The growing demand for natural resources and increasing impacts of climate change are threatening ecosystems worldwide. To protect the environment from these threats, an integrated approach is required.
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an integrated approach to manage and maintain healthy, productive and resilient ecosystems and the communities that are dependent on. It addresses interactions between humans and the environment.
The development of an EBM plan takes considerable effort and commitment by all, including all members of the community, as well as government and private sector stakeholders.
In late 2018, the traditional resources owners in Bua came together to develop an EBM plan for their district with the support of the Bua Provincial Office and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). There are 7 villages in the district - Bua, Dalomo, Tiliva, Koroinasolo, Nawailevu, Waitabu and Tacilevu.
In August, a team from the WCS led by Community Engagement Coordinator, Akanisi Caginitoba conducted a workshop at Dalomo Village to discuss the threats, strategies and actions the community wanted to address in their EBM plan. Developing an EBM plan requires clear management rules and actions, and collective efforts to promote compliance, including awareness, monitoring, surveillance and enforcement.
Building on their extensive and rich traditional and cultural knowledge of their land and sea, the plan hopes to set a pathway to the sustainable use of natural resources that will ensure long-term benefits for generations to come.
The district has several protected reef areas and has proposed a number of freshwater protected areas which will be reflected in the EBM. In the two-day workshop, the district men, women and youth participated actively in mapping their resources and resource use activities. As symbolic a tree planting exercise was also held at the Bua District School to encourage children to care for their environment.
An excursion was also done to two historically known to be nesting sites for turtles. WCS engaged the services of Oliva, a “Dau Ni Vonu” (Turtle Rangers) from the island of Tavea in the neighbouring district of Lekutu to assess the potential turtle nesting site. Oliva was trained under the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) turtle monitoring project and demonstrates the value of investing in communities to build local capacity.
Bua and Dama districts are the remaining two in Bua Province to have their EBM plans finalized and launched. These management plans once completed, will sit under a larger integrated coastal management plan for Bua Province.