The Mismatch Between Objectives and Outcomes in Coral Reef Restoration Programs in Indonesia: A Case Study in the Spermonde Archipelago of Indonesia

Authors: Jessica Vandenberg*, University of Rhode Island
Topics: Marine and Coastal Resources, Cultural and Political Ecology, Development
Keywords: conservation, development, food security, Indonesia, coral reefs, fisheries
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Currently, biodiversity loss and food insecurity are major challenges in the archipelagic nation of Indonesia. Coral reef restoration is increasingly being presented as a single conservation and management solution to addressing these challenges across coastal and marine environments. Reef restoration practitioners present restoration initiatives as a mechanism that will improve coral reef ecosystems, in turn increasing local marine biodiversity and fisheries stock. This simplistic model however does not take into account the vast web of social challenges that may impede expected outcomes from being reached, especially when considering the challenge of food insecurity. Food insecurity is a complex problem. It is rooted in a multitude of variables across historical, social, political, economical and ecological dimensions. Providing a resource without accounting for the potential social factors that may prevent local communities from accessing the resource is problematic and may not lead to real longterm solutions. Through a mixed-methods approach, informed by both quantitative and qualitative data, this study investigates a discrete coral reef restoration program undergone in the Spermonde archipelago and describes: 1) the social barriers to access to the food security benefits that such programs intend to provide; and 2) the unintended consequences that are created by the intervention itself that, in this case, led to further food insecurity. This article aims to highlight the importance of understanding and integrating the socio-cultural dimensions and history of local communities in management practices, and how these factors hold agency over the success or failure of conservation development initiatives.

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