture and biodiversity.

Conclusions Invasive species pose the primary threat to biodiversity on most oceanic islands. New terrestrial and aquatic/marine invasive plant and animal species threaten to overwhelm Galapagos, Hawaii, New Zealand and all Pacific islands with ecological and economic damage and social costs. In spite of their vulnerabilities, oceanic islands have the opportunity to follow the lead of New Zealand in implementing much improved measures for prevention of new invasions. Key prerequisites for progress include obtaining broad public support and the cooperation of agriculture and biodiversity interests.




ANONYMOUS. 2000. Taro leaf blight (leaflet). Pests and diseases of American Samoa, No. 3. American Samoa Community College, Agriculture, Human & Natural Resources, Cooperative Research & Extension. CLARKE, B., J. MURRAY, and M.S. JOHNSON. 1984. The extinction of endemic species by a program of biological control. Pacific Science 38:97-104. COWIE, R.H. 2000. Non-indigenous land and freshwater molluscs in the islands of the Pacific: conservation impacts and threats. Pages 143-166 in G. Sherley (ed.), Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. Apia, Samoa. DAVIS, L.R., R.K. VANDER MEER, and S.D. PORTER. 2001. Red imported fire ants expand their range across the West Indies. Florida Entomologist 84(4):735-736. FAO (U.N Food and Agricultural Organization). 2001. International Plant Protection Convention – 2001 version. (, accessed October 2003). GILLESPIE, R.G., and N. J. REIMER. 1993. The effect of alien predatory ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on Hawaiian endemic spiders (Araneae: Tetragnathidae). Pacific Science 47:21-33. HOLT, A. 1996 (1999). An alliance of biodiversity, health, agriculture, and business interests for improved alien species management in Hawaii. Pp. 155-160 in O.T. Sandlund, P.J. Schei, and A. Viken (editors). 1996. Proceedings of the Norway/UN Conference on Alien Species. Directorate for Nature Management and Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway. (Springer-Verlag 1999) ( AlienSpeciesInHawaii/articles/norway.htm, accessed April 2003) LOOPE, L.L. 1998. Hawaii and Pacific islands. Pages 747-774 in M.J. Mac, P.A. OPLER, C.E. PUCKETT HAECKER, and P.D. DORAN (editors). Status and trends of the nation’s biological resources, Volume 2. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA. ( hawaii_and_the_Pacific.pdf, accessed October 2003) LOOPE, L.L., O.H. HAMANN, and C.P. STONE. 1988. Comparative conservation biology of oceanic archipelagoes: Hawaii and the Galapagos. BioScience 34(4): 272-282 LOOPE, L.L., F.G. HOWARTH, F. KRAUS, and T.K. PRATT. 2001. Newly emergent and future threats of alien species to Pacific landbirds and ecosystems. Studies in Avian Biology (Cooper Ornithological Society) 22:291-394. MAF. 2003. Sea Container Review. MAF Discussion Paper No. 35. (available at

McGREGOR, R.C. 1973. The emigrant pests. A report to Dr. Francis Mulhern, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Berkeley, California. 167 p. (Unpublished report on file at Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Honolulu, Hawaii.) ( articles/mcgregor1973.pdf, accessed October 2003) MEYER, J.-Y. 1996. Status of Miconia calvescens (Melastomataceae), a dominant invasive tree in the Society Islands (French Polynesia). Pacific Science 50:66-76. MEYER, J.-Y., and J. FLORENCE. 1996. Tahiti’s native flora endangered by the invasion of Miconia calvescens DC. (Melastomataceae). Journal of Biogeography 23:775-781. MEYER, J.-Y. 2003. Parks in peril in the islands of French Polynesia. Aliens 17:6. MILLER, S.E., and L.G. ELDREDGE. 1996. Numbers of Hawaiian species: supplement 1. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 45:8-17. MURRAY, J., E. MURRAY, M.S. JOHNSON, and B. CLARKE. 1988. The extinction of Partula on Moorea. Pacific Science 42:150-153. NRDC/TNCH. 1992. The alien pest invasion in Hawaii: background study and recommendations for interagency planning. The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Joint agency report. 123 p. ( pdfs/nrdctnch1992.pdf, accessed October 2003) O’DOWD, D.J., P.T. GREEN, and P.S. LAKE. 2003. Invasional ‘meltdown’ on an oceanic island. Ecology Letters 6:812-817. OTA. 1993. Harmful non-indigenous species in the United States. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. OTA-F-565. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. PASCOE, A. 2003. Red imported fire ant response stood down. Biosecurity 45:7. SAVIDGE, J.A. 1987. Extinction of an island forest avifauna by an introduced snake. Ecology 68:660-668. SPREP. 2000. Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy, G. Sherley, technical editor. South Pacific Regional Environment Program. Apia, Samoa. VEITCH, C.R., and M.N. CLOUT (eds.). 2002. Turning the tide: The eradication of invasive species. IUCN. VINSON, S. B. 1997. Invasion of the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): spread, biology, and impact. American Entomologist, Spring 1997:23-39. VITOUSEK, P.M., C.M. D’ANTONIO, L.L. LOOPE, M. REJMANEK, and R. WESTBROOKS. 1997. Introduced species: a significant component of human-caused global change. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 21:1-16. WTO (World Trade Organization). 1998. Understanding the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement. (, accessed October 2003)


Since the famous Charles Darwin’s observations on the Galapagos Islands which were so fundamental in shaping his Theory of Natural Selection, approaches to island biogeography, population dynamics and endemism, have been much developed, and well documented (Groombridge and Jenkins 2000). This understanding is crucial to the complex picture of the conservation and management of island systems.. The presence of human activity on islands is not necessarily incompatible with the maintenance of rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. Nevertheless, in many islands, native endemic species and communities have been destroyed or replaced due to inadequate conservation measures, ill-advised agricultural mono-cultures, or inappropriate intensive mariculture, or sublittoral destruction of spawning areas. In addition, the invasion of alien species is now recognized as one of the major threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in large and

smaller islands (Mooney et al. 2002). The current piecemeal invasion legislation lends itself, moreover, to the management of introduced species.

Scientists to help conservation practitioners and society to set priorities In order to protect the processes that maintain islands and their surrounding marine habitats, it is necessary to thoroughly understand natural processes and be able to predict the consequences of species losses and invasions. Two big challenges in this quest are: 1) identifying parameters that can serve as appropriate indicators of ecosystem functioning and 2) taking long-range spatial (regional) and temporal views that could include evolutionary capacity and global climate shifts. Given the complexity of these challenges, there is an urgent need for the scientific community to help conservation practitioners,


decision-makers and society to take appropriate measures that go beyond the obvious impulse to protect economically valuable species and landscapes providing services, or aesthetically appealing ones In fact, many of the hard decisions relating to nature conservation have nothing to do with science. They represent a choice of values which are of a political, ethical and philosophical nature. However, there is a need for scientists to respond to questions about the consequences of losing particular species or a segment of biodiversity. It is therefore the responsibility of scientists and their in-depth scientific exploration into how research can inform society about the choices

Pierre Lasserre is a Professor of Marine Biology and Coastal Oceanography at the Pierre & Marie Curie University, Paris VI. From 1982 to 1993 he was the Director of the Marine Biological Station of Roscoff. He was Director of the Division of Ecological Sciences and Secretary of the MAB Programme, and Director of the Regional Ofce for Science in Europe, in Venice (ROSTE). He is an Executive Committee member of the European Marine Research Stations (MARS) Network and a member of Academia Europaea and has conducted comprehensive research in coastal environments along the Atlantic Coast and the Mediterranean, North and West Africa, the Kerguelen Islands and the East China Sea. He has published several books, and more than 100 papers on several subjects related to marine biodiversity. He has chaired a number of organizations and committees, such as IABO, SCOR and IUBS, and he was a founder member of the DIVERSITAS Programme. Dr Lasserre has been at the origin of the launching of many Biosphere reserves, including islands, in cooperation with INSULA. He was the UNESCO’s focal point for biodiversity and he participated in many SBSTTA meetings and COP to the CBD. Université Pierre & Marie Curie – Paris VI UFR des Sciences de la Vie 75005 Paris, France


it must make regarding species extinctions or species invasions. Science can clarify what is likely to happen if certain species are eliminated or are invading insular ecosystems. In the evolution of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, launched in 1971, it was unquestioned excellence of participating scientists which elevated applied research to its proper status. The connection between basic and more applied environmental research has emerged in several aspects of the MAB approach and of the highly successful Biosphere reserve concept that emerged from it. During the 1990s, ecological science increasingly turned its attention to environmental problems and the challenge of protecting biodiversity. For example, in 1991, the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative laid out a research programme aiming at providing answers to critical questions regarding environmental management (Lubchenco et al. 1991). The involvement of distinguished scientists as Robert Paine in the scientific review of the Exxon Valdex spill pushed him to review the monitoring programme that followed the spill, and to suggest ways in which environmental monitoring should be improved (Paine et al. 1996).



Recent trends in modern conservation ecology include a mix of: (1) controlled experimental removal of species and manipulations of ecosystems, (2) ecosystem approach, and (3) natural history and monitoring. The lessons learned from field experiments and recent research emphasizing the functions of species in biogeochemical or ecosystem processes and their role in ensuring reliable ecosystem functioning (Kareiva and Levin 2003, Loreau et al. 2001) have been impressive and are reshaping our understanding of ecological systems and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, the fundamental ecological science and evolutionary ecology have the capacity to provide sound guidance on conservation priorities in islands. Three of the biggest challenges are: (1) identifying measurements that can serve as appropriate indicators of “ecosystem processes”, (2) learning how to scale local measurements of effects up to large-scale systems that span entire small islands, such as it is the case, in Europe, for a growing number of island Biosphere reserves (e.g. Canary islands, Balearic Islands, the Tuscan Islands, the

Iroise Archipelago, the Finland Archipelago etc.) and the small to larger islands recently selected as reference sites by the scientific network of excellence “Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning” MARBEF, launched by the European Union (Carlo Heip, coordinator). (3) taking a long-range temporal view that could include evolutionary capacity and global climate shifts. On coastal and submarine parts of islands, few studies have focussed on the causes of latitudinal species distribution except at the smallest special scales. There is a pressing need for more large-scale, descriptive and experimental studies on community distribution and ecological processes within single habitats and across environmental gradients. The existence of marine biodiversity gradients (e.g. low versus high latitude) is not clear and their functional significance should be reappraised. The scale of marine systems and the mixing, dispersion and transport that occur in the oceanic medium require a

different mode of thinking about conservation and sustainable management (Lasserre et al., 1994). These specific features should be taken into consideration in future conservation and development plans of islands, not only for sublittoral and intertidal habitats but also for the terrestrial parts of islands. Another challenge to achieve in islands biodiversity conservation and management is the need to adopt an evolutionary perspective on the relative importance of species. The tendency among ecologists is to emphasize ecosystem services such as productivity, nutrient cycling, and water purification; but species also represent an evolutionary potential in themselves that is difficult to assess in terms of the standard metrics associated with ecosystem services (i.e. species and community assemblages providing services of economic interest). In fact, it could well happen that today’s rare species or an isolated community living on islands might be one of the crucial genetic

reservoirs of future evolutionary responses to our ever-changing global environment. It is perhaps because of their evolutionary potential that species may be least expendable. The maintenance of island ecosystem goods and services is a goal that is hard to argue against but even harder to assess in a quantitative manner! How will we know whether we have succeeded or failed? Is it merely a matter of ensuring that total productivity in islands (measured as amount of carbon fixed) does not decline due to species losses? Or do we need to worry about “stability”, a favoured concept among community ecologists, or the more recent notions of “resilience”? If so, how can these be assessed? The measurements that can best evaluate ecosystem functioning need to take account of both theoretical and practical dimensions.

Galapagos Islands (© Photo: Yann Arthus-Bertrand/ Earth from Above/UNESCO) Considered by Darwin as a «living laboratory for evolution» the Galapagos islands were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978 and were recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO-MAB Programme in 1984. Formed some 3 to 4 million years ago, the archipelago experiences intense volcanic and seismic activity. The endemic Galapagos vegetation and fauna is famous worldwide. Over 700 scientific missions to the Galapagos have been organized using the Charles Darwin Research Station (jointly supported by the Government of Ecuador, IUCN and UNESCO). In early 2001, an oil spill adjacent to the Galapagos threatened many species and habitats across some 2000 km2, underlining the fact that environmental protection measures may never be foolproof. Increasing human populations can cause heavy pressure on islands natural resources for food (e.g. fishes) and income opportunities (e.g. tourism). Here, the biosphere reserve concept can help to develop an ecosystem approach that should consider all stakeholders, all forms of information, including scientific and local knowledge as well as different land use innovations and practices.


The melding of science and society: research sites and biosphere reserves. Policy-makers and managers require practical, defensible recommendations. They are usually forced to proposing quick partial solutions, often based on very local scientific observations. The scale of the research effort needed to obtain adequate knowledge to understand, conserve and restore insular systems demands regional and broad range collaboration. Moreover, scientists typically work to the rhythm of multi-annual funding and project cycles. They monitor complex phenomena whose changes may sometimes be confirmed only after many years or even decades of study. Therefore, scientists being asked for advice by managers and policymakers are confronted by the following dilemma: should they respond by providing the “best practices” scenario? Or should they reply that they cannot provide advice in the absence of data or reliable records? Possible answers are: 1. to encourage long-term research and an intensification of scientific effort, along with other appropriate actions in biodiversity conservation; 2. to build on regional networks of excellence. Achieving these ambitious goals require a diversity of skills, expertise, resource and networks of researchers and sites. A critical mass of research workers and island conservation managers, and decision-makers needs to be reached. Once attained, this should significantly boost appropriate basic scientific studies and applied measures for appropriate conservation and regional development of islands and their surrounding marine biota. This can be done by: 1) Producing communication tools for scientists and managers involved in island biodiversity research within and outside their region (e.g. electronic conferences, newsletters and discussion lists); 2) Developing strong training programmes designed to spread excellence outside of the participating networks; 3) Creating data banks of primary data and metadata, through the web by participants and beyond; 4) Producing high-impact scientific publications, and



promoting public information; 5) Promoting submission of collaborative proposals for joint research by natural and socio-economic scientists. In this context, the scientist today has more than ever the responsibility of entering into the “social demand” arena, of probing into how decisions regarding nature conservation and regional development are made, and who they affect. There are now strong reasons for reinforcing cooperative initiatives between existing networks with complementary targets and geographical distribution. These include INSULA, the UNESCO-MAB World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and its regional MAB networks, and the EU-Network of Excellence Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (MARBEF) initiate by the Network of European Marine Research Stations (MARS). Of a total of 100 European marine biodiversity research sites, identified by the EU Network of Excellence MARBEF, 8 insular “Reference sites” and 21 “Focal sites” have been selected for intensive and comparative research activities (see Warwick et al., 2003). Furthermore, Biosphere reserves offer privileged arenas for melding science and society. Multi-purpose management can be achieved through the use of zoning (with core, buffer and transition areas), with different requirements for protection, scientific research and human use (UNESCO 2000). Recent successful examples of island biosphere reserves (such as the Lanzarote, in the Canaries or the Iroise Archipelago, Brittany) have shown that the principles and guidelines for biosphere reserves are indeed adaptable to the coastal-marine area. People living permanently or occasionally on islands cannot be separated from studies on community and ecosystem dynamics. In islands, the loss of species can greatly alter patterns of human settlement, employment, agriculture, fisheries, tourism (UNESCO Island Agenda 1994). Attaining such cooperation will require a significant increase in cohesion, interaction and reciprocal understanding amongst the diverse members of this wide community. The future challenge lies in combining the pressing need for environmental monitor-

ing with the needs for basic research and predictive modelling. At the same time, improving public participation, and reorienting regional planning toward observation and sustainable use of biodiversity is required. This understanding must relate directly to the changes brought about by evolving human societies and their resource uses, perceptions, and values.


GROOMBRIDGE B. and JENKINS M.D., 2000. Global Biodiversity: Earth’s living resources in the 21st century. WCMC. Cambridge: World Conservation Press. HEYWOOD V.H. (ed.) 1995. Global Biodiversity Assessment. UNEP, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. KAREIVA P. & S.A. Levin (eds) 2003. The importance of species. Perspectives on expendability and triage. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. LASSERRE P. 1992. The role of biodiversity in marine ecosystems. In:Solbrig O.T., van Emden H.M. & van Oordt P.G.W.: Biodiversity and Global Change. Paris: IUBS Press. LASSERRE P., MCINTYRE A.D., OGDEN J.C., RAY G.C., GRASSLE J.F. 1994. Marine laboratory networks for the study of biodiversity function and management of marine ecosystems. IUBS Biology International, sp. Issue n°31. LOREAU M., NAEEM S., INCHAUSTI P., BENGTSSON J., GRIME J.P., HECTOR A., HOOPER D.U., HUSTON M.A., RAFFAELLI D., SCHMID B., TILMAN D. and WARDLE D.A. 2001.Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: Current knowledge and future challenges. Science 294: 806-808. LUBCHENCO J., OLSON A.M., BRUBAKER L.B., CARPENTER S.R., HOLLAND M.M., HUBBELL S., LEVIN S.A., MACMAHON J.A., MATSON P.A., MELILLO J.M., MOORNEY H.A., PETERSON C.H., PULLIAM R., REAL L.A., REGAL P.J. and RISSER P.G. 1991. The sustainable Biosphere Initiative: An ecological research agenda. Ecology 72; 371-412. MOONEY H.A., MCNEELY J., NEVILLE L.E., SCHEI P.J., WAAGE J.K. (eds) 2002. Invasive Alien Species: Searching for solutions. Washington: Island Press. PAINE R.T., RUESINK J.L., SUN A., SOULANILLE E.L., WONHAM M.J., HARLEY C.D.G., BRUMBAUGH D.R., and SECORD D.L. 1996. Trouble on oiled waters: Lessons from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 27: 197-235. UNESCO 1994. Island Agenda: An overview of UNESCO’s work on island environments, territories and societies. Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO 2000. Solving the puzzle: the ecosystem approach and biosphere reserves. Paris: UNESCO. WARWICK R.M., EMBLOW C., FÉRAL J.-P., HUMMEL H., VAN AVESAATH P., HEIP C. 2003. European Marine Biodiversity Research Sites. Report of the EU Concerted Action: BIOMARE Implementation and Neworking of large scale, long term Marine Biodiversity Research in Europe. Yerseke: NIOO-CEME.


Small islands are especially vulnerable to problems with wetland ecosystems – why? Simply because many wetlands are fed by freshwater, this is seen as a competing use by islanders for their water sources. Wetlands are also vulnerable to pollution events, drainage, and invasion from alien species, and, especially in small and low islands, salt water intrusion to the fresh groundwater “lens”. This places the future of island wetland ecosystems, and the biodiversity they support, in considerable jeopardy – in fact more so than the ecosystems typically regarded most at threat, such as forests. This short article cannot do justice to the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems on small islands. So it is a potpourri, a somewhat eclectic mix of glimpses of some islands (not always individual states) and their biodiversity features, from the equator to the Poles, and some thoughts about the issues critical to the future of these ecological systems. Of course, it is true that, on islands especially, wetlands are controlled Aleutian Islands

by the availability of water: and, in turn, exercise control over the availability of water. So a discussion of freshwater systems and their biological diversity must involve some discussion of the natural management of water on the islands. We can gain the best glimpses of Island systems through those areas protected under various international designations, such as Ramsar sites, World Heritage natural sites or sites in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Contact url’s for web sites detailing these designations are provide at the end of the article. But first, let us define what a wetland is. I use the definition followed by the Ramsar convention on wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) as the most authoritative globally. The definition is: “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres”.


As marine systems are being covered in a separate article I will confine my remarks chiefly to island freshwater wetlands. However, the small size of many islands means the connectivity and linkages between the different ecosystems are condensed, and of course, the linkage between terrestrial and coastal marine systems are more extensive, and intimate, than on continental land masses. There are many recent works dealing with these issues, but see (Bennett, A.F. 2003) for a good summary. Many islands have complete sets of ecological systems, depending on the latitudinal position and geomorphology. Except for larger islands, however, the extent of many ecosystems is often restricted. And wetlands, in the form of swamps and mires, tend to be small in extent, and often ephemeral. Similarly rivers rarely have the opportunity to develop maturity, and lakes are rare, other than in exceptional locations.

Some examples At the Equator, The Archipiélago de Colón (Galápagos Islands), is situated in the east Pacific Ocean, 1,000 km from the mainland of Ecuador, with the equator running through the Wolf and Ecuador volcanoes on Isabella Island. Situated on the Galapagos Submarine Platform, the Galapagos Islands consist of 13 islands. These islands were formed 4 million years ago by volcanic processes and most represent the summit of a volcano, some of which rise over 3,000 meters from the Pacific Peter Bridgewater is Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and has been Director of the Unesco’s Division of Ecological Sciences and Secretary of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MaB).


Ocean floor. The larger islands typically comprise one or more gently sloping shield volcanoes, culminating in craters or calderas and the terrain are generally composed of uplifted marine lava flows. Freshwater is a critically limiting factor, and only San Cristobal has adequate perennial supplies for the local human population. Small wetlands occur on the islands in suitable locations. But this is a typical series of volcanic islands, where the predominant terrestrial vegetation is xeric, and wetland systems are small, and typically ephemeral. Yet they play a key role in the general flows of water through the groundwater aquifers, and their conservation and wise management is key to wise management of the aquifers. In the southern hemisphere, Siberut is the largest in the chain of four Mentawai Islands situated off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It has been isolated from the Sumatra mainland and the Sunda shelf for at least 500,000 years, resulting in an exceptionally high degree of endemism: 65 % of the animals are though to be endemic. Lowland dipterocarp rain forest is the principal ecosystem. Despite that, there is also extensive riverine forest dominated by Terminalia phellocarpa; freshwater swamp and bog forest; and Casuarina equisetifolia damp forest close to the coast. Further west, Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean, is a larger island, with considerable settlement and anthropic changes over millennia and especially in the last few hundred years. While much of the remaining vegetation is composed of tropical moist forest at various altitudinal levels, there are some small lakes and wetlands, including marshlands characterized by Lycopodium spp., Pandanus spp., Sphagnum spp. etc. and at higher altitude damp Philippia/Phylica heath with Astelia hemichrysa, Coffea spp., and Blechnum attenuatum as key species. Trinidad represents another island where forest is the dominant ecosystem, with increasing anthropic influences. Nariva swamp in is a very good example of a large swamp forest ecosystem characteristic of the Caribbean region. The site also supports one of the only two communities in Trinidad and Tobago of the moriche palm Mauritia spp. The site regularly supports large numbers of



members of the Ciconiiformes, including the families Ardeidae, Cochleariidae and Threskiornithidae. Mammal species include Alouatta seniculus, Cebus albifrons and Agouti paca. Reptiles include Caiman crocodilus, Eunectes murinus and Iguana iguana. The major vegetation types permanent herbaceous swamp with Montrichardia arborescens and Cyperus giganteus, seasonally flooded forests with Eleocharis mutata, Cyperus odoratus and Phragmites spp., swamp forest with Pterocarpus officinalis, Carapa spp. and Bactris major and islands of humid tropical forest with Roystonea oleracea, Mauritia setigera and Euterpe oleracea and E. precatoria. The site also hosts many bird species, and 32 species of bats. Across the pacific the islands of Micronesia and Polynesia form extensive chains. Many are small, often simple coral atolls with no freshwater resources at surface. Yet others have a volcanic base, and there wetland systems, even lakes, can develop, as well as riverine features. In Palau, for example, Lake Ngardok is a small, natural, freshwater lake on Babeldaob island with some swamp vegetation and is the largest permanent freshwater body in Palau. It supports indigenous fishes representative of Palauan fish fauna and has a small breeding population of the estuarine crocodile Crocodylus porosus. This lake is a Ramsar site, and includes the entire protected Nature Reserve and catchment of the lake, and thus also includes several streams and small areas of riverine marsh and freshwater swamp forest as well. The lake is particularly important for control of floods and maintenance of water quality, and at least 11 indigenous bird species are supported as well, including the national bird, the Palau Fruit Dove or â&#x20AC;&#x153;biibâ&#x20AC;? (Ptilinopus pelewensis). In the sub-tropical zones, the Spanish Canary Islands are interesting examples. Situated off of Morocco, but belonging to Spain, they are classic islands for showing a contrast in ecosystems. At lower levels the islands are dominated by coastal matorral with Euphorbia balsamifera, E. broussonetii, E. canarensis and Plocama pendula, yet where trade winds meet island mountains, the moisture laden air condenses causing clouds or mist to form at elevation, giving rides to cloud forests, creating a typical and

unique laurel Forest. Typical Sphagnum spp. Wet meadows species include with Laurus and marshes are dominated azorica, Ocotea foetens, Persea by Elymus arenaria, while indica, Myrica faya, Erica the lagoons are fringed by arborea, Ilex canariensis and Carex spp. Important terresPicconia excelsa. trial mammal species using the This exists as a luxuriant Refuge include Rangifer tarandamp forest, simply because of dus, Ursus arctos, Lagopus the water condensing from the lagopus, Gulo gulo, Mustela fog and mist. The aboriginal in vison, Lutra canadensis and habitants of the islands knew Canis lupus. The birds Haliaeefull well the importance of tus leucocephalus and Falco this water source, and, on one peregrinus pealei are yearisland, El Hierro, a very large round residents. These islands tree was essentially the human have a complete admixture of water source for the whole Asian and American species island, and so revered as a In the southern hemisphere sacred site. Although these at the same latitudes there forests are not wetlands as are sub-Antarctic islands, all such they illustrate the ways in of which have extensive mire which climate, landform and and wet grassland ecosystems, vegetation interact to promote remarkably similar vegetation a water cycle, which in turn despite the islands being thoudrives other systems, includsands of kilometers apart. Lack ing small marshes and wetof any large landmasses means lands. The adjacent island of a constant oceanic climate. La Palma illustrates another These islands and their ecosysfeature – the development at The “Garoé”, holy tree of the island of El Hierro that represents the importance of water tems have all been impacted by higher altitudes of montane in some islands. the casual, but brutal contact mires and wetlands, including from people, with a range of species such as the ferns Cheilanthes guan- sual combination of species of Asian and introduced animals and plants causing destachica, Asplenium adiantum-nigrum and A. American origin, and most can be classified bilisation to the island ecosystems onopteris, and flowering plants such as Viola as wetland systems. Mountain tundra covered Macquarie Island is south of Tasmania, palmensis, Nepeta leydea, Spartocytisus by heathers with crowberry, characterized by and is one such island. Five main vegetation Arctous alpina, Rhodonendron camtchatica, formations have been described, tall-tussock supranubius and Plantago webbi. In higher latitudes of the northern hemi- Rhododendron aurea, Loiseleria procumbens grassland, short tussock grassland (herbfield), sphere island systems can be quite rich in etc.; Motley-grass meadows with Calama- fen, bog and feldmark. While the distribution wetland related systems, specially mires, bogs, grostis langsdorffii, Anemone villosissima, of these formations generally reflects the wet heath and bog forests. The West Estonian Geranium erianthum etc.; lakes, rivers, island’s topography introduced European Archipelago is such an example, situated swamps including sedges (Carex sp.), cotton rabbits have severely modified some of them. in the eastern Baltic Sea and its terrestrial grass (Eriophorum sp.), willows (Salix sp.), On the exposed summit plateau, covering around 50% of the island, the ground cover habitats contain pine forests, mixed spruce sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.) etc.; Further east and north, are the Aleutian varies from 5% to over 50% and is dominated and deciduous forests, juniper and coastal meadows, swamps and peat bogs. Parts of the Islands. The islands are typically treeless by the endemic, cushion forming Azorella archipelago are also designated as Ramsar with subarctic alpine vegetation in montane macquariensis in the more sheltered sites and wetlands. The admixture of forest and wetland areas. Typically, lower mountain slopes increasingly by cushion forming mosses as and waterway margins are vegetated with the wind exposure increases; lakes, pools and is an interesting feature of the island. The Commander Islands are situated in the Alnus crispa and sparse growths of Salix spp. mires are abundant. The ionic composition Bering Sea east of the Kamchatka Peninsula Vegetation of the coastal plain and glacial of most lakes reflects oceanic influences on and includes mountain tundra, motley-grass outwash areas is composed of species such the reserve. Many lakes lack streams to feed meadows, wetlands, coastal and marine as Empetrum nigrum, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, them and/or outflowing streams, explained zones. The flora and fauna of Commander Calamagrostis canadensis, Eriophorum by the porous nature of the rock and dipping Islands are remarkable because of the unu- scheuchzeri, Salix spp., Cladonia spp. and rock strata.


with groundwater supplies which can easily become contaminated by poor sanitation. Increased use of pesticides and fertilizers, as well as leachate from solid waste disposal sites, are additional pollution hazards to ground and surface water in many islands.

Some smaller species of burrow-nesting seabirds breed in the larger cushions. In the closed fen and bog formations decomposition rates are slow with peat beds being over 6m deep in places. An endemic orchid is found in these formations. Small patches of sphagnum moss have been rapidly increasing in area in recent years, which has been attributed to global warming.

Environmental threats and opportunities for island wetland ecosystems Freshwater availability Despite the relatively high rainfall received by many SIDS a considerable number experience freshwater shortages. Small islands frequently have a relatively limited capacity to store water for use in the dry season, and the construction of large reservoirs is often difficult from an engineering perspective, and takes up valuable land. In addition, torrential rains, coupled with steep topography, short river channels and easily eroded soils, can cause rapid siltation of reservoirs. SIDS therefore depend heavily on groundwater resources which typically exist as freshwater â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;lensesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; containing limited quantities of water. However, as noted above, withdrawal rates that exceed the sustainable water yield can result in temporary or permanent sea water intrusion, thereby damaging or destroying the freshwater lenses. Given that small islands are surrounded on all sides by marine water, this makes saltwater intrusion into groundwater resources very likely, and the possibilities of then contaminating ecosystems fed by groundwater flow or springs is very high. The populations of small islands tend to be concentrated on the more gently sloping lands along the coastline. The resulting high population density can cause problems



Tourism Opportunities for economic diversification in SIDS are often limited, and many depend heavily on international trade, includThe Janubioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s saltworks. Lanzarote island.

ing tourism, for their economic viability. At the same time, the successful promotion of tourism is strongly correlated with the quality, ambience and aesthetic value of the environment. In most cases, both amenity value and aesthetic ambience are related to the quality of freshwater resources, as well as the ecosystems they support. Despite its obvious economic potential, the development of tourism can also have negative impacts on freshwater resources, including high water consumption and a corresponding increase in the generation of wastewater.

Orongo Crater, Easter Island

Environmental protection Lack of drainage basin controls or environmental protection, coupled with economic development (such as tourism, agriculture, industry) can severely reduce the spatial extent of the drainage basins that are vital to freshwater supplies. Further, many of the hydrological studies and investigations carried out on small islands are thus based on criteria and concepts more appropriate to large islands or continents than to the needs of small islands and water projects are often implemented without accurate knowledge of the available (and sustainable) water resources. Island-specific or, in favourable cases, regional studies are required to identify the available water resources and to implement effective development and management programmes. Island Systems Management The diminutive size of SIDS means that development and freshwater resources are closely related and interlinked. Water resource 1

management must therefore seek to rationalize the use of island resources with the goals of sustainable development. An appropriate framework for this is provided by the Island Systems Management (ISM), which was developed by the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States and adopted by the First Ministerial Meeting on the Implementation for the Barbados Programme of Action (held in Barbados in November 1997). The ISM is a multi-disciplinary, multifaceted mechanism offering an adaptive management strategy which both addresses the issue of resource-use conflicts and provides the necessary policy orientation to control the impacts of human intervention on the physical environment. The effectiveness of ISM is dependent upon an institutional and legal framework which coordinates the initiatives of all sectors, both public and private, to ensure the attainment of common goals through a unified approach. Another complication is that there are often several organizations involved in, and

responsible for, the various aspects of water resources. Data collection, health issues, service delivery, environmental management and other activities are generally delegated to different government agencies, many of whom rarely talk to or consult each other. In addition, their programmes are rarely integrated with those of other organizations whose activities may impact on water resources, such as tourism, land-use planning and human settlements. All these factors contribute to the absence of an integrated approach to water management. Many of the biodiversity country studies and reports have details on freshwater resources and ecosystem. One example is that of the Country study of St. Lucia 1 â&#x20AC;˘ St. Luciaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Biodiversity Country Study Report finds that â&#x20AC;&#x153;Freshwater habitats in St. Lucia include thirty-seven major rivers, some temporary and permanent streams, marshes, swamps, underground springs, flood plains, inland mangroves and the constructed systems, such


as the John Compton Dam, the Rodney Bay Sewerage Treatment Ponds (RBSTP) and several irrigation and aquaculture ponds. The aquatic habitats in St. Lucia suffer from similar forces of destruction as do other rivers and wetlands all over the world. Wetlands play significant roles in water purification, sediment removal and flood control. The sponge-like action of swamps often facilitates the slowing down of surface run-off, the extraction of organic and inorganic compounds and the deposition of suspended solids. As the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population grows, water extraction by the water authority and farming sector is increasing. In recent years, this increased extraction of water has become evident by the reduced base flow of rivers and streams and by the complete drying up of small streams and wetland areas in the dry season. The practice of draining and drying wetlands for the purposes of construction and land reclamation is also a contributor to the reduction in the volume of water available for use on the island. Wetland transformation has been ongoing in St. Lucia for many years. What was once the Sans Soucis swamp, for example, is now a large residential and commercial centre. The Rodney Bay area, once only marsh land and swamp, is now partially drained and is a significant contributor to the tourism and commercial business of the Gros Islet region.

Threats to the freshwater ecosystems come not only from activities that extract water from habitats but include many activities which add components to, and impact significantly on the aquatic habitats. Effluent disposal by sewage treatment plants and domestic septic tanks add organic matter and microbes to rivers and wetlands. Organic enrichment can cause de-oxygenation of

the water. Microbes may lead to disease outbreaks in aquatic plants and animals and/or may infect secondary and tertiary users of the ecosystems. Untreated wastes from factories are often released into rivers, leading to severe changes in the temperature, chemical and/or physical state of the aquatic systems, most often threatening habitat stability and biodiversity. Inappropriate hillside agriculture and building construction cause topsoil disturbance and runoff during rainfall. The sediment loads of most rivers around the island, especially those within agricultural belts are, as a result, very high. Agro-chemical contamination of most of the islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s freshwater resources is also high. The freshwater ecosystems in St. Lucia are home to birds, fish, shrimp, insects and




Falkland Islands

molluscs. Many of the birds which nest and forage in the wetlands are migratory but most of them are resident on the island. Little is known about the freshwater fish. There are few recorded species but those that are known have been observed to live in even the most degraded habitats. The need to further study the island’s fresh and brackish water fish and their lifecycles is, therefore, worthy of mention. There are thirteen species of freshwater shrimp recorded for St. Lucia and these are found in every type of wetland system that has a link with the sea. These animals are often targeted for fishing despite Fisheries Regulations that prohibit their capture and sale. Tolerance levels for pollutants are observed to be low in the shrimp but their recolonization rates seem to be high. The insects and snails are found island-wide but their distribution patterns have been observed to be clearly associated with the pollution levels of their habitats. The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) is responsible for the protection of the water resources on the island and ensuring adequate supplies for use by residents. The Ministry of Health, Human Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations is responsible for monitoring the quality of water in the rivers, especially those being used by the Water and Sewerage Authority and the water quality of intakes and treatment plants. The Departments of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (MAFFE) also conduct some water monitoring (for forest conservation and aquaculture development).”

Particularly detailed efforts and surveys have been made in the Falklands (Malvinas) as can be found at fibril/summary.htm Quoting from that web-based report, the following observations are made: “As far as can be inferred at present, the aquatic biota in the Falkland Island freshwater bodies are also in a fairly pristine condition. Although generally species poor, there are some unusual species present and several sites warrant special status. The Sulivan Lakes are already recognised but the Swan Inlets and Laguna Isla (East Falkland) and Hawk’s Nest Pond (West Falkland) have considerable biological interest, not least concerning aquatic plants. The upland tarns are also unique ultra-oligotrophic habitats of note but these are unlikely to be affected by future land use changes. Threats to freshwater biodiversity in the Falkland Islands concern the following issues, • Changes in landuse: these are perceived as likely to be mainly the continuation of long-term trends involving exploitation of grasslands. Plans to raise the quality of agricultural land through carbonate/nutrient additions could have future consequences for run-off water quality. Local effects of accelerated erosion through over grazing, grassland fires and road building should however also be considered. • Climate: climate change is a global issue and although the ozone hole now includes the Falkland Islands there is no evidence that freshwater systems are affected on the

Islands. However, without regular monitoring of the freshwater ecosystems initial effects may be unrecognised. Zooplankton in the clear water sites were heavily pigmented (a known response to high UV light levels) but we do not know if this is a recent or persistent condition. Sediment core analysis (in preparation) and on going in situ temperature monitoring may provide some information of climate trend effects on the upland tarns. • Species introductions: the plight of the native trout (Aplochiton zebra) is relatively well known but this is not the case for other aquatic species. This study already indicates that a few diatom species are local (southern South American forms) but many are cosmopolitan and several may be new taxa. Detailed species information on aquatic invertebrates is not yet available but again without historical records recognising recent additions to the biota is difficult. Microfossil analysis of sediments is one way to detect such changes (results from the upland site sediment cores are in preparation).” The initial results of this spatial survey involving a selection of freshwater bodies on the Falkland Islands indicate that all the investigated sites are in near pristine condition despite some problems with species introductions and local erosion. However without historical information (from sediment cores or from monitoring) current trends in aquatic ecosystem change cannot be assessed. The new EU Water Framework Directive for freshwaters stresses the need to undertake both chemical and biological assessment, through monitoring, as part of a wise management strategy for freshwaters. Together with the need to satisfy biodiversity responsibilities, it is recommended that the base-line Maldives


information being made available by the 2001 survey is used in future evaluation comparisons by repeating the survey every ten years. Some regular annual monitoring of Falkland freshwaters, especially those of interest for fish and birds, should be instigated as soon as is convenient. These observations, from the tropics and the sub-antarctic zones have remarkable similarity, and are echoed by many other island states. They emphasise that the biodiversity resources of Islands, characterized by high endemism and species richness, are under considerable threats. Detailed management strategies and plans must be prepared to ensure long-term viability of the freshwater ecosystems, and the water supplies they produce, protect and purify. Here is where the Ramsar Convention, working through its joint work programme with the Convention on Biological Diversity, can be most useful.

What can the ramsar convention contribute? National Wetland Policies National Wetland Policies are a useful way of expressing principles, stating intentions, showing what choices have been made about strategic directions, making commitments, facilitating and focusing consultation and consensus, expressing exhortations, and 2




making roles and responsibilities clear. Being able to portray a national policy as delivering international commitments can be helpful in expediting its adoption and implementation, and in avoiding the re-invention of justifications for courses of action. Whether a National Wetland Policy should be separate from other environmental policy will depend on the circumstances. It can be useful to look at every field of action through the lens of what is required for wetland objectives specifically, as codified under Ramsar, and to ensure a complete suite of actions is provided for. Specific wetland policies are also useful to create identification with, ownership of and engagement with the issues by those responsible. Policy and legislation should visibly and reasonably promptly be followed by ‘real world’ implementation and enforcement – if they are allowed to run too far ahead of what can be done in this regard, confidence in the process may be undermined. The List Wetlands of International Importance Upon joining the Ramsar Convention, each Contracting Party is obliged by Article 2.4 of the Convnetion to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Sites are selected by the Contracting Parties for

designation under the Convention by reference to the Criteria for the Identification of Wetlands of International Importance. The Parties’ designations are communicated to the Ramsar Bureau by means of a “Ramsar Information Sheet” which provides legal and scientific data on each site and is meant to be updated every six years. The new and updated data on Listed Sites is noted by the Bureau and copied to Wetlands International for inclusion in the Ramsar Sites.2

Afterword It is clear that freshwater ecosystems on small islands echo the range of ecosystems on continental landmasses, but that they are subject to particular pressures from human and natural perturbations. Working together, the UN Secretariat and its agencies, key Conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention and key NGO’s, can help small island nations and communities manage their freshwater ecosystems more effectively.


BENNETT, A.F. 2003. Linkages in the Landscape. (includes a CD-rom) Gland: IUCN Useful urls:


Roles of Agriculture in Small Island Economies Agriculture plays crucial roles in economic development. As theory for vent-for -surplus suggests, agricultural surplus (production over domestic consumption) is a kind of savings which will be used for investments in the manufacturing sector in the early stage of development. Increase in agricultural productivity is not only important for supporting increasing rural population, but also it is an essential condition for an economy to pursue industrialization. Therefore, in the early stage of economic development, agriculture is usually taxed for industrial development as an important source of industrial capital formation. In the later stage of development, however, agriculture is subsidized because of its declining productivity coupled with national food security.

Food security is particularly important for a small, isolated island economy where a stable supply of food is often interrupted by natural disasters such as wrought, typhoons, tsunami and unexpected environmental changes. Quite often, for these small islands, domestic food supply is the last resort for survival when natural disasters occur. This is particularly true for the South Pacific where islands are fragmented and located far from their major markets. Ironically, however, domestic food supply in these small islands has been neglected for a long time. Subsistence agriculture, which has provided basic necessity of foods to indigenous islanders, has been rapidly disappearing in all Pacific islands (Kakazu, 1994). Increasing food imports at the expense of traditional food supply have been major issues from food security and nutritional standpoints.


State of Agriculture in the Pacific Islands Agriculture, which was the dominant industry in all Pacific islands during the 1950s, now accounts for 28% (Samoa) to 1.4% (Okinawa) of islands Gross Domestic Products (TABLE 1). The importance of agriculture tends to diminish as per capita income rises. This is because the agricultural sector tends to generate low incomes in part because of the low income elasticities of its products as a whole compared to those of other sectors -as the cost of producing farm products fall with technological progress, prices tend to fall. Moreover, the skills required for traditional agricultural production are less highly developed and do not demand extensive education. These island economies followed these pattern more than any larger market economy.

Hiroshi Kakazu was born on the Island of Okinawa, Japan. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Nebraska in 1971. He served as Professor of the Ryukyu University, Economist of the Asian Development Bank, Professor of the International University of Japan and the Graduate School of International Development at Nagoya University, and Deputy Governor of the Okinawa Development Finance Corporation. Currently, Dr. Kakazu is Professor and head of IDS College of Bioresource Sciences at Nihon University.


Table 1: Land and agricultural shares in selected pacific island economies Total Land Area Cropped Land Population Annual Population Trade/GDP Per Capita (1000 sq km) Per Capita (sq m) (1000 persons) Growth Rate (%) (%) GDP

Okinawa Taiwan Cook Islands Marshall Islands Fiji Tonga Samoa Tuvalu Vanuatu Kiribati Papua New Guinea



2.3 36.2 0.2 0.2 18.3 0.7 2.8 0.03 12.2 0.7 452.9

311 382 3,911 590 3,519 4,786 7,147 n.a. 6,260 4,379 1,647


1,339 22,500 18 57 819 101 178 11 202 87 5,500


0.8 0.8 1.1 3.8 0.7 0.3 0.5 2.0 2.7 1.7 3.2


35 81.9 69.0 65.0 82.0 50.0 60.0 46.0 46.2 56.0 89.0

Shares of Gross Domestic Products Agriculture Manufacturing Services






20,000 12,630 4,270 2,190 2,150 1,530 1,490 1,260 1,050 830 580

3 4.2 21.1 12.4 22.2 34.7 23.0 25.6 20.7 18.6 29.0

1.4 1.9 12.4 13.8 na 28.6 14.3 16.8 17.4 14.2 26.9

5.9 33.3 3.9 1.2 12.7 6.0 19.6 6.0 5.5 1.2 9.0

5.3 25.7 2.9 1.6 na 5.6 14.8 5.6 3.9 0.8 8.5

1990 80.2 54.6 73.8 71.8 53.7 51.7 48.7 59.9 67.0 73.8 40.6

2002 86.5 67.1 83.0 69.0 na 56.4 63.1 56.4 73.4 75.0 31.5

Notes: 2002 Figures for Okinawa, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands are refer to 2001, and Tuvalu to 1998. Sources: Asian Development Bank, Key Indicators of Developing Asian and Pacific Countries. Okinawa Prefectural Government

Agricultural activities have been rapidly replaced by more productive secondary (manufacturing and construction) and services activities such as public works and tourism. In the case of small island economies, agricultural and manufacturing activities are severely constrained by their smallness and remoteness which deprive of any comparative cost advantage in the rapidly globalizing world. Despite the general recognition that agriculture is more important in small island economies than the larger ones, they are facing formidable tasks to sustain their domestic sources of food supply. First, an increasing population pressure on extremely limited land forced islanders to cultivate smaller and marginal land for food production which contributed declining agricultural productivity. Marshall Islands, for example, has only 590 square meters cropped land per capita which has been rapidly declined with more than 3% annual population increase (TABLE 1). Second, most of these islands are suffering from accelerated sea-level rise which is thought to be linked mainly with El Nino weather phenomenon caused by global

warming. Some of islands in Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru are about to disappear beneath the ocean. Pacific island countries have contributed just 0.06 per cent to global greenhouse gas emissions. But now, the changing climate and sea levels linked to global warming are affecting their water supply, food production, fisheries and coastlines. (Tutangata, 2000) Third, these islands are specialized in a few export crops such as copra, sugar,palm oil, cocoa, banana, taro and squash which are highly vulnerable to the weather and external market conditions. Almost all Pacific island economies were severely hit by devastating droughts of 1998. Owning to the droughts, Fijis sugar, which accounted for about 40% of its export earnings, fell by two-third. Tongas squash crop, about half of its export earnings, was cut in half. Export prices of these products have also been depressed for many years. Because of these unforeseen external shocks, economic growth rates of these small island economies subjected to a wide range of fluctuations which backfires any macroeconomic planning and management (FIG.1).

Fig.1 Economic Growth Rates of Selected South Pacific Economies, 1996-2001

Source: Same as TABLE 1.



Fourth, almost all South Pacific island economies are facing the age-old problem of efficient use of agricultural land due largely to complex land tenure systems. Most common pattern in the Pacific islands land tenure regimes is that land proprietary rights are concentrated in extended family or clan with restricted but complex rights of individual cultivator. Restrictions on access to property rights will always restrict the full realization of the potential productivity of the land (ADB, 1998). Fijis sugarcane production, for instance, has suffered from a complex land leasing contracts between Indian sugar growers and indigenous Fijians land owners. Although it is clearly understood that both parties would get benefits from stable, secured and productive use of cane land under the long-term lease contract, Fijians have been reluctant to do so owing to socio-political reasons.

Agricultural Success Stories of the Pacific Islands Despite increasingly adverse agricultural environments in these Pacific islands, some success stories are reported. One welldocumented story is Tongas squash (small pumpkins). In the late 1970s, Tonga started diversifying its cash products from traditional products such as desiccated coconut, coconut oil, taro, yams, sweet potatoes and bananas to vanilla beans and squash. Vanilla beans gradually replaced coconut products and became the most important export crop by 1988 accounting for more than 30% of total agricultural exports. After many years of gestation periods, squash emerged as an important cash crop in 1989. Squash exports

Fig. 2: Exports of Tongaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Squash and Vanilla Beans, 1989-2000

Source: Same as TABLE 1.

amounted to $T13 million in 1993 accounting for 70% of its agricultural exports (FIG.2). The success due largely to easy market access to Japan as well as Tongas October-March squash production season which fits neatly into the off seasons of other competitive suppliers. As is reflected in fluctuating export trend, squash production has been suffering from risks arising from uncertain market prices and weather conditions. Another success story is Okinawas rising exports of diversified agricultural products such as flowers, tobacco, string bean, green pepper, bitter melon, mango and various healthy foods. Traditionally sugarcane and pineapple have been the most important cash crops, accounting for more than 20% of all farm incomes and 50% of cultivated land. Incomes from sugarcane and pineapple production, however, have declined significantly in recent years as a result of stagnant prices and productivity as well as increased international competition (FIG.3). Okinawa's sugar industry has only been surviving through the governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s price support programs. Only fresh pineapple and pineapple wine are holding their own, and this as a result of tourists' consumption. It has been an urgent task for the local government and farmers to diversify from sugarcanecentered monocultural agriculture into other diversified cash crops. Okinawaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s promising agricultural products are in the area of high value-added "Healthy foods." "Okinawa" is fast becoming a brand name for "health and longevity" because of its world-renowned "healthy islands" image. Okinawa's life expectancy, in the past two decades, has increased from 72 to 77 years for men, and 79 to 85 years for women, making Okinawa the healthiest place in the world. Okinawa's longevity is the product of

a complex combination of climate, culture, closely-knit social organizations, foods and lifestyles. Foods are considered to be the most important factor for long life. Okinawans are accustomed to consuming less salty, mineral rich foods than mainlanders. Various healthy foods have been developed and marketed nationwide, including ukon (turmeric), bitter melon (well-known as goya) products, naturally processed salt, sea vegetable products (mozuku), dietary ostrich meat, and various deep-sea water products, just to name a few wellknown examples. Bitter melon especially became popular and the best selling healthy vegetable. Although production scales of these "niche" products are still small, they possess comparative advantages in uniqueness of resource use and technology. Furthermore, these products usually require more local inputs, including raw materials and labor, than conventional trading products. A breakthrough towards high value-added, diversified agriculture came after the complete eradication of the melon fly from all the Okinawa islands in 1993 (Kakazu, 2003). The melon flies affected more than 40 important vegetables and fruits including highlypriced mangos and bitter melon, thereby preventing

these infested products from exporting to fly-free areas in mainland Japan. As can been seen in FIG.3, mangos and bitter melon became Okinawas star cash crops after the melon fly eradication. The melon fly eradication project itself has been regarded as a great success story in the Asia-Pacific agricultural development because it employed the Areawide Integrated Pest Management Method based on the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) which is not only cost effective for controlling of the pest insect but it is also friendly to the environment for reducing the need for insecticides. The eradication completed in Kume Island in 1978, followed by the


Fig.3: Traditional and diversified cash products of Okinawa

Source: Okinawa General Bureau, the Cabinet Office

Miyako Islands in 1987, the Okinawa Islands in 1990 and finally the Yaeyama Islands in 1993. The total project costs during the eradication period amounted to about $172 million, utilizing 320,000 man-hours. Based on estimating assumptions and conventional cost-benefit analysis, I attempted to estimate the net benefits of the eradication project. The results of estimation show that the project produced net accumulated benefits within 6 years after the project completion

with zero opportunity cost of capital because of interest-free public funding (FIG.4) The net benefits estimated in this study are those arising from the commercial shipments of melon fly host products. If we include environmental and preventive benefits such as pesticide-free farming, preservation of the natural enemies, and above all preventing the insect pests from further spreading into mainland Japan, the net private as well as social benefits far exceed the estimated

Fig. 4: Net benefis (NB) of the melon fly eradication project in Okinawa, 1991-2000

commercial benefits. The project proved to be viable even on commercial basis. Assuming 3.26% real discount rate during the project implementation period, the project pays itself (self liquidating) in 1998 with net present value of the project roughly equals to the total project costs. That is to say, the project recovered its total investment costs within 8 years after project completion, while covering the opportunity cost of capital. Any success story is accompanied by a great deal of painstaking effort, both in research and development as well as massive mobilization of human and capital resources. Most important, avid support of the local people and public organizations, were an integral part of the success story. Okinawas success story probably contains more than it was told. The technological know-how and strategies for the success will be transferred successfully to infested areas worldwide, particularly island areas such as Hawaii and the South Pacific.
























Total Benefits Total Costs












Net Benefits












Source: Kakazu (2003)



ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK. 1998. Improving Growth Prospects in the Pacific. Manila: ADB Pacific Studies Series. pp.1-130. KAKAZU, H. 1994. Sustainable Development of Small Island Economies. Boulder: Westview Pess. _________. 2003. Economic Evaluation of the Melon Fly Eradication Project in Okinawa. INSULA: International Journal of Island Affairs. Year 12, No.1, pp.41-50. TUTANGATA, T. Sumer 2000. Sinking Islands, Vanishing Worlds. Earth Island Journal, Vol.15, No.2, p.1.


Introduction Indonesia is a largest archipelagic state situated in the equator, occupying an area bounded by L 95oE, L 141oE, M 6oN, and M 11oS, stretches for 5,100 km from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean, with a total land area of 191 million hectares (MSPE 1993). This geographic area is associated with territorial waters of some 317 million hectares and an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of about 473 million hectares. These total areas make up about 2,1% of the globe surface. The total coastline length of the islands make up about 81,000 km (about 14% of all the coastline in the world). This archipelago has more than 17,000 islands of extremely diverse in size, shape, age and ecological characteristics (Fig. 1). Roughly there are 3 categories of island sizes found in Indonesia, namely: a) main islands (the Greater Sunda islands) of Kalimantan (53, 583,400 ha), Irian Jaya (41,480,000 ha, on New Guinea), Sumatra

(47,530,900 ha), Sulawesi (18,614,500 ha), and Java (13,257,100 ha); b) much smaller islands of Nusa Tenggara (the Lesser Sunda islands) with a total area of 8,074,000 ha, and Maluku (the Mollucas) with 7,801,900 ha; c) very small islands, which with the larger islands make up a total of more than 17,000 islands in the archipelago. The larger islands such as Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi, some of the Nusa Tenggara Islands, and some of the smaller islands such as the Krakatau are greatly influenced by the presence of vulcanism. In the whole country there are some 100 volcanoes alive and exerting an ongoing influence on soils. The sea is also featuring some specific characteristics. The depths are varied considerably, as a consequence of being on two different continental shelves. The Greater Sunda Islands are on the Sunda Shelf with sea depth among the islands of around 200 m or less. The eastern


part of the country is located on the Sahul Shelf, including the Papua New Guinea Island (the western part of which is the Indonesian Irian Jaya), and its associated Aru Island. This article is focused on the small islands of Indonesia, based on the consideration that more comprehensive accounts on these islands may be presented for further purpose. So far, works on small islands in Indonesia are sporadic and over-all outlook has never been accounted for. This situation has disadvantage that the development of the islands may not be comprehensively planned. The purpose of presenting this article is to expose the conditions of these small islands from the following aspects: 1. the geography: number and locations; 2. their natural conditions: mainly on the biotic aspects; 3. the status in the management, conservation and utilization: their roles for the country and for the world;

Figure 1 The three archipelagic states: Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Soenartono Adisoemarto is the Secretary and one of the founders of NATURINDO Foundation. NATURINDO is a foundation active in promoting the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity. The author was born in Indonesia in 1936, receiving university education in Agriculture, Entomology and Biology in two universities in Canada, namely University of Alberta in Edmonton (BSc, 1963; MSc,1965), and Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario (PhD, 1970). He has been active in the sustainable use of biological resources projects, from 1974-1987. His involvement in the management of the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biodiversity has been started since 1990, in preparing country involvement in UNCED in Rio, Brazil, and implementing the CBD including national and international endeavours. Contact: or Jalan Siaga No. 4 Sindangbarang, Bogor â&#x20AC;&#x201C; INDONESIA. Phone/Fax: +62 251 486870 and Cellphone: + 62 81 111 8523.


4. treatments have been given in relation to the protection of the islands; 5. the trends of their status and conditions: so that action may be planned for the purpose of conserving their roles and functions; 6. and in the future, realistic plan of actions may be developed for the maintenance of these islands to keep on functioning and playing important roles for human welfare.

Naming of the islands Naming the geographical elements, such as cities, towns, districts, villages, mountains, mounts, hills, rivers, lakes, seas, and islands, is important for administrative order in the management of the country. These official documents will be the important references for running the government, by the societies, mass media, school teaching, map developers, etc. This has further needed urgent endeavour in the official and permanent naming of these geographical elements (DEPDAGRI 2003). In relation to the geographical naming, Indonesia as a member of the United Nations has an obligation to submit reports on the standardization of the geographical names of islands and island groups in the form of National Gazeteers, as official documents, to fulfil the requirement for obtaining international recognition. Indonesia has a long endeavour ever since from the issue of Juanda Declaration in 1957 to the issue of the Act Number 17 of 1985, concerning the Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982 (UNCLOS). UN Resolution I/4, 1972

requires every state the formation of National Names Authority with jobs in developing policy on the standardization of the geographical names in their territories. It is important that the naming of geographical elements to be done and made uniform in the spellings as well as in the names, since these have the function as one of the communication media. Naming more than 17,000 islands is not an easy job. For the greater islands, it is relatively easier. For the small islands there are a number of difficulties. The first difficulty is the definition of the small islands. UNCLOS has set definition on small islands (Article 121) as “1. An island is a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide.” Our concern is on the small islands. The second difficulty is the standards used in defining small islands. There are various standards for defining small islands (Bengen 2003). The Ministerial Decree No. 41, 2000, of the Department of Marine and Fisheries define small island as an island of equal to or less than 10,000 km2 in area, with the population of less than 200,000. This number may be modified into 500,000. At the Commonwealth Science Council Meeting in 1984, it has been decided that the area of small island is at the maximum of 5,000 km2. Office of the Hydro-Oceanography (DISHIDROS) of the Indonesian Navy published in 1987 the total number of islands in Indonesia. The count has come to 17,508 islands. However, in the last few years, Indonesia has lost four of its islands, leaving 17,504 in the possession. These are 2 islands

Blotched Hawfish Cirrhitichthys aprimus on anemone tentacles.



to Malaysia (Sipadan and Ligitan), and 2 (Kambing and Yako) to East Timor (Timor Leste). In addition there are 5 islands of the Seribu Islands in Jakarta Bay have gone due to abrasion, several have been merged to other islands, and some others are facing threats due to sinking (Susetyo 2003). In that year the number of named islands was 5,707, and in 1992 the National Coordinating Agency for Surveying and Mapping (Badan Koordinasi Survai dan Pemetaan Nasional – BAKOSURTANAL) came to 6,115 named sea and ocean islands, and 374 river islands. The surveys are still going, and it is believed, that the number of the named islands is increasing. Department of Internal Affairs in their survey in 2002 revealed a new number of 7,387 named islands, and the rest, 10,117 are still unnamed. Each of the province in the country is at present doing reidentification of the islands present in their provinces. It is hoped that in the end of 2003 the number will be identified correctly. Counting the number of islands and the coastline length is being verified by applying remote sensing technology (Hasyim et al. 2003). Out of these named islands, 67 islands are the border islands, facing India (5), Malaysia (22), Singapore (3), Vietnam (3), the Philippines (10), Australia (15), Timor Leste (1), Palau (7), and PNG (1), while 12 of these need special attention since they are the outermost islands, bordering Indonesia from the neighbouring countries. These are Rondo (Aceh – Sumatra), Berhala (North Sumatra), Sekatung, Nipa (Riau – Sumatra), Marore, Miangas, Marampit (Nort Sulawesi), Batek, Dana (East Nusa Tenggara), Fani, Fanildo, and Bras (Papua). The naming of the islands (including change/renaming, deletion, and giving new names) is using the following principles and flow scheme: 1. proposed by the local area people to the head of the village; 2. the village head will process further together with the Village Representative Assembley, to be forwarded to the subdistrict authority; 3. the subdistrict authority will further submit the proposal to the district authority or city mayor; 4. the district authority or mayor will appoint the Committee on the Naming of the

Geographical Elements to study and do research; 5. the results will be used as tha basis for naming the geographical elements concerned by decree of the district authority or mayor; 6. the Local People Representative will receive the copy of the decree. There are other technical principles that are used for naming geographical elements, including islands: a) using roman alphabets; b) using local names; c) using national language; d) avoid names indicating discrimination; e) avoid using names of people still living; f) avoid names of companies; g) avoid foreign words, except there is historical background; h) avoid too long name; i) complying international convention; j) complying national laws. As there are more than 10,000 islands in Indonesia still unnamed (mostly small islands), there is a strategy for naming these islands. The first step is socializing the policy of island naming, followed by technical capacity building to the local instruments, preparing a policy in the form of the planned Presidential Decree on the Naming of the Geographical Elements, and the planned Decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs on the Naming of the Geographical Elements (including islands). The next steps are developing cooperation and network with the technical institutes in charge of the naming, namely DISHIDROS, BAKOSURTANAL, and Department of Marine and Fisheries, in standardizing the island names.

Small islands of Indonesia Since the Third International Hydrological Programme (IHP-III) of the UNESCO developed one of its thematic programmes on small islands, the standardization of small island definition and limitation has become important. Based on the fresh water requirement and need, small island defined as less than 1,000 km2 with less 10 km in width. However, there are quite a number of islands with 1,000-2,000 km2 in area having common characteristics and problems with those of islands of less than 1,000 km2. UNESCO

Mating nudibrach Nembrotha purpureolineolata.

finally defined the small island as having area of less than 2,000 km2. UNESCO further differentiates very small islands from small islands, based on the limitation of fresh water resources. Small islands with not more than 100 km2 in area or with not more than 3 km in width are catagorized as very small islands (UNESCO 1991). However, in this article, those two catagories will be treated equally. It is suggested that if the definition of small island is including socio-economic use and demographic aspects, the utilization of small island should be based on conservation. With this consideration, only 50% of the area of small island may be utilized. Combined with the definition set by the Department of Marine and Fisheries, islands with less than 2,000 km2 should be occupied by less than 20,000 people. Islands may be catagorized based on the origin of the formation and be classified into several types. Many of the small islands of Indonesia fall into the following categories: 1. vucanic islands, included in this category are Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Wetar and Timor, the Krakataus, Banda, Tidore; the tectonic islands of this category are Nias, Siberut and Enggano, west of Sumatra; the monadnock islands include Batan, Bintan and Belitung, east of Sumatra; mixed genesis islands are Haruku, Nusa Laut, Kisar and Rote; 2. raised coral islands, such as Sangihe Islands, Solor, Alor, Lembata; 3. lowland islands, as for example Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) in the Bay of

Jakarta, Samalona in Sulawesi; a subcategory of this island type is the alluvial islands, which is exemplified by the islands in the estuary of the Mahakam river in Kalimantan; 4. atolls, such as Tukang Besi and Takabone Rate. Small islands are characterized by the following features: a) separated from the main island; b) water resources are limited, with small water catchment, consequently the surface water will directly flow to the sea; c) sensitive and vulnerable to the external influences, natural as well as man-made; d) containing endemic species with high ecological value; e) aquatic area is relatively greater than terrestrial area; relatively isolated from that of the main island or continent; f) no remote hinterland.

Development programmes on the small islands Development in Indonesia has been reoriented to the development in marine sector. Small islands have great potentials for the development of resource-based industries, such as fisheries, manufacturing, and tourism. These islands will provide productive natural resources (Retraubun 2003). Small islands are potential resources in having coral reefs, seagrass, mangrove, fishery resource, as biological resources, as well as non-biological resources such as mining and marine energy.


Coral reefs There are two kinds of use of these resources, direct use such as the fish habitat, producer of biotic components and rock-lime, and indirect use such as the formation/barrier against the sea abrasion. It has been discovered that coral reef contains bioactive agents for medicines, foods and cosmetics. Seagrass This resource is found in a shallow clean and clear sea of 2-12 m deep. For the small islands, seagrass is important since it produces detritus and nutrients and stabilizing soft substrates by enticing its root system. Seagrass is also playing role as the hiding place for many of marine biota for their life development. This resource may be used for marine culture. Mangrove The potential value of mangrove has been well known. In addition to its function ad the barrier against abrasion, as wind-breaker, and protector against tsunami, habitat for shrimp larvae and fish fries, mangrove is also important as the provider of biological resources. It produces wood, bioactive compounds etc. The natural condition of small islands is good for such species that are adaptable to the sandy substrates and low input of organic sediments that is a group of Avicennia.



Fishery resource Ecologically, small islands are associated to coral reefs. It can be expected that the biological resources found in this environment are those closely related to the biota inhabiting coral reefs.

and will be done on some of the small islands. The results of these activities may be able to be used for planning for developing the small island potentials into the actual values. The following is the list of activities on the islands.

Non-biological resources Directorate General of Geology and Mineral Resources of the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources has made a list of small islands in producing minerals, including the companies that have been operating on the islands. Not less than 25 small islands have been mined for their minerals.

Past activities Interest on the Malay Archipelago had been shown by previous explorers and naturalists, such as George Everhard Rumph (Georgii Everhardi Rumphius) for Ambon and the neighboring islands of the eastern Indonesia in the second half of the 17th century (Honig & Verdoorn 1945) and Alfred Russell Wallace (Wallace, 1890). The activities on exploring and revealing the islandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; treasures had been going on for many decades that follow. Krakatau volcano erupted in 1883, leaving the volcanic island into one-third of the total size. The devastation happened as well on the neighboring islands. In 1933, fifty years after the eruption, Dammerman (1948) gave detailed accounts on the evolutionary succession of the fauna to this island-complex. Expeditions, explorations, and inventories have been conducted, and turned this island complex into a natural laboratory in biology and evolution. Inventories, surveys and researches have been conducted in some strategic small islands for various purposes. Around Java, in addition to Nusakambangan Island, there were activities done in Panaitan Island at the western tip of Java. Limited observation was done on the distribution of some groups of molluscs.

Marine energy Ocean thermal energy conversion may be developed in small islands as alternative energy to anticipate the exhaustion of conventional energy such as coal, gas, etc. In addition to the materials provided by small islands, these islands are also able to give service, such in tourism. There are several types of potential tourism developed in small islands, such as marine tourism, terrestrial tourism, and cultural tourism. Small islands also open opportunity for the development of certain industries, especially maritime industries, ship building and repair. Potential inventories on small islands are continued to be carried out, individually as well as in integrated way (Matindas et al. 2003) Where to go and how to develop such potentials into actual values? Activities have

The Moluccas, from the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Livro das Plantas das Fortalezas, Cidades e Povoaçoes do Estado da India Oriental


Similar study was also done on Rupat Island in Riau Province (Sumatra). On some of the Thousand Islands complex, observation on fish fluctuation was also conducted. Around Sumatra, the small island activities had been carried out in Siberut, Unggas and Rupat on mangrove covering studies on communities and zonation. On other islands, around Kalimantan, the study was on mangrove floristic, while in Aru Islands (Maluku – the Moloccas) on preliminary aspects and in Buru was on mangrove potentials. On Ambon Island, study was made to observe the population of Polychaeta.

• Karimun Jawa Islands (110.-110.40 EL; 5.40-5.57 SM) Marine Park management, including conservation of biological resources; marine fauna and flora, coral reefs, seagrass and algae, mangrove, coastal forests, fauna and other marine biota. Researches are conducting on this islands regarding aspects of conservation and sustainable use of the resources. • Bunaken National Park (124.28-124.49 EL; 0.57-1.50 NM) Underwater wonders are found here. This island complex is protected as a national

park to make sure the sustainability of the island biota. However, some mainland activities with their polluting impacts have caused threats to the islands. The Indonesian National Development Program 2000-2004 has set policy regarding the national development on small islands. To comprehend the development policy, the following is some of the important ones. 1. provision of services in the isolated and remote area, especially transportation; 2. integrated coastal zone and marine development, including mapping of their potentials;

On-going and being planned • Nusa Kambangan Island (108.03.30108.45.00 EL; 7.40.30-7.46.30 SM) Research on the flora of the island and on the coastal zone of this island has been carried out for some decades (Partomihardjo et al. 2001, 2003; Rumantyo et al. 2003). The aims of the researches are to lay foundation for the sustainable management of the island. • Pulau Seribu/Thousand Islands (106.25106.40 EL; 5.24-5.40 SM) Marine Park management, including conservation of biological resources: marine fauna and flora; mangrove; coral reefs (BTNKS 2000)


3. increasing control on the utilization of the islandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; potentials; 4. capacity building for the local populations for economic development, by selecting the right investments. This policy will have to be followed up with conceptual studies, identifications and analyses. A matrix of the policy on the development of small islands and remote islands has been formulated, by identifying the size of the islands and the potentials that may be utilized on the respective islands.

Over-all outlook Looking over the activities that have been carried out on the small islands of Indonesia, it is obvious that there has no comprehensive and sustained undertaking. The activities, except on some islands, are sporadic and abrupt. There is no clear pattern of the research activities. It is, therefore, rather difficult to plan solid program on the protection of the islands that need the protection badly. Data on the islands must be available, if the protection plan will be developed fruitfully. Many of the small islands are even neglected, as for example some islands of the Thousand Islands at the Jakarta Bay. The


BENGEN, DG. 2003. Definisi, batasan, dan realitas pulau kecil (Definition, limitation and reality of small islands). Laporan Semiloka Penentuan Definisi dan Pendataan Pulau-pulau Kecil. Ditjen Pesisir dan Pulau-pulau Kecil, Departemen Kalautan dan Perikanan (Directorate General of Coastal Zone and Small Islands of the Department of Marine and Fisheries). Jakarta, 26 May 2003. DAMMERMAN, KW. 1948. The fauna of Krakatau. 1883-1933. Kon. Ned. Akad. Wet., Verhandelingen (12th Section) Vol. 44: 1-594. 1948. DEPDAGRI. 2003. Penamaan pulau-pulau (Naming of small islands). Laporan Semiloka Penentuan Definisi dan Pendataan Pulau-pulau Kecil. Ditjen Pesisir dan Pulau-pulau Kecil, Departemen Kalautan dan Perikanan (Directorate General of Coastal Zone and Small Islands of the Department of Marine and Fisheries). Jakarta, 26 May 2003. HASYIM, B., G. WINARSO, S. SULMA. 2003. Pendataan pulau dan garis pantai menggunakan teknologi penginderaan jauh (Counting the number of islands and coastline length by applying remote sensing technology). Laporan Semiloka Penentuan Definisi dan Pendataan Pulau-pulau Kecil. Ditjen Pesisir dan Pulau-pulau Kecil, Departemen Kalautan dan Perikanan (Directorate General of Coastal Zone and Small Islands of the Department of Marine and Fisheries). Jakarta, 26 May 2003. HONIG, P. & F. VERDOORN (Eds.) 1945. Science and scientists in the Netherlands Indies. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indi. Vol. 102. Special Supplement. New York City. MATINDAS, RW., A. PONIMAN & SUWAHYUONO.



Emperor Angelfish Pomacanthus imperatur.

neglect is mainly due to the ignorance of many of those who are supposed to give care to the existence of small islands, namely in exploration, inventory, observation and research. It is no wonder that the development of small islands, especially their management that includes conservation and sustainable use, is not in happy destination and proper rate, since scientists in the aspects of island potentials, biotic and non-biological, of the islands are very limited in number, and their understanding on the existence of small

islands and research program are limited. Their involvement, role and contribution in the development of small islands are, actually, very much needed.

2003. Pendataan pulau-pulau kecil di Indonesia dan dukungan infrastruktur data spatial nasional (Inventory of data on small islands in Indonesia and the support of national spatial data infrastructure). Laporan Semiloka Penentuan Definisi dan Pendataan Pulau-pulau Kecil. Ditjen Pesisir dan Pulau-pulau Kecil, Departemen Kalautan dan Perikanan (Directorate General of Coastal Zone and Small Islands of the Department of Marine and Fisheries). Jakarta, 26 May 2003. MSPE. 1993. Indonesian country study on biological diversity. Prepared for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A study under the Work Programme for Environment Cooperation between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Norway. Ministry of State for Population and Environment. Jakarta, 1993. PARTOMIHARDJO, T., EN. SAMBAS & S. PRAWIROATMODJO. 2001. Pengelolaan dan pemanfaatan Pulau Nusakambangan sebagai sisa-sisa hutan hujan dataran rendah berupa ekosistem kepulauan di era otonomi daerah (Management and utilization of Nusakambangan Island as a remnant of lowland rainforest as island ecosystem in the era of decentrralization). Prosiding Seminar dan Lokakarya Nasional Nusakambangan 2001 (Poceedings of National Seminar and Workshop on Nusakambangan 2001): 39-48. PARTOMIHARDJO, T., RUMANTYO & S. PRAWIROATMODJO. 2003. Biological diversity of small islands: case study on landscape, vegetation and floristic notes of Nusakambangan Island, Cilacap â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Indonesia. Research Report of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan No. 175, 2003: 106-111.

RETRAUBUN, ASW. 2003. Prospek pengembangan pulau-pulau kecil (Prospects of small island development). Laporan Semiloka Penentuan Definisi dan Pendataan Pulau-pulau Kecil. Ditjen Pesisir dan Pulaupulau Kecil, Departemen Kalautan dan Perikanan (Directorate General of Coastal Zone and Small Islands of the Department of Marine and Fisheries). Jakarta, 26 May 2003. RUMANTYO, T. PARTOMIHARDJO, S. PRAWIROATMODJO & B. HARTOKO. 2003. Utilization of Indonesia Biodiversity Information System (IBIS) for biodivesity data management in Indonesia. Case study: flora from Nusakambangan Island, Central Java, Indonesia. Research Report of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan No. 175, 2003: 100-105. SUSETYO, TH. 2003. Pengitungan pulau dan garis pantai (Counting the island number and coastline length). Laporan Semiloka Penentuan Definisi dan Pendataan Pulau-pulau Kecil. Ditjen Pesisir dan Pulaupulau Kecil, Departemen Kalautan dan Perikanan (Directorate General of Coastal Zone and Small Islands of the Department of Marine and Fisheries). Jakarta, 26 May 2003. UNCLOS. 1982. United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea. Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea of December 1982. UNESCO. 1991. Hydrology and water resources of small islands: a practical guide. Study and Report on Hydrology No. 49. WALLACE, AR. 1890. The Malay Archipelago. Periplus Edition of 1987.


Located at the eastern entrance of the Gulf of Aden, the Soqotra archipelago lies between latitudes 12º06’ N and 12º42’ N and longitudes 52º04’E and 54º32’E. It consists of the main island Soqotra (3,549 Km2), three smaller islands, Abd al-Kuri (162 Km2) and “The Brothers”, Samhah (45 Km2) and Darsa (10 Km 2) and two rocks, Cal Farun and Hertha. Abd al-Kuri, the westernmost of the archipelago, lies at only 100 Km from Cape Guardafui, in Somalia. Soqotra itself lies at about 240 Km East off the Horn of Africa and at some 300 km from Ras Fartaq, on the Arabian mainland. The whole archipelago politically belongs to the Republic of Yemen. Like the Seychelles and Madagascar, they are continental islands, which formed part of the southern continent Gondwana until the late Cretaceous. Since then, as a result of the long isolation, a high degree of endemism characterises the flora and fauna of the whole archipelago, and particularly of the largest island, Soqotra, a “hot spot” of the world biological diversity.

Since the Tertiary Period, the archipelago maintained a warm and arid climate which is substantiated by the conservation of relict species and a high endemism rate. The flora of the island includes about 850 species (Mies 1994,1998, Miller & Bazara´a, 1998), of which 273 (32%) species and 8 infraspecific taxa are believed to be endemic. There are 10 endemic genera, being 8 of them monotypic and thus don’t represent significant examples of insular evolution, which has probably taken place within the genera Heliotropium (11 endemic species), Boswellia (at least 7 endemic species), and Helichrysum (9 endemic species). Soqotra is not only a floristic sanctuary but an entire, and an up-to-now, conserved ecosystem representing a model for the Horn of Africa and East African Region at the whole, as the island had a natural vegetation cover and a self-sufficient pastoral society. In recent years, zoological research in the archipelago has produced a wealth of results which also underline the global importance of the faunistic diversity of the island and its surrounding coastal and marine areas.


Why are desertification and phytodiversity interconnected? Habitats are fragmented and populations decrease to island-like areas of occurrence in regions which are subject to increased aridification. As evolution processes, the isolation of taxa and a genetical drift can increase biodiversity due to a higher ambient adaptation pressure (Stebbins 1952). On the other hand, loss of habitats and Giuseppe Orlando is economist and geographer with a strong interest in the evolution and systematics of vegetation of arid areas, in particular in Eastern Africa and Southern Arabia. He is specialised in sustainable development of small islands and has been working at Insula since 1993. He has been directly involved in the declaration of several island Biosphere Reserves and has worked in several projects dealing with renewable energy, tourism, and telematics on islands. E-mail: Bruno Mies is botanist and plant ecologist at University of Essen, working in systematics of phanerogams and cryptogams, vegetation, ecology, desertication and habitat conservation. He has been extensively working in Southern Yemen and Socotra within Biota Africa project. E-mail:


isolation of populations from each other may be followed by a decrease in biodiversity as the genetic drift causes a loss of potential genetic diversity in isolated populations. At least, those populations start with a reduced potential into the necessary adaptation to differing environmental conditions (Boyce 1992, Menges 1992, Ellstrand & Elam 1993). Concluding that, an anthropogenic desertification affects or depletes biodiversity and the ecosystem. Many factors are interconnected and still not understood; therefore, an interdisciplinary approach was formulated under the Yemeni-German BIOTA project “Biodiversity and Ecology of palaeoafrican refugial areas in Southern Arabia and on Soqotra Island”. This study is the result of a ten years’ period of vegetation observation on Soqotra Island and its recent trends since 1993 (Mies & Beyhl 1999, Mies 2001), showing that an increased and obvious usage of wood and pasture began intensively in 1998, which substituted the traditional and sustainable economies. Traditional use of Soqotran natural resources may be called “sustainable”, as there was no observable decrease in quantities and densities of vegetation covers and hence, the potential for complete regrowth has been preserved. A deforestation would result in desertification, an irreversible change of natural environments which depletes the livelihood of man and his livestock as well as potential husbandry and forestry (Beyhl & Mies 1998).

The first scientific expeditions to the archipelago date at the end of the 19th century. After that period, not many surveys and have been made by western scientists. The most important of them was the Middle East Command Expedition in the spring 1967. After the withdrawal of the British from Yemen in 1967 Soqotra remained virtually closed to foreigners and further scientific exploration. Research started again in 1982, when the geographical and biological departments of the University of Aden sent a scientific mission to Soqotra. In 1985 the island botanist Quentin Cronk visited Soqotra and found that although there were still large herds of livestock and extensive wood-cutting, the environment was largely unspoilt. He said: “Having seen the degradation overgrazing can cause, I was staggered to come across a place which was in all probability substantially the same now as 1000 years ago.”

People, Development and Sustainable Island Management Soqotra was described by Kossmat (1907) as one of the most isolated places on earth, and this was true until a few years ago, as the island was accessible only by boat or little aeroplanes, and the strong monsoon winds cut communication with the mainland for several months in summer. The opening of the island to the world, due to a the attractivity of an offshore drilling survey in 1996 and to a project to conserve the biodiversity since 1998 and thanks to the new airport inaugurated in 1999, marked a crucial turning point for the fragile ecosystems of the archipelago.



Pie de foto

The low population density and the subsistence economy of the inhabitants caused little impact on the environment. Thanks to this, many areas are still well conserved. The central granitic peaks, valleys such as Wadi Ayhaft, and several coastal areas are all interesting biotopes characterised by a high floristic and faunistic diversity. People traditionally practise rotational grazing. Live trees and shrubs are rarely felled and camels are periodically banned from the hyper-arid west of the island, preserving the island’s fragile equilibrium. A network of tribal councils strictly enforce these rules. Most of the traditional population on the island of Soqotra subsist on livestock and the collection of natural products. The farmers gained their income from meat and milk production by their goat, sheep and cattle livestock, and collected natural resins of dragon’s blood, incense, myrrh, and Aloe sap which actually have lost their economical

benefits for them as Yemeni markets absorb more and more of similar but cheaper products from India, Southeast Asia or Somalia. At the same time, increasing aridity observed over the last 30 years in East Africa and Arabia seemed to take place - with all consequences on man and nature - and has further reduced the benefits of natural resources, grazing lands and productive forest especially. Natural population growth at more than 3% per year and a strong immigration from the mainland leave their own imprint on land use changes. Traditional grazing and tree-based economy is forced to exploit fragile land for food production, to shorten traditional non-use or fallow periods, and to overgraze marginal rangelands and forests. Subsequent decline in natural productivity, short-term loss of top soil, wind and water erosion, and desertification have reached alarming proportions. The gap widens between growing demand for food and forage and declining regional carrying capacity. At the same time, rural and urban population growth and the associated demand for wood as fuel for domestic consumption have induced uncontrolled deforestation and widespread destruction of the semiarid forest biome, the Croton socotranus bushland and mixed forests with Commiphora and Boswellia trees. In the absence of available oil and gas resources affordable to the local income - fuelwood supplies for the main villages and cities are becoming critically constrained. Woodlands in the hinterland are cleared at rapidly grow-

ing distances from the city. Current prices for fuelwood are soaring, making this vital resource more and more unaffordable especially for the poor, the majority of the population. As the situation on mainland Yemen is generally as bad as such, the ecosystems of the island of Soqotra were depleted since 1996 increasingly and a drastic change is obvious towards desertification. An economic and social dimension is then added to an already bleak ecological imbalance as a result of deforestation - a process leading to: • rapid soil loss, • irreversible exposure of stone plaster or impenetrable soil crusts, • increasing surface runoff on the plateaux, • gullying and loss of usable land on the glacis, • sedimentation and flooding on the bottomlands, • regional groundwater depression to mention just a few responses of the ecosystem. Since 1994, the examinations of vegetation on the island done before and in the continuing field studies show large and expanding circles of barren land around the centres of population. Such man-made ‘desert islands’ can neither be reclaimed in the time-span of a human life nor in terms of available financial resources. Bushland and forests of remote plains, inland valleys and highlands were relatively intact and conserved from excessive use (fuel wood, house-building) because motor vehicles could not reach them. Before, wood had been cut down to that extent which covered the daily own needs for cooking and

building. Improving the infrastructure led to better tracks and situation has changed with more traffic. The inhabitants of the inner areas are now able to cut more wood and to earn more income from the villages because of transportation facilities by four wheel drive and all terrain vehicles. The following figures may simply illustrate the current and appearing fuelwood crisis of Soqotra (Mies 2001): population of the main village of Hadibu in 1989 was less than 1000 heads; forests within walking distance from the village outskirts could provide sufficient fuelwood for domestic consumption. The total area of the Hadibu plain contributes 2% (89.4 km²) to the surface of the island. The 1999 population of Hadibu was estimated four-fold at 4000 heads: forests at 5 to 12 km distance were supplying appr. 1200 tons of fuelwood each year - a stack of wood over 5.7 km long and 1 m high. The whole population of the island consists of 80.000 people at present who should use a stack of a length of 114 km, even longer than the island itself from East to West. At current rates of wood consumption (300 kg/head/annum) and population increase by natural population growth and a drastic migration, the remaining forests of Soqotra and their productive environments will have disappeared by twenty years. A culturally acceptable national intervention plan must resolve the fuelwood crisis and save and keep productive the remaining forests one of the only relict forests spots Yemen has. Forests are not independent and isolated land cover units and must be viewed and protected as the stabilising component within the context of traditionally complex land use systems.


Common evaluation is that “poor man’s energy crisis” gained and kept its momentum because basic and applied research have ignored the interrelated ecological, economic and socio-cultural realities - the latter of which meaning “traditional” - of tree-based rural and pastoral economies. Broad based research is needed to interpret the role of forests in the hinterlands of Yemen and Soqotra as a component of both an urban and a rural ecological and economic system. Although the island has recently been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the international research community has barely begun to be aware of the issue of land surface and social change involved: Locally on the island, the mentioned project has focussed on protecting park areas and conserving key species. Regionally and on the continent-wide scale, major funding is trying to model shrinking zonal forests or grasslands and other parameters of desertification via remote satellite sensing, mainly in relation to global change and meteorological drought, to inappropriate colonial and postcolonial land use and related feedback mechanisms for global models. Only exceptional studies have dealt with field surveys in the arid Subtropics in order to evaluate the ecologically balanced use of woodlands in pre-colonial times and with the theoretical basis to inventory and monitor renewable resources. Those rare ones have really assessed possibilities to increase the human-ecological carrying capacity of semiarid lands by means of agroforestry or nature protection (AGNEW & WARREN 1996, HALWAGY & al. 1995). The actual state of vegetation on Soqotra still offers a unique chance to have these original pre-colonial data available yet. Studies of forests and their ecology are a possible solution to the environmental and energy difficulties facing semiarid Africa-Arabia. Social perception of and response to deforestation within the broader context of drought and desertification are poorly understood – and at least on Soqotra and at the Horn of Africa.




To our (foreign) concern, a continuation of BIOTA-alike projects in Yemen appears would be worthwhile to: 1) Survey and assess spatial and temporal change of forest resources, patterns of fuelwood production, marketing and consumption, 2) Analyse bio-physical land surface changes as a result of deforestation in declared observation spots, 3) Determine the response of the tree- and livestock-based rural system to the general environmental degradation following largescale deforestation, and 4) Deliver all those data harvested and appropriately translated to the local and traditional decision makers. All photografh by Giuseppe Orlando unless otherwise ....

AGNEW, C. & WARREN, A. (1996): A framework for tackling drought and land degradation. - J. Arid Environm., 33, 309-320. BOYCE, M.S. (1992): Population viability analysis. - Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 23, 481-506. ELLSTRAND, N.C. & ELAM, D.R. (1993): Population genetic consequences of small population size: implications from plant conservation. - Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 24, 217-243. H ALWAGY , R., T AHA , F.K. & O MAR , S.A. (1995, eds): Advances in range management in arid lands. - Kegan Paul International, London. MENGES, E.S. (1992): Stochastic modeling of extinction in plant populations. – In: Conservation biology: the theory and practice of nature conservation, preservation and management, (FIEDLER, P.L. & JAIN, S.K., eds), 253-276, New York. M IES , B.A. (1994): Checkliste der Gefässpflanzen, Moose und Flechten und botanische Bibliographie der Insel Sokotra und des Sokotrinischen Archipels (Jemen, Indischer Ozean). - Senckenbergiana Biol., 74, 213-258. MIES, B.A. (1998): The phytogeography of Soqotra. Evidence for disjunctive taxa, especially with Macaronesia. – Proc. First Int. Symp. Soqotra Island: Present and Future, Aden March 1996, Vol. 1 (DUMONT, H., ed.), 83-105, United Nations Publ., New York. MIES, B.A. (2001):Flora und Vegetationsökologie der Insel Soqotra. - Essener Ökol. Schriften, 15, 1-269. MIES, B.A. & BEYHL, F.E. (1999): A scenario of deforestation and desertification in the valley of Qalansiyah (Island of Soqotra, Yemen, Indian Ocean). – Acta Biol. Benrod., 10, 49-55. MILLER, A.G. & BAZARA’A, M. (1998): The conservation status of the flora of the Soqotran archipelago. – Proc. First Int. Symp. Soqotra Island: Present and Future, Aden March 1996, Vol. 1 (DUMONT, H., ed.), 15-34, United Nations Publ., New York. ORLANDO, G. & SANTOS, A. (2001). Socotra: Discovering biodiversity on the island that time forgot. - Insula, International Journal of Island Affairs, Year 10, n.2, pp. 35-40. STEBBINS, G.L. (1952): Aridity as a stimulus to plant evolution. - Am. Natur., 86, 33-44. WRANIK, W. (1996). Faunistic Notes on Soqotra Island. In Dumont, H.J.(Editor), Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Soqotra Island: Present and Future. 1:135-198. New York: United Nations Publications.


The special circumstances of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and island ecosystems in general, have been much discussed in the forums of international environmental negotiation, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and through the Barbados Declaration and its ensuing processes. The significance of SIDS as centres of endemism, their: vulnerability to alien invasive species, disproportionate per capita infrastructure and skilled human resource requirements, limited terrestrial resources and often necessarily skewed balances of trade etcâ&#x20AC;Ś have all been discussed at length and made subject of much study and publication. These points are, of course, all relevant if not vital factors when the international community considers ways and means of enabling SIDSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; pursuit of sustainable development; but this is only half the story. SIDS and island ecosystems have much to offer the international pursuit of sustainable development; and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, respectively. SIDS are microcosms of their continental counterparts where strategies, policies and management regimes for sustainable development can be applied, tested and refined; where the components of cause and effect are more readily assessed, outcomes more rapidly seen and results more specifically tangible. Much the same can be said of island ecosystems which, with their high endemism, offer great potential to advance the cause of biodiversity management and

assist the CBD in meeting its global 2010 targets. Islands are self-contained ecosystems with well defined geographic limits that encapsulate fundamental ecological processes and interactions. These ecosystems because of their scale offer scope for holistic management and rehabilitation. In both scenarios, SIDS and island ecosystems, stratagems can be tested and the findings extrapolated to continental scenarios. Islands are natural laboratories for science and research; this is as true today, for the elaboration of regimes for environmental management and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as it was in the nineteenth century for the elucidation of evolutionary theory. It is to be hoped that this potential is recognised through for example, the timely and substantive


development of the CBD programme on Island Biodiversity. The focusing of efforts and resources here can provide rapid and disproportionate yields in terms of progress towards achieving the 2010 biodiversity goals and the development of management approaches for extrapolation globally.

John Nevill was formerly the Director of Conservation in the Seychellesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Ministry of Environment and Focal Point for the Convention on Biological Diversity for six years. John has been active in the workings of the Convention on Biological Diversity notably COPs, SBSTTA and the negotiations for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety since 1997 and continues to attend certain meetings as a member of the Seychelles delegation. John works today as Environmental Consultant and as Director of the Marine Conservation society, Seychelles - a NonGovernmental Organisation registered in Seychelles.


The Seychelles White-eye

The conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is a fundamental precursor to the realisation of sustainable development. In many countries this means harmonising the development and activities of major industries with the needs and tolerances of natural systems. In Seychelles, as is the case for most SIDS, tourism is a primary industry and a major employer. So the challenge in Seychelles is to harmonise the tourism industry, its development and activities, with the needs of environmental management. Seychelles is recognised as a centre of biodiversity1 with more than 1200 endemic 1


species identified to date on a tiny landmass of some 445 square kilometres divided between 115 islands. The key centre of this biodiversity is the 39 granite islands that were separated from continental masses more than 70 million years ago. The granite Seychelles today are some 1000 miles from the nearest continental landmass. In Seychelles the primary threat to biodiversity is without doubt that posed by Invasive Alien Species (IAS). One thousand miles and 70 million years clearly meets the criteria of the “geographically and evolutionarily isolated ecosystems” that are a priority under the CBD’s IAS programme.

So the logical step is to find a means by which to channel resources from tourism to address this issue – eco-tourism development offers such a bridging mechanism. Seychelles has two island reserves, of longstanding, that derive their revenue from ecotourism and as such the concept is well understood and recognised in-country. Seychelles is afflicted by many invasive species such as cinnamon and albizia, some fifty species of creeper, birds such as the Indian Mynah and the South African Barn Owl. Escaped livestock and fowl have caused major problems on certain islands: goats on Aldabra have severely denuded the vegetation depriving giant tortoises of food and shade; feral pigs were identified in 1996 as digging up virtually every turtle egg clutch laid on the island of Menai, Cosmoledo atoll (Mortimer.1998). Chickens and pigs have been removed from islands for fear that they would compete with the endangered Seychelles Magpie-robins for food. Cats on Aldabra have been found to favour feeding on marine turtle hatchlings (Mortimer. 1998) and this habit is likely prevalent on other turtle rookeries where they occur. Most damaging to date, however, are rats. The intelligence, broad feeding niche, fecundity and general adaptability of the Rattus sp. make them a most effective invader. Seychelles has been colonised by two species Rattus norvegicus and R. rattus, their impact upon flora and invertebrate fauna is likely extensive but is poorly understood. With regard to birds, however, the impact of rats is well known. Within the granite Seychelles there are six endemic species and one endemic subspecies of terrestrial bird that are endangered, of these only one is believed to be able to co-exist with R. rattus. In 1995 Bird Island a flat coralline island successfully undertook a rat and rabbit eradication and whilst a much simpler topography and ecosystem than the granite islands showed that current techniques were effective in the tropical scenario. In 2000, following 2 years of preparatory work the Government of Seychelles led and coordinated a three island rat and cat eradication campaign. Islands were selected

Seychelles has been classified as part of the Indian Ocean islands biodiversity Hotspot by Conservation International and as an Endemic Bird Area (EBA) by BirdLife International.


as per the potential they offered for the re-introduction of bird species. Two of the islands were private and funded their own operations with the primary goal being to introduce endangered bird species which would create additional attractions for their existing tourism (private island hotel resort) operations. Government facilitated this activity by: identifying and importing the expertise, undertaking the preliminary bait testing and rat and cat surveys, coordinating the project implementation; waiving tax requirements on the import of baits and equipment and providing field staff to assist in implementation. The main support however came from the economies of scale that resulted from undertaking the activities on three islands within the same time period. Despite this operations were still costly because the mountainous terrain and/or size of the islands required the use of helicopters, with satellite navigation systems, to ensure a complete bait distribution. Bait deployments were undertaken twice at eleven day intervals to ensure that juvenile rats in nests during the first application would be caught in the second. On one island due to poor weather conditions a third application was utilised and this has subsequently become the recommended regime. Despite all these difficulties maintaining an island rat-free is more demanding still. Two of the three islands in question were subsequently re-infested, it is believed, when rat abatement protocols were not correctly followed. The difficulties faced vary with the degree of development and the amount and nature of traffic going to and from an island. It is however, the island with the most logistical requirements of the three, Fregate, which has maintained its rat-free status since 2000. Bird Island has maintained its rat-free status since eradication in 1995 whilst running a thriving hotel-resort operation. In addition 3 other islands in the central Seychelles have all maintained there rat-free status despite busy tourism activities in terms of visitation and one despite undergoing two major construction phases in the 1990s. This demonstrates that maintaining islands rat-free is feasible, even with considerable commercial and logistical activities.

What is particularly interesting is that the private sector has embraced the application of this technology in Seychelles despite the high profile failure of two islands. Four islands have very recently undertaken rat-eradication campaigns. Two are the granite islands of North and Anonyme, Denis which failed in 2000 has tried again and the fourth is the distant coral island of D’Arros. The willingness of the private sector to take on such initiatives reflects the realisation that eco-tourism is the fastest growing niche market in the tourism industry; and in the Seychelles context where the trend is increasingly to target the top-end tourist market exclusive nature reserve island resorts are very much en vogue. A brief survey of island managements that have undertaken rat eradications showed that eco-tourism was the (or one of the) primary motivation(s) behind the activity along with philanthropy and direct commercial issues e.g. “exclusive 5 star tourism and rats don’t mix.” Despite some capacity for eradication now being localised, costs are still high and are determined by numerous factors: island size, topography and predominant vegetation type; occurrence of endangered non-target species and methodology used (groundor air-dispersal of bait). Costs per island have varied accordingly from US$10,000 – 250,000. In addition recurrent costs are an open-ended commitment - capital still being required to maintain bait stations and

infrastructure such as rat fences, rat-proof rooms etc… This “privatisation” of biodiversity management under Government supervision, addressing endangered biodiversity, is a great step forward in Seychelles’ efforts to conserve its natural heritage and meet its international commitments. Not to mention the alleviation of the financial burden on Government. In Seychelles rat eradications have already greatly enhanced the conservation status of three endangered bird species -the Seychelles Magpie-robin, the Seychelles White-eye (Rocamora. 2003) and the Seychelles Fody – and various endemic species of invertebrate. Furthermore should the recent eradications prove successful (this takes at least one-year to determine) two more endangered species will likely benefit – the Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher and the Seychelles Warbler – and it is possible that by the turn of the decade some species could be removed from the endangered listings! Eco-tourism is the perfect mechanism in this regard because it is in the vested interest of the operator to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity resources that are the source of its income. Small islands with tourist operations offer great potential for biodiversity conservation because they can be re-habilitated and the tourism operation provides the funds and capacity to enable this. However for such efforts to continue it is vital that their

The Seychelles Magpie-robin


contribution be recognised and this recognition must necessarily be structured in terms of incentives and assistance to enable agencies to fulfil this role. A survey of the managements of the islands in question identified various mechanisms that could be put in place to foster such activities. The primary responses were as follows: • Financial incentives, for example exemptions from certain tourism taxes for alienpredator-free islands that participate in national conservation schemes. • Tax rebates on biodiversity rehabilitation investments such as rat eradications. • The development of insurance regimes to protect islands against the costs of dealing with non-negligent or 3rd party alien species introductions. • Provision of a protected status which caters for tourism activities (current protected status classifications are somewhat preclusive of this) and allows for greater control over access to alien-predator-free islands, thereby lowering the risk of inadvertent reintroductions.



The cost of managing the complex biodiversity of often isolated tropical islands is generally beyond the means of Governments and national institutions; it requires the harnessing of the infrastructure and resources of tourism. Indeed tourism in many cases offers the only hope of imbuing non-consumptive value to biodiversity such that it can be managed in a sustainable manner. It is therefore


CURRIE, D. HILL, M. MILLET, J. BRISTOL, R. NEVILL, J. & SHAH, N. J. 2003. Conservation Options for the Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone Corvina). In: Ecological Requirements of the Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher Consequences for Conservation and Management. Currie, D. Editor. Nature Seychelles Monograph Series I. MORTIMER. J.A. 1998. Turtle and Tortoise Conservation. Government of Seychelles , Final report. NEVILL. J.E.G. 2000. Ecotourism as a Source of Funding to Control Invasive Species. In GISP, A Toolkit of Best Prevention and Management Practices for Alien Invasive Species. NEVILL. J.E.G. 2001. Integrating Biodiversity into the Tourism Sector: a case study on the Republic of Seychelles. A contribution to UNDP/UNEP/GEF Biodiversity Planning Support Programme thematic study on “The Integration

imperative that mechanisms and incentives to enable this are developed and refined internationally through the CBD for adaptation to national scenarios (e.g. Incentive measures programme, Sustainable tourism programme and Island Biodiversity Programme) to the benefit of national and international undertakings and the workings of the Convention as a whole.

of Biodiversity into the Tourism Sector. PARR, S.J., HILL, M.J., NEVILL, J.E.G., MERTON, D.V., SHAH, N.J. 2001. Eradication of Introduced Mammals in Seychelles in 2000. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2001). Assessment and management of salien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats and species. Abstracts of keynote addresses and posters presented at the sixth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, technical and Technological Advice, held in Montreal, Canada, from 12 to 16 March 2001. Montreal SCBD, 146p. (CBD Technical Paper no.1). ROCAMORA, G., HENRIETTE, E., CONSTANCE, P. 2003. Successful conservation introduction of the Seychelles white-eye on Fregate Island, Seychelles. Reintroduction News. Newsletter of the Re-introduction Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC). No. 22, p. 46.

Leonor Castiñeiras1, Tomás Shagarodsky1, Zoila Fundora1, Victor Fuentes1, Odalys Barrios1, Victoria Moreno1, Lianne Fernández1, Raúl Cristóbal1, Vicente González2, Maritza García3, Fidel Hernández3, Celerina Giraudy4, Pedro Sánchez1, Rosa Orellana1 and Aracely Valiente5

The biodiversity maintenance by farmers in home gardens is a type of in situ conservation of plant genetic resources, which has the advantages of preserving the evolution processes and adaptation of crops in their microenvironments, and to conserve the diversity at all levels (ecosystem, species and genes) (Jarvis 2000; Eyzaguirre & Linares 2001). In this context some researches were conducted to promote the use and develop of the rural home gardens for the in situ conservation of the agricultural biodiversity in Cuba, demonstrating the value of them in the maintenance of the diversity through their use. The research work was performed with the participation of 39 home gardens from western, central and eastern regions of Cuba. The selected families live in the nucleus or in the periphery of the protected areas: Reserves of the Biospheres “Sierra del Rosario” (western region) and “Cuchillas del Toa” (eastern region). The members of the communities of these areas have received an environmental education adressed to the conservation of the wild flora and fauna of the locations. In the case of the central region the communities of the selected area have a strong influence of the Botanical Garden of Cienfuegos, the oldest in the country, been founded in 1901, and meets both, the conservation and training functions in the region. Interviews were carried out mainly with the owners for gathering information concerning to genetic resources, and social, cultural and economical aspects related to them. The possibilities of integration of the genetic resources in situ conservation of cultivated plants, with that of the wild flora and fauna of each region, and educational national programs, was one of the aspects that was considered during the development of the work.

Inventory of the agrobiodiversity and their use The inventory revealed the existence of 508 species that belong to 352 genus and 108 families. Around 80% of the diversity corresponds to cultivated species and the rest to wild species used by the families. The study of the diversity showed the presence of seven cultivated species in the home gardens that had not been reported in the last inventory of cultivated plants carried out in Cuba (Esquivel et al. 1992). An outstanding detail was the presence of three endemic species: Protium cubense, Garcinia aristata and Piper aduncum subsp. ossanum, maintained and used as condiments in some home gardens from the eastern region. Only 25% of the total diversity registered is common (coincidence of species) among the three studied regions, being this, an indicator of their differences. There was less number of species in the eastern region, in comparison with the rest of the study areas; however, it had more infraespecific variability. The isolation and the difficult access of the area located in the eastern region, and also some social and cultural features (strong Haitian influence), differentiate the eastern region of the rest of the communities of the Island, and this, have an implication on the agricultural management of the species. Roots and tubers are of wider acceptance that in the rest of the regions and a bigger variability has been observed in those species; an example is yam (Dioscorea spp.), whose cultivation is characteristic of that region. On the other hand, the farmers from this region also cultivate and consume more species of grains; so there, the variability is very high (Phaseolus vulgaris, Phaseolus lunatus, Cajanus cajan, Zea mays and Vigna umbellata are the most frequent), with regard to the other two study regions.

The results confirmed that the registered cultivated diversity in the studied home gardens, is distributed among the three studied regions, constituing this, the starting point to analyze these areas like possible Minimum Effective Units of In Situ Conservation of Plat Genetic Resources in Cuba. The ornamental species occupy an important place in the home gardens orchard (197 registered species), following by medicinal plant (114), woods for construction and repairing the houses (54), fruits (38), condiments (25), other uses like insecticides, coal, etc. (20), living fences (12), wood for construction of work instruments (11), roots and tubers (10), beverages (10), grains (9) and food animal (7). Most of them are used for the family consumption. Cuban farmers manage the diversity through their use, and select it according to the necessities of the family, especially at the species level and within the species (Castiñeiras et al.. 2000; 2001), but the number of individuals for species/ variety/






Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en Agricultura Tropical “Alejandro de Humboldt”; MINAGRI. Calle 1 y 2, Santiago de las Vegas, Municipio Boyeros, CP 17200, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba. E-mail: Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática, CITMA. Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba. Estación Ecológica Sierra del Rosario, CITMA. Pinar del Río, Cuba. Unidad de Servicios Ambiéntales de Guantánamo, CITMA. Guantánamo, Cuba. Jardín Botánico de Cienfuegos, CITMA. Cienfuegos, Cuba.


population is small; however, for crops that report high economic benefit to the families in the rural areas, the agroecosystem and the landscape play an important role in the selection of the species, the production is performed in a bigger area, with a reduced number of species/ varieties, as well as, a high number of individuals per variety. In this case biotic and abiotic factors of the ecosystem have influences, because the selection approaches go directed to the yield and the adaptation of the species in question, activities that are carried out with a minimum ecological risk, because of the minimum use of chemical products. Exchange of experiences with farmers Workshops with farmers and scientists were organized in each region, with exhibitions of the biodiversity managed in the home gardens by the farmers involved. These meetings had a positive impact in the communities, since they allowed the exchange of experiences concerning to “seed” conservation and exchange from different varieties and species among the farmers, as well as, the popularization of the value of conserving agrobiodiversity in home gardens, especially to the local, political and educational authorities in each region, who were invited to the workshops. General considerations about Cuban home gardens Cuban home gardens are characterized to be a dynamic agricultural ecosystem, where a high diversity of useful species is appreciated. The ornamental garden is almost located in the front part and/or one of the sides of the household, where some other species are located too, like fruit trees, medicinal and condiment species. Other groups of species used for family feeding are distributed little farther from the house, in a continuous rotation system, dependente of the size of the property, where men and women, both, participate in the agricultural activities. The home garden is a dynamic unit, because of its internal mobility in space and time, also for the variability of labours, which influence in the number and variability of the species. Men play a predominant role in the management of the home garden, although



women are in charge of some groups of cultivations, like ornamental and medicinal plants, as well as the care of a few domestic animals, as chickens. Fruits group is important in the contribution of vitamins and minerals for the families, as a substitute of vegetables, since the last one requires of high water consumption, and in the rural areas this resource is scarce, because the season for vegetable cultivation, coincides with the dry season. Casava (Manihot esculenta), bananas (Musa spp.), taro (Colocasia esculenta), cocoyam (Xanthosoma sp.), beans (Phaseolus spp.) and corn (Zea mays), among others, manifest the attachment to a certain food culture (their origin goes back to some aboriginal cultures from Meso and South America), where the roots, tubers and grains are important in the family diet. For this reason, they occupy bigger spaces inside the farmer property, due to the need of more volumes for feeding the family and for domestic animals. The presence of other species is influenced by historical factors; such it is the case of the coffee plantations (Pérez de la Riva, 1944) that also has importance in the State economy, and is located in Cuban mountain areas. As the number of individuals for cultivated species and/or variety is small within home gardens (sometimes there is only a single plant), it can constitute a threat for the diversity conservation. It becomes indispensable to draw national strategies to minimize such risks as possible. The best environmental health, in terms of soil fertility and species management inside the home garden systems, is appreciated in the family gardens located within the protected areas and its surroundings. In those cases, the preparation of soils and weed control is carried out with animal traction or manually; most of the species are cultivated without irrigation, with organic fertilization or without fertilization. In terms of socio-cultural approaches, in former times migratory flows of the families took place from the fields toward the cities. With the increment of literacy, farmers’ children did not carry out studies related with agricultural activities, and they left the lands, going to other places, looking for better economic benefits. However, it has been observed some kind of reversion of the

process in the last years, favoured by new agicultural policies of delivering lands and the encouragement that represents a better price for the agricultural products in the market. The own family self-consumption that is achieved with the production of the home gardens, favours the farmer's permanency in their properties. Effective Minimum Units of In Situ Conservation Because of the similarities and differences of the agricultural biodiversity found in the three areas, the aspects related with the management of the crops and the motivation of the farmers to continue conserving their traditional varieties with the new participative point of view, the three regions studied were propose as Effectives Minimum Units of In Situ Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources in Cuba, with the objective to concentrate and support the in situ conservation in the near future, relating them to other national conservation strategies as Protected Areas and Botanical Gardens networks. The training about management and improvement of seeds and soil fertility with the use of different organic methods in home gardens should also continue. The popularization concerning to the importance of the in situ conservation of the agricultural biodiversity in the home gardens and the benefits that this represent from the economic and social points of view should be extended to all population's sectors.

Conclusions Home gardens of the rural areas in Cuban western, central and eastern regions offer a material and spiritual guarantee to the families and they are a managed reservoir of diversity, maintained and conserved by the rural communities through their use. These communities have played a decisive role in the conservation over the time, allowing this diversity has arrived to our times.


The authors wants to express its gratefulness to the rural communities of the studied regions for its collaboration in the development of the work; to the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute; the German Agency for Technical Cooperation and CROCEVIA (Non Governmental Organization) from Italy, for the technical and nancial support for the researchs, as well as, to the Cuban local experts for helping to localize the home gardens in the regions.


CASTIÑEIRAS L.; Z. FUNDORA, V. FUENTES, O. BARRIOS, V. MORENO, P. SÁNCHEZ, A.V. GONZÁLEZ, M. GARCÍA, A. MARTÍNEZ FUENTES & A. MARTÍNEZ. 2000. La conservación in situ de la variabilidad de plantas de cultivo en dos localidades de Cuba. Rev. Jardín Botánico Nacional, vol. 21, n. 1, p. 25-45. CASTIÑEIRAS L.; Z. FUNDORA, S. PICO & E. SALINAS. 2001. Monitoring crop diversity in home gardens as a component in the national strategy of in situ

conservation of plant genetic resources in Cuba, a pilot study. IPGRI/FAO Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter n. 123, p. 9-18. ESQUIVEL M.; H. KÜPFFER & H. HAMMER. INVENTORY OF THE CULTIVATED PLANTS. 1992. In Hammer K., M. Esquivel, H. Knüpffer. “...y tienen faxoes y fabas muy diversos de los nuestros...” Origin, Evolution and Diversity of Cuban Plant Genetic Resources. Vol. 3, IPK Gatersleben, p. 213-454. EYZAGUIRRE, P. y O. LINARES. 2001. Una nueva

aproximación al estudio y fomento de los huertos familiares. Cuadernos Pueblos y Plantas, n. 7, p. 30-32. JARVIS D.; L. MYER, H. KLEMICK, L. GUARINO, M. SMALE, A.D.H. BROWN, M. SADIKI, B. STHAPIT & T. HODGKIN. 2000. A training Guide for In Situ Conservation On-farm. Version 1. IPGRI, Rome, p. 134-141. Pérez de la Riva, F. 1944. El café, historia de un cultivo y exportación en Cuba. In: Jesús Montero (Ed.), La Habana.

1 Pedro M. Alcolado2, Daniela Mercedes Arellano3, Elisa Eva Garcia4 and group of authors

The Cuban experience during the implementation of its Sustainable Development Model has been based in the ecosystem approach. This approach has been the best approach to promote the synergism among all the dimensions of the sustainable development. The sustainable development model adopted by Cuba promotes the environmental planning taking into account the natural resource protection in harmony with the development of the productive forces, and it is aimed to achieve the sustainability at prioritized ecosystems, considering the environmental problems existing in them – included the social component – and their solutions. Based in this conceptual approach, a number of National Programs (of Bays, Watershed, Reforestation, Mountains, Desertification and Droughts, Wetlands), have been identified, among them, those dealing with the fragile ecosystems (small and very small islands of the Cuban Archipelago). According to the recognized need of protecting biodiversity and establishing a sustainable development of tourism, fishing and other economic activities, the project “Protecting biodiversity and Establishing a Sustainable in the Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem” was carried out. This Project was signed on December 1993 and financed by the Global Environment Facility, the Cuban Government (Ministry of Science Technology and Environment, Ministry for Foreign Investment and Collaboration) and Environment Canada. The potential impact

Caguanes, Piedra Key, Sabana Camagüey Archipelago, CUBA

of biological events in the Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem (SCE), in northern Cuba, on the rest of the hemisphere, is part of the reason for GEF to support a UNDP project to consolidate biodiversity protection in that ecosystem

The Sabana-Camagüey ecosystem, Cuba. The Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem (SCE) occupies a strip of approximately 465 km along the central north zone of Cuba. It includes the northern watersheds of five provinces of the country, as well as the archipelago, the adjacent marine shelf and the oceanic Exclusive Economic Zone (Fig.

2). Its archipelago constitutes the largest system of keys in the Wider Caribbean and represents 60% of all the Cuban keys in number (2,515 keys). Mangrove swamps are profusely distributed in the keys and along the mainland coast. The keys, beaches and coral reefs of the region are well known for their quality and beauty. The larger keys CUB/92/G31 and CUB/98/G32 UNDP/GEF projects. Instituto de Oceanología, CITMA (Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment), Scientific Adviser of the UNDP Project Sabana-Camagüey (marine issues) 3 Agencia de Medio Ambiente, CITMA, Director of the UNDP Project 4 Instituto de Ecología y Sistemática, CITMA, Scientific Adviser of the UNDP Project Sabana-Camagüey (terrestrial issues) 1 2


Figure 2. Schematic limits of the Sabana - Camagüey Ecosystem encompassing: watersheds, marine shelf, the archipelago and the Exclusive Economic Zone.

are populated with diverse plant formations. All this variety of habitat encloses a great diversity of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna, and gives shelter to a high level of terrestrial endemism, which places this zone among the richest in biodiversity in Cuba and the Wider Caribbean. More than 708 species of terrestrial flora have been found in the area. Of these, 126 are endemic. Additionally, 958 species of terrestrial fauna, including 549 insects and 209 species of birds, have been noted. This part of Cuba provides winter habitat for visiting birds.

Brief review of the resources, use and threats at the Sabana-C amagüey ecosystem The most generalized and traditional use of the marine shelf of the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago is fishing, though activities of oil exploration and extraction are accomplished since few years ago in the most western extreme. The influence of the improper management of the watershed, over fishing and harmful fishing practices partially affected the fisheries of the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago and its marine biodiversity. For different reasons, the mortality of important areas of mangrove swamps has occurred in some places. Coral reefs have been affected by the herbivore sea urchin (Diadema antillarum) mortality and several kinds of coral diseases, as well as by macroalgal proliferation due both to low herbivore population and land based nutrification. Before the Project the tourism development plans presented a development stereotype that would be in conflict with important biological resources, and they were not fully



in accordance with the evolution of the tourism market of the Caribbean. Furthermore, it was and still being necessary to increase the efficiency of the incorporation of scientific information and environmental concerns to the development planning process. These problems constituted core issues in this project, among others not less important.

The Strategy The strategies for biodiversity protection and sustainable economic development of the region were first developed by the project for the various sectors based on the “issue analysis” process (problem driven approach), in which biodiversity and sustainable development issues were identified and options for their solution examined. The options were analyzed further within the interdisciplinary working group and the strategies as outlined here are presented as the result of the multidisciplinary, multiagency review and analysis. The sectoral strategies were taken and were prioritized (based on resources and time) and integrated (across the sectors) to develop the Strategic Plan for the Region. Objectives of the strategic plan The strategic plan objectives are envisioned as follows: • Contribute to the conservation of Cuba’s biodiversity, based on the protection of species and habitats of the SCE; • Promote the conservation of the cultural heritage, including historical, cultural, architectural and archaeological sites of interest in the SCE; • Promote the expansion in Cuba of tourism and ecotourism industry related to the terrestrial and marine environment, as well as other activities and investment opportunities

in the SCE; Encourage the creation of employment opportunities, and maximize the benefits for the local population of the SCE; Strengthen the capacity to manage and execute the recommended strategies, actions and projects in the SCE; and Recommend pilot investments or projects that will help encourage the economy of the SCE gradually, while providing a vision of the general strategic plan as well as a “step by step” execution program.

Strategic plan The strategic plan of the whole SCE region offers the wide framework for strategies and actions. It encompasses all the planning zones within the region (watershed, marine shelf, keys and the oceanic Exclusive Economic Zone). The general strategies identified by this UNDP/GEF project for biodiversity protection and sustainable development can be found in Alcolado, García and Espinosa (1999).

Ongoing second phase of the project The ongoing second phase, the project Priority Actions to Consolidate Biodiversity Protection in the Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem (UNDP/GEF CUB/98/G32) , that began in 2000, is aimed at formal adoption and implementation of prioritized actions of the proposed strategy. The objectives and their implementation of this second phase, are summarized as follows: Establishment of eight key priority protected areas for conservation, demonstration and replication. All these areas (which constitute 15.35% of the SCA with its marine shelf), have been chosen as a result of studies carried out during the first phase of project. At present time, four of this eight protected areas have been legally established, their management plans designed and implemented, information printed for distribution, interpretative trails set up, park personnel trained in biodiversity planning and management, and minimal scientific and logistical equipment provided to ensure monitoring and feedback to planning and management functions. In the other four protected areas, although not yet legally established, their operative plans are already

elaborated and implemented and their park personnel trained in biodiversity planning and management, in the same way. Consolidation of coordinated institutional capacities for sustained long-term integrated coastal management. This objective includes the following activities: • Establishment of an Authority for Integrated Coastal Management (AICM) for the SCE. It include formal institutional and interinstitutional structuring, staff training, and the acquisition of minimum required equipment for integrated coastal management. On completion of the project, the Authority for Integrated Coastal Management for the SCE would have been legally established and would be in operation. • Inventories and rapid environmental assessments carried out in areas of globally significant biodiversity, prioritized on the basis of special protection needs or existing or potential threats. • Detailed zoning and planning in prioritized areas in order to incorporate biodiversity conservation and environmental protection criteria. • Establishment of a network of four (plus one already existing at Cayo Coco) small environmental monitoring stations. • Evaluation of financial mechanisms for biodiversity conservation and management.

This will allow the costs of environmental variables and biodiversity conservation to be internalized in development plans and programs and will prevent the misuse of benefits resulting from particular mechanisms and economic incentives. Education and awareness raising for environmental management, sustainable development and biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. The biodiversity component has included the introduction of provincial biodiversity education policies; workshops and seminars to raise awareness among decision makers and different community and economic sectors that affect biodiversity; production of didactic materials; dissemination of biodiversity values through the mass media. During the development of the first and second phase of the Project, relevant problems have been identified. These problems have been created by conditions and use trends in the Sabana-Camagüey Ecosystem. In consequence, management objectives, proposed actions and their solution implementation have been developed. Some of the most important of them are summarized below: By means of workshops, meetings and exchange of information, the lessons learned during the development of this project have been widely disseminated in the Caribbean

region, with ecosystems and pressures over their biological resources, due to excessive human impacts, particularly tourism and overfishing, and the climate changes. The Cuban government has demonstrated, by supporting this project and in by other ways, its appreciation of the need to protect the biological heritage of this part of the country. It is a narrow window of opportunity to develop tourism in right way, while responding to the other challenges of biodiversity protection and sustainable economic development in the region.


Alcolado, P.M., E.E. García y N. Espinosa (Eds.). 1999. Protecting Biodiversity and Establishing Sustainable Development in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago. GEF/UNDP Project Sabana-Camagüey CUB792/G31, Cuba. CESYTA S.L. Madrid, 145 p. Arellano,M. Some Introductory Notes on the Conceptual Base of Sustainable Development in Cuba (in preparation) Claro, R., J.A. Baisre and J. P. García-Arteaga. 1994. VIII. Evolución y Manejo de los Recursos Pesqueros. 435-492 pp. In: Ecología de los Peces Marinos de Cuba (R. Claro Ed.), CIQRO, México. Olsen,S., J. Tobey and M. Kerr. 1996. A common framework for learning from ICM Experience. International Workshop on Integrated Coastal Management in Tropical Developing Countries: Lessons Learned from Successes and Failures, Xiamen, People’s Republic of China, May, 1996 (Manuscript), 15 p.

Problems posed by conditions and use trends in the Sabana Camagüey Ecosystem Some Problems:


Management objectives:

Deficiencies in management and decisionmaking processes.

During the GEF Project implementation, a collective way of planning work and opportunity and problem identification has been applied (participation of the SCE provinces and the staff of institutions, scientific and technical disciplines, and economic sectors involved in the studies, conservation and development of the SCE).

Gradually implement the ICM of the SCE through the creation of the AUTHORITY FOR INTEGRATED COASTAL MANAGEMENT OF THE SCE.

Lack of an organized and interconnected information and database system.

A huge volume of data introduced in a GIS has been generated during the GEF Project, and part of the information is at the participant institutions.

Interconnect the information bases and databases of the main national and provincial performers of ICM in order to facilitate management actions and decision-making.

Lack of a Protected Area System.

The project has made a very important proposal aimed at implementing a Special Region of Sustainable Development comprising the whole archipelago and part of the coastal mainland

Formalize and implement a protected area system encompassing the whole SCE so to protect its valuable biodiversity resources.

Land based Marine pollution

In the Project, an analysis of the land-based pollution was carried out at the sub-watershed level and its extension and effects on the marine biodiversity have been determined at a strategic scale. This allows conducting future actions more properly (Environmental Licensing processes, for instance).

Stop the increase of organic pollution and gradually reduce it to recover biodiversity and fishing potential; gradually introduce technologies for waste treatment that are both more economical and friendly with the environment; and monitoring.




Within the seaflower biosphere reserve by

Marion W. Howard1, Valeria Pizarro2 and June Marie Mow1

Declared the SEAFLOWER Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO program “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB) in 2000, the Archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence and Ketlina is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Of the total area of the archipelago, 1,600 square kilometres are dedicated to conservation (core zones); 73,900 square kilometres are dedicated to conservation and programs of low-impact sustainable use (buffer zones); the rest of the SEAFLOWER Biosphere Reserve (approximately 224,500 square kilometres) are dedicated to the development of cooperative environmental management activities that give rise to an alternative sustainable development model (cooperation or transition zones). The archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence, and Santa Catalina is located in the western Caribbean and covers approximately 350,000 square kilometers of marine area. Related to the Antilles in historical and ethnocultural terms, it has been an important and strategic Colombian territory since the 1800s and gained the status of Colombia’s only oceanic department in article 309 of the National Constitution of 1991. The actual landmass consists of three major islands, five atolls to the north of the major islands, and two atolls to the south. The Corporation

for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence, and Santa Catalina Islands, CORALINA, is the regional government authority within the national system of environmental management responsible for encouraging sustainable development and implementing environmental policies for the archipelago. Within the context of CORALINA, as in any environmental protection agency throughout the world, of paramount importance to our work is preservation of the diversity of natural resources within the region -- in both biological and ethnic terms.

Ethnic diversity within the Archipelago Biosphere Reserve a. The Convention on Biodiversity, which Colombia ratified in the congressional law 165 of 1994, stimulated the United Nations Environment Program and the Global Environment Facility to commission the Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA) which was completed in 1996. The GBA repeatedly emphasizes that the main impacts on biodiversity are caused by human use and management. This study, now a seminal reference on the topic of biodiversity, also emphasizes that in questions of how to protect biodiversity and develop socio-economic

strategies for its sustainable use, people must be seen to be a major part of the solution rather then being regarded as the problem. Biological diversity resulted from the processes of natural selection and adaptation to the realities of the physical environment -climate, geology, land and seascapes, food and water sources, etc. In the same way, cultures adapted themselves in appropriate ways to survive and thrive within their environments. It is significant to keep in mind that homo sapiens is the only land-based biological species, either plant or animal, that lives in every terrestrial geographic and climatic region found on Earth. Humankind accomplished this remarkable feat of single species adaptation through the development of ethnic diversity. In human development terms, therefore, ethnic variations can be seen as comparable to an expansion of biological diversity in other species of the natural kingdom. Recognition of the reality and significance of ethnic diversity is of the utmost importance because part of the solution to the dilemma of how to achieve sustainable development is contained within the traditional knowledge of local ethnic groups. In addition, since environmental problems must be solved by people, in order to mobilize local communities to act towards this goal, their societies must be united around a common vision of

San Andres Archipelago 1


has a Ph. D in Marine Ecology from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica. A former Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica, she has been representing Jamaica at the international level in the area of Biodiversity since 1994 and chaired the national committee responsible for developing the country’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. She is currently the Chair of Jamaica’s CITES. Scientific AuthorityHope Road, Kingston 5, Jamaica, E-mail: has a Ph. D in Marine Ecology from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica. A former Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica, she has been representing Jamaica at the international level in the area of Biodiversity since 1994 and chaired the national committee responsible for developing the country’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. She is currently the Chair of Jamaica’s CITES.


environmental protection and sustainable development which grows out of a shared understanding of the cultural and ethnic reality of their past, present, and future situations. One of the first worldwide programs to explicitly incorporate the concept of ethnic diversity was the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves protects both biological and ethnic diversity. Indeed, a cornerstone is the belief that sustainable development can best be realized by combining traditional ethnic responses to the environment with appropriate new technologies, understanding that local programs of sustainable development and ecosystem conservation need to be rooted in the realities and traditions of the local people. The Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves of 1995 has as goal I: “Use biosphere reserves to conserve natural and cultural diversity.” This goal is further elaborated in objective I.1 which reads: “Improve the coverage of natural and cultural biodiversity by means of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.” With the acceptance that the dominant quantitative growth model of development is not environmentally sustainable and that development criteria must vary depending on the specific environmental conditions, the realization has come that much of the damage done to environments, particularly in this century, has resulted from the failure to acknowledge that local cultures have the knowhow to manage local ecosystems. For example, since indigenous peoples unconsciously functioned within natural boundaries, vital information relative to what we now call carrying capacities can be found within the collective knowledge of ethnic cultures. In the process of designing both sustainable development projects and appropriate environmental education programs for a region, environmental problems and methods must be analysed in the perspective of cultural



actualities, such as: • the importance and meaning of land within the culture; • the system of property rights and actual land ownership; • religion -- particularly in regard to beliefs about humankind’s designated role in the natural world, the creation, and sabbath or holy day practices; • methods of raising and gathering food and animals; • systems for handling water, soil, and waste products; • ways that overall lifestyle have balanced and restrained resource use and consumption. Not only will people respond better and become more committed to programs which directly emerge from and appeal to their ethnic situations, but such programs, by being based on tangible and practical realities, are far more likely to succeed. b. The Environmental Action Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean, adopted in 1990 by 35 countries in the region including Colombia, says: In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are at least 480 ethnic groups that have remarkably adapted to their natural surroundings and have traditional agrarian cultures endowed with precise knowledge of natural resources, consumption patterns, suitable work and, above all, a concept of the environment that is not antagonistic. The deterioration of this invaluable cultural heritage is resulting in enormous ecological costs. The Action Plan seeks to tap the environmental knowledge and management capacity that some ethnic groups of the region have achieved, which could serve as a basis for the design of local environmental management projects. Within Colombia, one of the main ethnic minorities is the native islander population of the archipelago of San Andres, Providence, and Santa Catalina. Close in heritage to the

populations of other English-speaking West Indian islands, the natives of the archipelago have nonetheless developed a particular ethnic identity within the Caribbean region as a result of adapting to specific environmental circumstances. Predominant among these defining factors are: • the small amount of landmass within the archipelago (San Andres has 25 square kilometres, Old Providence has 20, and the entire archipelago has approximately 52.); • the islands’ geographic isolation within the Caribbean; • scarcity of fresh water; • the high rate of terrestrial biodiversity relative to the smallness of the land area; • access to a wealth of marine biological variation; • an actual location to the southwest of the major Atlantic hurricane path. When a culture has emerged from a colonialist New World heritage (rather than being indigenous per se), clearly its ethnicity has also been profoundly affected and formed by outside cultural pressures and historical factors. Many such factors contributed to the specific acculturation of the islander people. Especially significant were the proximity to Central America’s Miskito Coast, the historical reality that the society of the archipelago did not grow out of a Caribbean plantation society, and the fact that the island culture was left to develop on its own for several hundred years with minimal outside political interference or direction. These environmental and cultural realities contributed to forming a society that was still characterized as recently as 1960 by: • a high level of self-sufficiency and independence; • a particularly egalitarian and democratic class structure; • virtually no technological development; • a productive and sustainable agrarian and subsistence fishing economy; • a system of measuring wealth in terms of “real” goods, especially an abundance of food and an amount of land and/or animals, rather than in monetary terms; • an exceptionally high quality of life (and actual standard of living within the region); • functional conservation practices -- par-

ticularly in the management of scarce soil and freshwater resources and in the small amount of garbage and contamination generated. Development policies of the last three decades have resulted in massive environmental degradation, especially in San Andres, and a growing loss of ethnic identity. The environment and culture of Old Providence and Santa Catalina have remained more intact but the possibility of large-scale development by outside forces remains a reality of the current situation. The people of the archipelago are confronted by the same threats that are destroying ethnic and biological diversity throughout the world -- overpopulation, urbanization, increasing pressure on natural resources and ecosystems, poorly planned development, and the resulting loss of ethnic responses, self-reliance, and cultural identity. However, as one of the least environmentally degraded areas remaining in the Caribbean region, these tiny islands could serve as models of small island development and recuperation if their biologic and ethnic diversity could be protected, respected, and allowed to flourish in future development planning. With these goals in mind, current general strategies to encourage conservation and sustainable development both environmentally and culturally include: • special management plans for significant ecosystems;

• environmental education programs based in ethnic realities; • community organizing at the grassroots level; • increased local autonomy and community participation in environmental conservation and development planning; • management plans which integrate local interactions between the community and the environment, traditional resource use and development, and appropriate native technologies; • development of programs which allow access to sustainable alternative technologies; • a strong land-use plan and territorial ordering process based on traditional use and research on carrying capacities; • special regulations to restrict immigration and construction; • openness about and enforcement of local, national, and international norms that protect biological and ethnic diversity; • preparation for and application to join the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Terrestrial flora

guinep (Melicoccus bijugatus), and assorted citrus. The islands of Old Providence and Santa Catalina are the only islands in the archipelago where a true tropical forest ecosystem developed. This forest was not studied until recently, but current research has produced valuable information. As the general environmental conditions of these islands supported the growth of the tropical forest with its resultant species diversity, it is of value to briefly present some of these conditions. Old Providence and Santa Catalina are mountainous islands with respective land areas of 20.8 and 1.3 square kilometers. According to geological studies, the islands originated as an atoll 80 million years ago (Miocene). The present topography resulted from later eruptions which took place approximately 30 million years ago. Many researchers suggest that the two islands were connected at one time. Technical studies made by CORALINA in 1997 isolated 23 geomorphological units that can be grouped into three main types:

San Andres has residual forest in only a few areas because much of the woodland was converted to coconut plantations years ago, and a growing amount of wooded area has been sacrificed to make space for the massive immigration, primarily from the continent, that has occurred since 1960. Nevertheless, in the patches of native vegetation which remain are still found representative forestal trees including cedar (Cedrela odorata), matarraton (Gliricidia sepium), kapok or cotton tree (Ceiba petandra), stinking toe (Cassia grandis), birch gum (Bursera simaruba), guacimo (Guazuma ulmifolia), hog plum (Spondias mombin), and june plum (Spondias purpurea). Many yards in the native sections of San Andres are well-planted with ornamental flowers and fruit trees which are also found in the wooded sections. Especially abundant are breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), mango (Mangifera indica), guava (Psidium guajava), almond (Terminalia catappa),

in the humid tropics. Endemic organisms are present in less quantity, making them more vulnerable to human activity. Indeed, any alterations in ecosystems can produce transformations, and the resulting changes are unpredictable in the majority of cases. Also, because of the limited space and isolation of certain oceanic islands, scientists have theorized that they are particularly generative places for species specialization. The importance of locally protecting species diversity and habitats is clear since the islands serve as both crucibles and microcosms of the great ecosystem that is our biosphere.

Biodiversity within the Archipelago The biodiversity of small islands like San Andres, Old Providence, and Santa Catalina is obviously limited when compared to the abundance of continental zones, particularly • Mountains: with a maximum altitude of about 360 meters, these are located in the centre of the islands and are characterized as rugged and craggy. • Hills: with maximum altitudes of about 100 meters, these are found surrounding the mountains and are rounded, having resulted from erosion of the mountains. • Plains: these include beaches and alluvial valleys which are of either marine or alluvial origin. The islands are surrounded by a welldeveloped barrier reef, especially to the north-northeast or windward side. This coral reef system covers approximately 255 square kilometers and encloses an extensive lagoon which is rich in sea grass beds. The coastal areas have the mangrove swamps necessary to complete a highly intact reef ecosystem which can be characterized as very productive. The precipitation cycle is monomodal - the first season is dry (February through April with May considered to be transitional)


and the second season is described as wet (June through December with January transitional). The heaviest rains occur in October and November. However, the distribution of rain is far from regular; out of a total mean annual rainfall of approximately 1,600 mm, more than 70 percent usually falls in a period of a few days. This situation causes frequent water shor tages, little possibility of replenishing wells or groundwater (which are consequently not an important human water source on these islands), and irregular and intermittent strong gully or stream flows During the years when the amount of rainfall is particularly low and air temperatures are correspondingly higher (for example, during periods influenced by EL NIÑO), natural regeneration of the forest does not occur because of the water deficit. As would be expected under these environmental conditions, the vegetation in the islands has been classified as tropical dry forest. At the present time, 374 species have been identified which are distributed between 93 families and 7 pteridophytes (Lowy, 1994). The main plant families are Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Compositae, Rubiaceae, Malvaceae, and Caesalpinaceae. Seventy percent of the species are considered to be native and 23 percent to have been introduced. There are several species represented that have been found elsewhere only in Jamaica; for example, the species of palm Cocotrinax jamaicensis. Complementary other species are widely distributed throughout the New World. These species show an affinity with the flora of the Antilles and Central America as well as with that of northern South America. Reknowned botanist, Alwyn H. Gentry, remarked in his field notes on Old Providence that: Floristically the forest is very Antillean.... (However,) the forest is very diverse by Antillean standards; with ca. 60spp. >=2.5cm dbh in 0.1ha. This compares with an average of 43 in Greater Antillean moist forest and 46 in dry forest. It is also unusually well preserved for the Antilles.... Overall evaluation: An interesting mix of mainland and Antillean flora, but more related to the latter and thus of great conservational significance. The mature forest occupies 148 hectares (7.22 percent of the island’s area) and is found in the mountains, relatively far from human settlements. CORALINA field studies report 145 species, with the most diversity in the sector known as Freshwater. Species like the kapok or cotton tree (Ceiba petandra), first stick (Chlorophora tinctoria), strangler fig (Ficus sp.), promenta (Pimenta dioica), trumpet tree (Cecropia peltata), birch gum (Bursera simaruba), crabwood



(Byrsonima crassifolia), and Faramea occidentalis are common in the forest. The mean base area for the trees is 22 m/ha, with an average of 17 meters in height and a density of 0.1 ind/m;, which indicates that this forest is not primary but is in good condition and is growing towards climax. Shrubs are the most abundant vegetation type, covering 1,444 hectares (70 percent). The most dominant species of this type of vegetation is the cockspur tree (Acacia collinsii) which can grow in dense thickets, sometimes monospecifically. Many acacias are especially adapted to dry conditions and are common invaders of grasslands and shrubby woodlands. This shrub has a symbiotic relationship with a species of stinging ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) that protects the tree from encroachment by other vegetation and human or animal use; the exception being several species of resident birds that nest in the cockspur. Other significant shrubs include: Cordia collococca, Cassearia sylvestris, Randia glumeri, Croton glabelus, and Pithecellobium dulce. Additionally, many fruit trees are found in both mature forest and shrub ecosystems. At the present time on Old Providence, 425 hectares have been converted to pasture for grazing cattle. Annually more shrubs, and occasionally forest, are cleared to make grasslands. Besides posing a major threat to the future of the natural flora, cattle-raising increases the amount of soil erosion, destroys the process of natural regeneration, and is not an important food source for the islands. To protect the terrestrial biodiversity of the island, CORALINA is working with the 80 or so persons who are raising an estimated 400 head of cattle with the goal of developing a sustainable solution to this problem.

Terrestrial Fauna

Less is known about the fauna of the islands. There are a number of resident and endemic reptile species which include two species of snake -- silver snake (Leptothyphlops albiprons) and Coriophanes andrensis -- and abundant lizards such as the iguana (Iguana iguana), penny lizard (Anolis pinchoti), brown lizard (Anolis concolor), jack lizard (Ameiva ameiva), blue or green lizard (Cnemidorphorus lemniscatus), and snakewaiting-boy (Mabuyo mabuyo). Geckos and salamanders are represented by Aristelliger georgeenis and Sphaerodactylus argus. Two species of land turtles are found: hikiti (Geochelone carbonaria) and the San Andres’ swamp turtle, locally called “swanka.” The only registered amphibean is a species of endemic toad (Leptodactylus insularis). In addition, the reptile group includes more introduced species than does any other group; of special significance are the boa or woala (Boa constrictor) and the lizard known as ishillie (Ctenosaura similis). Some of these have become abundant enough to disturb the islands’ ecological balance;

for example, the species known as “lobo pollero” in San Andres. Detailed studies need to be made on both the precise impacts of these introduced species and on the reptile group in general. An important class of land animals on the islands are the crustacean land crabs of which there are several species; two of these are particularly important for their food and commercial value, black crab (Gecarcinus ruricola) and shankey (Gecarcinus lateralis). These species are wide-spread in both the forest and coastal zones. Annually these crabs effect a massive migration to the sea to spawn. Each black crab deposits around 40,000 eggs, which grow for two months in the form of marine plankton before returning to land. CORALINA is in the process of studying the black crab and developing regulations to insure its sustainable use, particularly by protecting it from vehicular traffic in its annual migration to and from the sea.


The most important class of terrestrial vertebrates is birds including land, marine, and migratory species. Approximately 98 species of birds have been identified in the islands, the majority of which are migratory. Only about 18 are resident with 2 endemic species known in San Andres and several endemic subspecies found in Old Providence. Some of these species are found on the major islands, and some marine species are found only on the north and south cays. Among the most important resident species are the doves: wild pigeon (Zenaida asiatica), Caribbean or ground dove (Leptotila jamaicensis), and balley or bald pate (Columba leucocephala). Other resident birds of primary importance are the grass bird (Tiaris bicolor), wish wish (Coereba flaveola), god bird or hummingbird (Anthracotorax prevostii), banana bird or Jamaican oriole (Icterus leucopteryx), nightingale (Mimus gilvus), Caribbean elaenia (Elaenia martinica), and several species of warblers (Dendroicae) and vireos (Vireonidae). The old man bird or rainbird (Coccyzus minor), an endemic subspecies of cuckoo, is a favorite bird and the subject of local legends on the islands that is in danger of extinction as its chosen habitat is frequently mangrove swamps.


The sole terrestrial mammals found are several species of bats, including Natalus brevimanus, Artibeus jamaicensus, and Molossus molussus. Marine mammals have occasionally appeared on the beaches, some of which have been rare species. Although whales are not commonly seen in the coastal waters, they are intermittently sighted.

Coastal and marine resources Coral reef structure

Corals are widespread throughout the archipelago and the reef formations are particularly complex as a result of their oceanic location and the heavy wave action and turbulance to which they have adapted. The reef formations can be divided into three large complexes: 1) barrier reefs and sections lying north, northwest, west, and southwest on the shelf, 2) reef sections and patches in the lagoon behind the barrier reefs, and 3) coral communities and reefs on bordering ledges to the west. San Andres Island is surrounded by a complex reef system on the insular shelf made up of a variety of coral formations: barrier and fringing reefs, patches, and associated lagoons. The windward barrier reef located on the eastern edge of the shelf is composed of a series of calcareous fossil terraces covered with well developed coral communities (50% live coral) including a wide diversity of hard corals, octocorals, and sponges. This reef, although not unbroken, runs from the extreme north to the south end of the island and is 15 km long and 60-80 m wide, providing effective breakwaters and a large lagoon. The coral reefs found in the waters surrounding San Andres are made up of approximately 40 identified species including: Millepora spp., Porites porites, P. astreoides, P. furcata, P. divaricata, Diploria strigosa, D. clivosa, D. labyrinthiformis, Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, Montastraea annularis, M. cavernosa, Sideratrea siderea, S. radians, Agaricia spp., Favia fragum, Isophyllastrea rigida, Dendrogyra cylindrus, Stephanocoenia intersepta, Madracis decactis, M. mirabilis, Leptoseris cucullata, Meandrina meandrites, Colpophyllia natans, C. amaranthus, Dichocoenia stokesi, Mycetophyllia spp.,and Eusmillia fastigiata. Other corals commonly found include antipatharians, gorgonians, Stylaster roseus, Zoanthus sociatus and Palythoa spp. The coral communities and reefs bordering the western ledges show the most influence of human activity. Coral tissue mortality here reaches levels between 5% and 100%. The most affected species is Acropora cervicornis which is practically extinct; other species including A. palmata, Agaricia agaricites, and Colpophylia natans are also affected. This deterioration is explained by macroregional processes and by the effects of anthropogenic agents (sedimentation, contamination, boat traffic, and tourism). The Old Providence and Santa Catalina reef complex is regionally unique because it surrounds the only high altitude volcanic island found on the MesoAmerican shelf. The barrier reef is 32 km long and varies from 50-200 m in width, covering a total

area of approximately 255 km2. This reef is characterized as the second largest true barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere (Geister, 1997). The coral reef system surrounding these islands is divided into 4 units: fore-reef terrace, windward barrier reef, lagoon with patch and fringing reefs, and leeward and outer shelves. Identified species include Millepora spp., Porites astreoides, P. porites, P. furcata (var), P. clavaria, Diploria strigosa, D. labyrinthiformis, D. clivosa, Agrarcia agaricites, A. crassa, Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis, Colpophyllia natans, Favia fragum, Dichocoenia stockesii, Montastraea annularis,M.cavernosa, M. faveolata, Dendrogyra cylindrus, Stephanocoenia michelini,Isophyllastrea rigida, Siderastrea siderea, and S. radians. The area also includes black corals, fire corals, and lace corals as well as zoanthids. Because of huge populations of the masked hamlet, this specie received the name: Hypoplectrus providencianus; and is on the IUCN Red List. Albuquerque Cay (South-Southwest Cay) Is the only reef complex that resemble a true atollon, being nearly circular with a peripheral reef to windward that extends along the north, east, and southeast sides for close to 6 km. In shallow waters reef crest is barely submerged, and composed by a combination of Millepora-PalythoaPorolithon. The lagoon has two well defined depths: 9 m and 15 m, were well developed sea grass beds and a significant quantity of hard corals, octocorals, patches of Montastraea and peripheral reefs of Acropora palmata can be found. Bolivar and Courtown Cay resemble a kidney-shaped atoll that has a diameter of a little over 13 km. The windward reefs developed towards the northeast, east and southeast. Strong waves and currents, turbulences, and an intricate system of caves have created a unique and unusual reef environment (Geister, 1997). The northern part of the lagoon is covered with dense patches of reef, predominantly hard coral of the genus such as Millepora, Diploria, Montastraea, Porites. and Acropora. Few years ago there was abundant queen conch and spiny lobster on both cays. Queena is the most extensive atoll of the Archipelago, although it is commonly described as a half atoll with 60 km in length and between 10 and 20 km wide. It has a windward reef that extends more than 40 km and includes shelf areas. Although it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have terrestrial area, the bank is shallow and partially exposed at the low tide. The reef is mainly composed of Millepora spp., and Acropora palmata that is common in the leeward area. Irregular patch reefs, exhibiting both ribbon and knoll configurations are plentiful. This is one of the least studied areas of the Archipelago, in spite of being considered one of the most productive sites

for queen conch and spiny lobster in the southwestern Caribbean. Serrana is an extensive reef complex of around 36 km in length and 15 km wide, including the insular platform. There is an extensive lagoon with numerous seaweed patches and sea grass beds which are highly productive. There is a secondary barrier, long and narrow, with the predominant Acropora palmata creating a calm system, with reef patches (Montastraea) covering 60% of the bottom. Other plentiful coral species are Agaricia agaricites, Porites spp., Mycetophyllia ferox, Diploria spp., and Siderastrea siderea, among others. Roncador is an elongated atoll of approximately 15 km in length and 7 km width. The windward peripheral ref is almost continuous for 12 km and breaks surface in calm weather. The lagoon, which is shallower than the others in the region, is exposed at low tide. Dense patches of Montastraea almost reach the surface, with thickets of Acropora cervicornis growing along the crest. In the southern part of the lagoon, reef patches cover 70% of the bed. Other significant coral species are Acropora palmata, Diploria spp., Agaricia undata, A. lamarcki, Montastraea franksi, Mycethophyllia aliciae and M. reesi. The Gorgonians are numerous, and therefore it is presumed that the massive mortality that devastated this species in other areas of the Caribbean had little effect here and on Serrana.


There are twelve mangrove lagoons on San Andres, Old Providence, and Ketlina, made up of red, black, white, and buttonwood mangroves. The mangrove stands show classic zoning pattern with tidal height, with red mangroves in shallow water, black mangroves in intertidal mud flats, and white and buttonwood growing higher still. Old Providence and Ketlina has six major mangrove swamps: Oyster Creek, Manchineel Bay, Southwest Bay, Old Town, Jones Point, and Ketlina. San Andres has seven main mangrove swamps, only three of which are in direct contact with the sea (Honda Bay, Hooker Bight, Cove Seaside). Several mangrove lagoons on these islands were destroyed by development. However, current law strictly protects existing mangroves from any human activity.


Seagrass beds in the Archipelago are found primarily along the shore of the larger islands. Beds are made up primarily of turtle (Thalassia testudinum) and manatee (Syringodium filiforme) grass. A third species, Halodule wright is also found in waters around Old Providence.


The seagrass beds appear to be productive and healthy in the areas where they still occur. Nevertheless, they continue to face threats from pollution, development, and boating activity in shallow water. Most of these threats are currently regulated carefully by local law. Only one research study has been done on sea grasses within the archipelago which was realized from February to September of 1997 (Angel and Gonzalez). It reached the following conclusions: • Two registered species are found around San Andres Island -- Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme, the latter forming a small structurally homogeneous monospecies patch to the west of the island. • Three registered species are found near Old Providence Island -- Thalassia testudinum, Syringodium filiforme, and Halodule wrightii. Two species are found near Ketlina -- Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme. • The beds of H. wrightii are situated in shallows and near mangroves and are separate from T. testudinum and S. filiforme. • The sea grass beds are structurally heterogeneous as shown by high fluctuations in density, biomass, and morphometry. • In shallow zones, boat traffic, anchors, and multiple coastal effluents are some of the anthropogenic causes of sea grass deterioration around the islands.


The most important beaches in San Andres are: Sprat Bight, Coccoplum Bay, Rocky Cay, Sound Bay, Smith Channel, and Elsy Bar. Other popular tourist destinations include the nearshore cays, which are visited by an estimated twothirds of all visitors: Johnny Cay, Haines Cay, and Rose Cay. Beaches in San Andres are made of materials from offshore, with fine white sand particles of predominantly organic origin. The load of land-based sediments into the shallow lagoon enclosed by the reef system to the north and east of the island is small, allowing corals and sea grasses to remain relatively healthy in spite of threats posed by other factors such as improper waste disposal and over-extraction of species. Beaches are replenished by the breakdown of corals and other animal and plant species on the coastal shelf (Kielman, 1999). This sand is moved by wave action and currents.



Beaches are narrow, with low profiles and no dunes. Old Providence and Ketlina has 5 principal beaches - Manchineel Bay, Southwest Bay, Freshwater Bay, Allen Bay, and Old John Bay - with a number more in isolated coves; the sand is of coral composition. Although small and regionally unexceptional the intactness of their natural settings, the lack of development or pollution, the quality of white sand, and their relative privacy are associated aspects that greatly enhance the value of these beaches as a tourist resource. Sea turtles used to nest frequently on the islands and nests are still regularly found at several of the more isolated beaches, especially those on the uninhabited north coast of Ketlina. One of the major environmental problems on the islands is sand-mining which seriously threatens the quality and size of most beaches. Native beach vegetation is trees like sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), seaside mahoe (Thespesia populnea), coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), and West Indian almond (Terminalia catappa); shrubs including sea purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), bay cedar (Suriana maritima), beach bean (Canavalia maritima), marigold (Complaya trilobata), wild plantain (Canna indica), and sea lavendar (Tournefortia gnaphalodes); grasses like saltgrass (Disticlis spicata) and shoregrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum, S. kuntze), and trailing vines, especially beach morning-glories (Ipomoea pes-caprae, I. alba) and coral vine (Antigon lectopus). Large amounts of algae also wash up on north and east facing beaches, especially Sargassum sp. and Dictyopteris sp. (CORALINA, 2000).


Two hundred seventy-three species of associated reef fish have been identified within the Archipelago. These include two described endemic species: Gambusia aestiputeus and Hypoplectrus providencianus. In addition to these endemic species, several other species are listed on the IUCN Red List, including: the cotuero, whitespotted, whitelined, retuiclated, and splendid toadfish (Batrachoides manglae, Sanopus astrifer, S. greenfieldorum, S. reticulatus, and S. splendidus); hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus); mutton and cubera snapper (Lutjanus analis and L. cyanopterus); rainbow parrotfish (Scarus guacamaia); bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus); jewfish, marbled, Warsaw, and Nassau (Epinephelus itajara, E. inermis, E. nigritus, and E. striatus); red porgy (Pagrus pagrus); queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula); and the smalltooth and largetooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata and P. perotteti). All of these species are listed as vulnerable except: the Nassau grouper, red porgy, and smalltooth sawfish are listed as endangered; and the jewfish, Warsaw grouper, and largetooth sawfish are listed as critically endangered.

Of the identified fish species, 131 species from 46 families have been recorded in San Andres coastal waters. One of the 2 endemic species, Gambusia aestiputeus, is found in the Hooker Bight mangroves.

Sea Turtles

Four identified sea turtle species use beaches in the Archipelago for nesting. Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) are the most common nesters, particularly on Seranilla Bank in June and July. Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) also nest frequently, with Serrana and Roncador Banks the most common place and August the most common time. Green (Chelonia mydas) and leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) have also been seen nesting. It is also possible that the Archipelago is home to Kemp’s and olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii and L. olivacea) but these species have not yet been described. All of these sea turtles receive international protection. Each is listed in appendix I of CITES, reserved for rare or endangered species, and is listed as critically endangered (hawksbill and Kemp’s ridley) or endangered (all others) on the IUCN Red List. Beaches on the northern banks and southern atolls play a particularly important role as nesting habitat for these species, although historically they also nested on the main islands. Sporadic nesting still occurs in San Andres along with regular nesting at several spots in Old Providence, most notably Old John and Mona Bays on the northern coast of Ketlina. The sea grass beds of the southern cays are particularly important feeding grounds for immature species particularly.

Sea Birds

76 species of migratory birds, together with 18 resident species including 2 endemic and some endemic sub-species, have been detected in the Archipelago (Bond, 1980 and Hilty and Brown, 1986). The majority are to be found in the mangroves, cays and coastal areas. The information on marine birds is scarce, but the most abundant species are the man o’ war (Fregata magnificens), the laughing gull (Larus atricilla), the tern (Sterna spp.), and the red-foot and brown foot booby. The northern banks are also an important nesting area for sea birds, particularly red-footed and brown boobies (Sula dactylatrea, S. sula) and laughing gulls (Larus atricilla). Magnificent frigate birds (Fregata magnificens) terns (Sterna fuscata, S. maximus.), and puffins (Puffinus puffinus, P. griseus) nest in the region, and are commonly found throughout. Many other shore and sea birds pass through the region during migrations as the Archipelago is at the edge of the western flyway.

by Juan Rita

Sustainability for the Island of Minorca The island of Minorca (The Balearic Islands, Spain) was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in1993. This island can be considered as environmentally well conserved, although it has a very strong economical development based on tourism for the masses and thus places its natural heritage under enormous pressure. This declaration by Man And Biosphere (MAB) challenges us to seek a path towards a sustainable future, as it applies the concept of a biosphere reserve in a context that has nothing to do with a protected area, and is more in fact a space that is constant use by humans. It is an experiment whose object is to protect the biodiversity of the island, and above all, an intent to apply global environmental policies, many of which affect the human inhabitants in their day to day activities. The application of the concept of a biosphere reserve requires concrete development policies compatible with nature conservation, and education programmes, investigation and participation in a network of like reserves. However, although it is fairly clear what needs be done, there is no clear guide in about how it should be done, especially

to resolve the terms such as “governance”, “management”, “citizen participation”, “monitoring” , etc., that should be in accordance with the Statutory Framework for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and the 1995 Seville Strategy. This is entirely logical, as the enormous diversity of the situations for each reserve within the Global Network, makes it impossible to apply a single recipe to all reserves. Doctor in Biology and full professor of Botany at the Balearic Island University. His line of research focuses on the plant biodiversity of the Balearic Islands. He has also participated in the development of sustainable development policies, instrumented the UNESCO declaration of Minorca as a Biosphere Reserve and later participated in the Sustainable Development Plan for the island. From 1999 to 2003 he was Coordinator of the Minorca Biosphere Reserve. The Minorca Biosphere Reserve has developed its own concept of reserve taking advantage of the opportunities that this island presents, for example: the decentralization of the Spanish government administration, the demonstrated capacity of inter-coordination between the island munic- ipal governments, the well-

structured island society and the involvement of many cultural institutions of which make up the scientific community that studies the island (many of which pertain to Universities on the continent). Evidently the island faces a multitude of threats, especially the expansion of tourismbased urban development with the corresponding infrastructural demands, and the depressed of the agricultural sector. The combination of these two tendencies could indubitably put an end to the islands environmental values, however a correct management of these same tendencies could offer an elevated quality of life within a well conserved natural environment. The group of initiatives that have been taken in Minorca constitute a special model adapted to the reality of concrete situations present on the island, although many of these could be applied to other areas with similar characteristics. This article presents a revision of the most important actions, especially those that have been applied within the last few years (1999-2003).

Minorca social and environmental setting Minorca is one of the Balearic islands, which are located in the centre of the Western Mediterranean Basin. The island has a surface area of approximately 700 Km2 (70,000 hectares, and is the most northerly located of the islands, and consequently has a somewhat colder and humid climate than Majorca, Ibiza Fig. 1 The rural landscape is one of the main values of

the environmental and cultural heritage of the Minorcan Biosphere Reserve.


(Barcelona, 1957). Department of Biology, University of the Balearic Islands. 07122 Palma, Majorca. Spain.


and Formentera, the other populated islands of the Balearics. Officially, approximately 80,000 people live on the island, but the real population can experience great seasonal swings, reaching a maximum of 180,000 in August and a minimum of 60,000 in December (OBSAM web site, 2003), and these cycles are directly related with the tourist industry and the Mediterranean climate. Until the 80´s the island had a relatively equilibrated economy, with an agricultural sector (milk and cheese production) and industrial (jewellery and shoemaking) that were both of great influential in the islands economy. From the middle 80´s up to the present date, the growth in tourism and the service sector and the construction industry have grown unstoppably, and at this moment, tourism for the masses, based on sun and sandy beaches, forms the base of the insular economy (aprox.1,000,000 tourists in 2002). In spite of these changes, the agricultural and industrial sectors remain active, albeit submersed in a multitude of crises, mostly caused by entry into the European Union, competition from Asian nations, and above a much greater return for real estate investments (much of which is underground and covered-up from scrutiny by the Spanish tax system). The natural surroundings can still be found in a well conserved state, above all in comparison with the neighbouring islands. The rural landscape, characterised by wide areas of pastureland for the island cows, is very harmonious and surprising to find in Mediterranean setting (Fig 1 and 2). The greater part of the island coastline has been spared from the destruction wrought by tourist developments and conserves important values in terms of biodiversity and landscape

(Rita, 2002) (Fig. 3 and 4). The natural resources have also suffered pressure of development in the last few years, especially in terms of water resources. However, the current situation is still much better that surrounding islands where seawater must be desalinised for potable use, although in some coastal areas seawater incursion due to well over-pumping has salinised the aquifers. The archaeological and ethnological heritage is so rich that it forms an inseparable part of the landscape, as there is a density of more than one site per square kilometre (Fig. 5). The insular society has been organized into a multitude of associations (cultural, professional, social-politic, etc.), which eases the task of find representing spokespeople to establish a via of consultation with society and to participate in decision-making issues. The intellectual society, with members that either live on the island or the many natives that can be found dispersed through out the Spanish universities, can be found or organized through a entity called the Institut Menorquí d’Estudis (IME, or Minorcan Study Institution), which has played a crucial role in the declaration as well as the consolidation of Minorca as a Biosphere Reserve (Vidal et al., 1994). The island is administratively divided into eight different municipalities, which to this moment have been able to coordinate actions such as municipal waste treatment. The Insular governing body, the Consell Insular de Menorca (CIMe, The Minorca Insular Council) with competencies in the areas of land planning, roadways, tourism, and agriculture. This administration is also responsible for management of the reserve. There also exists a regional government and a Parliamentary government with ample legislative powers over the territory of the archipelago. The central government in Madrid conserves some important jurisFig. 3 Wide coastal areas

of Minorca can be found in an excellent state of conservation.



Fig. 2 The mosaic structure of the landscape favours

biodiversity; the natural ecosystems and the cultivated lands are in closely inter-related.

dictions over the coastline, airports and the greater part of the judicial system. The decentralisation of the Spanish administration has had great relevance for the island governance; as important decisions like land-use planning, are made on the island, and in this manner systems for citizen participation have real decision-making opportunities. However, it is still indispensable the coordination between the different administrative levels, otherwise it would be very difficult o carryout an effective, complete, sustainability policy.

The Conceptual Framework of the Minorca Biosphere Reserve. Biosphere reserves are juridical forms that do not yet exist within our legal ordinances (2004), and such must be “invented “ for each circumstance. Only the Statuary Framework or the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and the Seville Strategy, both approved by UNESCO (1995) and the indicators designed for the follow-up define a minimum framework for action. In the case of an island like ours, we had to define some strategic lines of action and some of our own management tools that would respond to what could be considered as a biosphere reserve in an insular setting , that in a social-economic time characterised by enormous tourism and development pressures (Fig. 6). These lines and tools are:

A. Reserve Zoning. The Biosphere includes all of the territory. When Minorca presented its proposal to be declared a reserve, there was no doubt about if the reserve should encompass all its territory. In an island the size of Minorca, where the maximum distance between its two farthest points is somewhat less than 50 kilometres, any type of impact on the territory or whatever environmental policy is applied to any part of the island has an immediate repercussion upon the rest of the island. For an example, the increase in tourism related developments (and the same for an increase in the number of tourists), even though these would be concentrated in small areas along the coast, in the end translates into a greater impact of users upon the natural area (that would call for a management of the area), major traffic density on the roadways (and thus a greater cry for their amplification), an increase in waste production, energy and water consumption, etc.. It is erroneous to think that, and this is especially true for islands, that is possible to implant conservation objectives and policies in one part of the territory, for example in the protected areas, and forget or ignore what happens the rest. This type of approximation to reserve conservation has been very useful in protecting very valuable places, but in areas with the dimensions that we are considering, this is not effective in the mid to long term. The 1995 Sevillian Strategy gave some messages in this direction when it considered that greater importance should be given to the buffer and transition zones, where the greater economic development takes place. Despite this holistic vision of the territory, the declaration of the island as a Biosphere Reserve requires a definition of the zones that they are divided into three distinct types within the reserve. As each area must respond to the environmental values and must specify a unique management policy for each zone, a criteria was adopted that the zoning contain with its boundaries the areas that are under protection at this moment. Fro example, the

made up of agricultural areas of great landscape and ethnological interest, but also include urban zones and their infrastructures. At the time of writing these pages, there are no declared marine areas included within the reserve, although in 1999 the northern coast of north of the island was declared a great marine reserve and in 2003 the Natural Park was expanded to include these protected marine zones.

Fig. 4. The virgin beaches represent an important

resource for the creation of a new model of tourism based on sustainability.

Es Grau Coastal Lagoon Natural Park (Parc Natural de Sâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Albufera des Grau), which was the area with the greatest extent of protection with a management directed basically for a conservation of the biosphere, was chosen as a nucleus zone. The resulting buffer zone which corresponds to a series of areas that were protected in 1991 by an autonomic law (Declared Natural Areas of Special Interest, or Areas Naturals de Especial InterĂŠs-ANEIs) which as a whole include the principal forest lands, dune systems, coastal cliff-sides and salt marshes of the island. These deal with areas with vigorous use restrictions, urban development for example, with a high environmental value, yet without a specific management plan as such, that do not enclose the nucleus zone as represented in the classic schemes of reserve zoning. The last zone, the transition zone, corresponds to the rest of the island, which in a greater part are

B. Reserve Management. A light structure for a complex territory. Both the existence of an island government (Insular Council of Minorca, or Consell Insular de Menorca) that directs the greater part of the sectorial policies, and the horizontal character of sustainable development, it would have been unadvisable to create a parallel reserve management structure to that of the island government, as it would have duplicated the existing management structures. For the case of an island where the area of the reserve superimposes exactly the territory of the island government, it could prove more efficient the management structure of the reserve have coordinating, consulting and dynamic functions in addition to managing concrete policies. In the case of Minorca the Biosphere Reserve Office was created with a Reserve Coordinator, which depends directly on the Insular Presidential Government. This office has had as functions the ability to launch projects (which have been developed by various insular government departments) including LIFE, Agenda 21, The Biosphere Reserve Law, etc., maintain contacts with UNESCO and the Network of Biosphere Reserves, disclosure and distribution and stimulating societies participation in the management of the reserve.

Fig. 5 The archaeological records and the rural architec-

ture, as can be seen in the photograph, are a part of the landscape and historical heritage of the island.


Fig. 6 The conceptual frame-

work of the Minorca Biosphere Reserve (the Biosphere Reserve Law is in the draft stage).

The administrative and management part is complemented with a Biosphere Reserve Scientific Commission, a consulting organ made up of people from the scientific and academic world whose function is to asses and analyse the reserve projects as well as direct the Socio-Environmental Observatory of Minorca, an institution entrusted with the follow-up of the state of the reserve and of which will be made mention later (Fig. 7). This is a light structure but it is effective if the territorial governmental organisms fully assume the philosophy of the biosphere reserve and promote it with concrete policies. In any case, if the responsible politicians do not consider as a priority the sustainable development of the island, it would be very unlikely that the reserve will function, whatever be the structure. C. The environmental as a horizontal policy. Developmental Planning and management examples. In the same manner that the territory cannot be divided, neither can be its environmental policies. The insular setting also makes it much more evident that environmental policy has a horizontal structure, a well-beloved idea within the discourse of sustainability. It is erroneous to consider that conservation policies are alien to the decisions taken in socio-economic departments, decisions about matters of transport (harbour and airport dimensions as a function of population ceiling vs. that of an external demand), agriculture (organic agriculture vs. intensive farming), tourism (Promotion of a traditional landscape vs. landscaped golf courses) municipal waste disposal (compost vs. incineration), hydraulic resources (rational water consumption vs. desalinisation plants) etc. all of these issues have a crucial repercussions on the island’s



natural environment and are also fundamental in the daily lives of the reserve inhabitants. In short, the philosophy of the Biosphere Reserve or that is, of its sustainability, should be introduced in all policies instead of having them be the exclusive of a certain department within the insular government. However, these horizontal policies need powerful co-ordinating mechanisms as well as a clear definition about what signifies sustainability for each one of the sectorial policies. It was for this reason that in 1997, that with LIFE funds a Plan for the Sustainable Development of Minorca was drawn up, where a diagnosis was made for each one of the socio-environmental sectors and presented proposals for each one of them. And has served as an action guideline for the design of concrete actions since then (Insular Council of Minorca, 1998). Some of these concrete actions where the importance of coordination between administrative agencies are the following:

Municipal Solid Waste. The policy for municipal solid wastes for the island was designed in the late 1980’s with some extremely important decisions. • Formation of Solid Waste Consortium, in which all of the island municipalities and the Insular Council of Minorca participate. • The unification into a single site or municipal solid waste treatment for the entire island. • Transformation of those wastes into compost and concentrate into one area for waste deposition • A definite dedication to separate wastes at the source point. The excellent co-ordination between administrations and their decision for the most environmentally friendly system, has resolved one of the principal environmental problems of the island in a satisfactory manner and has placed the island at the vanguard of our country in selective recovery. Management of the littoral. In a tourist island like Minorca the management of the littoral has an extraordinary economic importance, as the greater majority of the tourists that visit the island come precisely for the sun and the sandy beaches (Fig. 8). In the summer, thousands of visitors frequent the coast o a daily basis to enjoy the nearly one hundred beaches on the island. The Spanish legislation entrusts

Fig. 7 Organisational diagram of the Minorcan Biosphere Reserve. The Insular Council of Minorca (Consell Insular

Menorca) handles the reserve. The Local agendas 21 are developed by the island municipalities. The NGO projects are financed by the island governments and carried out by the local associations.

• Communication cam- The Council of Minorca and municipal governpaigns for beach-goers ments) in 2002 the elaboration of Local (over 150,000 pamphlets Agenda 21´s began simultaneously in the edited each year in six eight island municipalities, in the manner that languages, posters, web covers the entire island territory. These Local page, etc.) to promote the Agendas are allowed to endow a concrete environmental values of programme for sustainability approved through these areas. a citizen participation process that should be • Evaluation of the beach complete by the year 2004. carrying capacity and access and parking design Biodiversity. Although the Insular Council Fig. 8 The management of the littoral is carried out with a holistic focus to make its in function of their capac- of Minorca does not dispose competencies conservation compatible with the public use that it sees during the summer. ity for the more problem- over the biodiversity, they did apply for a the beach maintenance to the corresponding atic beaches (of 10 projects 5 have been LIFE program from the European Union municipality, and until the 90´s, each city implemented, with two of these cases (2000-2004) for the protection of threatened government on the island did so in an independin collaboration with the Environmental plant species. Some of the actions of this ent manner, normally without regards to Ministry). project are: environmental concerns. During this period • The elaboration of plans to recuperate heavy machinery such as tractors and excava- Local Agendas 21. The participation of the these species. tors have entered into fragile areas such as municipal administration in the management • Eradication of a species evasive to the beaches and dune systems causing a very seri- of the Biosphere Reserve is fundamental, as littoral (Carpobrotus spp.). ous environmental impact. As a consequence, these municipalities are disposed with a great • Regulation of the littoral access. many of our beaches have eroded and have autonomy and capacity for the management • Education campaigns. been reduced in surface area. From the year of their territory. Also, citizen participation is This project has generated synergetic 1999, all governments decided to unify their easily stimulated when you address questions interests with the littoral management procmaintenance habits, introduce environmentally that affect their daily lives. ess, as is now complemented from the point of protective methods, and allow that the Insular With funds proceeding form three distinct view of biodiversity. However, these actions Government direct the process. At the present administrations, (The Balearic Government, should be coordinated with the Ministry time, these beach cleaning methods of the Environment which is saddled have converted into an environmental with the eradication chores along the service instead of a matter of environcoastline and of which it is composed mental degradation. The new criteria of the pertinent competencies and in are: conjunction with the Balearic Govern• Classification of the beaches as a ment should authorise and supervise function of their use (urban, nonthe works related with the protected urban, but with easy access, and species. non-urban but with access by foot traffic), and designing each cleanThe Coastal Marshland Natural ing program according to the beach Park. The Coastal Marshland Natural category. Park nucleus zone of the Biosphere • The cleaning program includes all Reserve. This park has since its creaisland beaches, not just the touristic tion, a management body (Management ones, and throughout the year (not Authority) formed by three different just during the summertime). administrations (the local, insular and • Manual cleaning methods, except autonomic governments), although in the urban beaches. the management responsibilities fall • Use of cleaning machines specifiespecially upon the autonomic governcally designed for cleaning sandy ment. However, budget approvals and surfaces. annual management plans should be • Quantification of the residues made by common accord between three extracted during the cleaning procadministrations. The smooth operation Fig. 9 More than 7 % of the species on the island of Minorca are endemic. ess for evaluation of system effec- In the photograph is Femeniasia balearica, a genus and species exclusive of the Park within the last few years to the island. tiveness. has made possible the amplification


of its boundaries, in 2003 in both marine and land area. D. Territorial Planning as a management tool. In an island with a strong tourist and housing growth sector, territorial planning is an important tool for the future direction of the island, and imposes regulations about how the territory should be used, and permits the situation of infrastructures upon the terrain from a holistic point of view of the islands reality. From the conservation point of view, a territorial plan would give an idea of what would be the environmental scenario over the medium range, and would for example, have an idea of what should be the population ceilings as well as evaluate the guaranties of conservation of the natural and cultural heritage. In our case, two types of documents have been drafted: • A Land Plan at the insular level (Plan Territorial Insular, PTI). • Six management plans for the protected areas that make up the Biosphere Reserve buffer zone. In 2003 the Insular Territorial Plan was approved, this urban planning document is extremely important for the island economy and obviously for its natural environment, as it outlays the islands future for the next years and supposes a guarantee for the conservation of the values that were given when Minorca was declared a Biosphere Reserve. This plan is the tool that would regulate not only what should be a limit to the islands population, but as where this population should be felt, what infrastructures must accompany them, and which parts of the territory that must be protected. This plan offers an opportunity to control the urban growth, which if in step with past rates, would have doubled. The main contributions of this plan are (Insular Council of Minorca, 2003): • Increase the protected area of the island to 60% of the surface area. • Prohibit building on rural lands (to avoid that rural areas are transformed into urban areas), save for beltways surrounding the cities. • Reduce the quantity of developable land in tourist zones by an equivalent of 55,000 tourist places.



• Prohibit the construction of apartment buildings in tourist areas, the only new tourist lodgings permissible must be the form of hotels and single family dwellings. • Establish urban growth quotas between municipalities. On their behalf, the six approved plans for the protected areas define the possible uses for the different zones and the carrying capacities of the natural areas, providing as well an agenda of actions with the object of conserving the rural values. E. Participation. Society as a whole is responsible for the reserve. The statutory framework of the Biosphere Reserve of 1995 requires that certain specific channels for citizen participation in decision making tasks for the biosphere be habilitated. The Minorca Biosphere Reserve benefits from a series of circumstances that facilitates citizen participation. One factor is the decentralization of the Spanish governmental administration, which in turn has created an insular government capable of a wide range of competencies that allows a proximity between the citizens and the administration that makes the decisions. Another factor is that the society is very well structured, with many civic associations of multiple forms that can easy provide a spokesperson to represents a multitude of social players. In the Biosphere Reserve, empowers several diverse mechanisms for citizen participation (Rita et. al., 2002) that can be classified as: • Formal systems of participation. • ”ad hoc” consulting. • Actions in management projects. The formal participation in the Biosphere Reserve is channel through a consulting commission (Commissió Consultiva sobre el Territori i la Reserva de Biosfera) a body in the various representatives of the various island social players can participate: political parties, trade unions, associations, business associations, neighbourhood associations, ecological groups, etc., and reunites

approximately every three months. This commission informs and consults with society the principal decisions that should be taken on the island, and can have an importance incidence over the territory. This commission had a relevant role, for example, in the discussion of the draft for the Insular Territorial Plan. A second level of formal participation are the citizens forums that are made up from the eight island municipalities that should participate in the debate of Agenda 21. These agenda are being (2004) elaborated simultaneously in all of the island municipalities and will define the developmental paths of each. The municipal level permits that greatest approximation between the citizen and the matters that they will participate and decide upon. From the administrative bodies of the Biosphere Reserve, stimulates the elaboration of these eight local agendas is precisely to generate ways of participation and create agendas containing consensual actions that are directed at the sustainability of these municipalities. These participatory practices where created by special consulting firms. Additionally there are many bodies of formal consultation for sectorial themes (for example; the Economic and Social, or the Natural Park Governing Assembly) on an insular and municipal scale which guarantees citizen participation in the decision making process. The “ad hoc” participation of is another extremely important via of participation and consultation. These are meetings or monothematic seminars in which the affected social groups are summoned. Through these informal reunions, we can learn and discuss the opinions of the main citizens collectives about concrete issues. In the last few years, there have been conducted a great number of these types of reunions, treating a very broad range of themes (The Insular Territorial Plan, Regulation of wind-generator parks, main projects that can be financed with an “EcoTax”, planning for the port of Ciutadella, etc.) or simply analyse the future of the Biosphere reserve (Socio-Environmental Observatory of Minorca, Observatorio SocioAmbiental de Menorca -OBSAM, 2000). The participation in the management of

the Reserve on behalf of the citizens has been stimulated through project calls for ideas to be developed by the various nongovernmental agencies (NGO´s). It is an attempt to take advantage of the many good ideas that the assorted island NGO´s have in mind to carry-out. For this purpose there has been created financial incentives to guarantee that no good idea will be left out without further development. In the last four years, approximately 60,000 € has been awarded annually for the execution of these projects. In this manner the following exemplary projects have been created, for example: • Restoration of the ethnologic heritage. • Create botanical walks. • Restore old rip-wrap trails. • Clean–up marine beds. • Design sustainable school buildings where this subject can also be taught. • Conduct education campaigns. F. Independent Monitoring programs: The Socio-Environmental Observatory of Minorca. Monitoring of the state of the Biosphere Reserve and the advances towards sustainability is also a requisite which is reflected in the Statutory Framework (Article 7.d) and the Seville strategy, and thus exist a group of indicators that evaluate the compliance of the objectives proposed in the Strategy. In our case, for the monitoring of the Reserve, a Socio-Environmental Observatory of Minorca was created (Observatorio SocioAmbiental de Menorca, OBSAM) within the cultural organization Minorcan Study Institute (Institut Menorquí d´Estudis, IME) and which is under the supervision of the Scientific Committee for the Biosphere Reserve (Comissió Cièntifica de la Reserva de Biosfera). This is a committee of scientific nature, which assesses and advises the Reserve management. Although the OBSAM does receive funds from the insular government, is of an independent character in the sense that it has the liberty to study and express its opinion about Reserve matters. The OBSAM has worked these last years in statistical data recollection, some of which have been already obtained by the observatory itself of a ample battery of social, economic

and environmental indicators, classified by their the classical scheme of pressure, state and reaction. However the principal function of the Observatory is the design of synthetic indicators of sustainability, that integrate the information in some few statistically significant values. The OBSAM has utilized participatory techniques for the selection of these sustainable indicators in the form that the citizens opinions were collected to determine which indicators where understood by society. These results can be consulted on the internet ant the web page: G. The Biosphere Reserve Law The strategic line of the last point is that there should be in tune with the objectives between the various afore-mentioned administrations within the concept of the Biosphere Reserve. However, throughout the history of the reserve, there have been many changes of the political composition of the various administrations so it is to expect that at any given moment, this syntony may not exist, in fact, I the case of Minorca this political syntony has never been produced between all of the complex levels of the island’s public administration. For this reason it is essential to have a framework document supported by a wide consensus between the political forces, above all about what the biosphere reserve should be. This document should be of obligatory compliance which lay out the rules of the game between all of the islands social players and with sufficient strength to stabilize them for the long term run. In our case, we consider that a Biosphere Reserve Law could fulfil this “constitutional” role that would define the Biosphere objectives, the manner of participation of the administration in the management of the reserve. This law would also cover the judicial void that that exists for biosphere reserves in our country. In the case of Minorca and at the moment of writing these lines (the beginning of 2004), there is a draft of a law with these characteristics.

Conclusions Protected areas have served as a fundamental instrument for the protection of the biodiversity. But in the last World Park Congress held

in Durban (2003) it was made clear that the spectacular increase in protected areas has not been sufficient to brake the deterioration of the biodiversity. Also in this congress, and in meetings held in the previous years they have made manifest the necessity to integrate the local communities and establish a network that would allow these areas allow connection amongst them. The biosphere reserves approach the problem of conservation through from a much wider and holistic than those that includes the protected areas as yet another instrument for their conservation and that they give a great importance to non-protected spaces. These peripheral zones may posses an enormous ecological value, as a matrix that would interconnect the territories as well as providing a great landscape and cultural heritage. These biosphere reserves open the possibility to change the scale in which the natural habitat is protected by applying different management strategies to each one of their areas. For this reason it is very difficult to classify them with the categories of the UICN, at least for those that could be considered as “Meta-protected areas”. This approximation implies a major complexity in management, which in addition to the well known techniques for biodiversity conservation, must be added territorial planning, environmental policies and rural development (Mata, 2002). The case is that we consider in this article is a good example of this situation, we have taken heed to find or implant solutions for a minimum of requisites that a reserve should have, and yet this model does not have to be the only possible solution. Some of the main characteristics of Minorca Biosphere Reserve are: • A natural park is another piece of the territory, it occupies a place a specific management needs to be made to conserve the biodiversity; but it is only one of the pieces that is integrated into a much broader territory were all of its parts have value and his value is due to the whole of these parts, not due to their individual richness. • The inlands’ political environment affects all insular administrative departments, that are supported by the criteria of the


Plan for Sustainable Development and the regulations that govern the territory as are stipulated in the Insular Territorial Plan. In addition, local policies must be based on the elaboration of Local Agendas 21. • The management structure is flexible and has an office of coordination and action, with an scientific assessment committee. • In the mechanisms for participation there are formal ones as well as “ad hoc” in a form that lets us consult the citizens their opinion over the decisions to be made about the territory. Financial tools have also been implemented so these same social organizations may participate in the management of the reserve.



• A monitoring organism ha been created that possesses sufficient autonomy to develop the indicators needed to evaluate the state of the reserve. • Legal support for the figure of the Biosphere reserve has been should be created to obtain a stable framework for the reserve in a context of the political changes that occur with the passing of time.


CONSELL INSULAR DE MENORCA. 1998. Plan de Desarrollo Sostenible. Estudio de Viabilidad. Ed. Consell Insular de Menorca. CONSELL INSULAR DE MENORCA. 2003. Menorca, un projecte territorial sostenible. Memoria del Plan

Territorial Insular. Ed. Consell Insular de Menorca. MATA, R. 2002. Una revisión histórica de la investigación de los espacios naturales protegidos de España. Del interés por las bellezas naturales, a las redes territoriales de espacios merecedores de protección. In La investigación y el seguimiento en kis espacios naturales protegidos del siglo XXI, Ed. Diputació de Barcelona, Monografies 34, p.15-26. OBSAM. 2000. Els futurs possibles de la reserva de biosfera de Menorca. Taller EASW Menorca. Ed. OBSAM. Maó. RITA, J. 2002. Minorca. A Mediterranean island declared a Biosphere Reserve. Plant Talk, vol. 29, p. 19-23. RITA, J.; BORRINI-FEYERABEND, G.; SYNGE, H. 2002. Island of the Biosphere. Policy Matters, vol. 10, p. 83-88. UNESCO. 1996. Reservas de Biosfera. La Estrategia de Sevilla & El Marco Estatutario de la Red Mundial. UNESCO, París. VIDAL, J.M.; RITA, J.; MARÍN, C. 1994. Menorca Reserva de la Biosfera. Ed. Consell Insular de Menorca. Sa Nostra. Institut Menorquí d’Estudis.

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Island Biodiversity: Sustaining Life in Vulnerable Ecosystems  

Editors: Cipriano Marín, Paola Deda, Jo Mulongoy. 2004. Published by Insula and SCBD (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Biodiversi...