Principles for integrated island management in the tropical Pacific
Surrey Beatty & Sons
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Natural Sciences
We propose a new approach for island-wide planning and implementation of ecosystem management in the Pacific, recognizing a lack of replicability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness in other approaches. 'Integrated island management' (IIM) operates through coordinated networks of institutions and communities focused on sustainable and adaptive management of natural resources. IIM enables simultaneous and cost-effective achievement of ecosystem-based management, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction while conserving biodiversity, maintaining ecosystem services and securing human health and well-being. We present ten guiding principles for IIM, and then use these to evaluate 36 case studies from the Pacific islands. Most case studies were pilot or demonstration projects with little evidence of planning to ensure long-term financial and human capacity needs were sustained, beyond the life of the projects, or could be replicated at significant scales. Management outcomes in the Pacific will be enhanced by: (1) building on foundations of customary management practice and social networks; (2) working holistically across relevant ecological and governance scales, through coordinated but decentralized and nested institutions; (3) empowering local communities to participate in integrated planning and implementation; and (4) embedding IIM practice into national systems for long-term sustainability and replication. These also ultimately depend on the context and externalities, beyond the control of practitioners. Cost-effectiveness and appropriateness are also critical for successful IIM in the Pacific islands but ultimately there is little alternative for effective biodiversity conservation.