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Social, economic and political impacts on coral reef growth

Marlessy, C., Morin, S. and Steenbergen, D. (2012) Social, economic and political impacts on coral reef growth. In: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, 9 - 13 July, Cairns, Australia.


Sasisen' is a traditional marine management method applied by coastal communities throughout eastern Indonesia. Local and migrant fishermen commonly applied bomb fishing techniques using abandoned World War II explosives. In response to local concerns of continuing coral degradation, the Indonesia Locally-Managed Marine Area Network (ILMMA) started assisting coastal communities in developing local regulations on marine management by building on existing sasisen institutions. Through these collaborations, several communities have formulated villageTheme level regulations on marine resource management. With further political recognition these communities have started managing and protecting their immediate marine environment with legitimate authority. This study explores findings in two islands: Meos Mangguandi and Meos Auki, in the Padaido Islands, Biak, Papua, Indonesia. Fieldwork was conducted from March to April 2011 to collate findings from the last ten years and to show how the development of social, economic, and political capital in these communities has impacted live coral growth. This improvement is correlated with a significant increase in Meos Mangguandi live coral cover from 2000 to 2010, from 43% to 59%. However, in Meos Auki it decreased from 27% to 11% from 2000 to 2005, but increased to 24% by 2010. The results show that: (1) social, economic, and political conditions at the community level have significant impact on coral cover growth; and (2) the application of sasisen practices forms an effective tool to engage resource users in sustainable conservation and improvement in ecological health.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
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