Federated States of Micronesia
Micronesia, western Pacific Ocean
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is comprised of 4 states (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae) and includes 607 islands spread over 1 million square miles of the western Pacific Ocean. The islands of the FSM contain over 1000 plant species, at least 200 that are endemic. Its coral reefs, estimated at 14,517 km2 are home to nearly 1000 species of fish and over 350 hard species of coral. The majority of people living on these small islands depend on natural resources for their food, livelihoods, and traditional cultures. These resources are threatened by pressure from rapid population growth, overharvest, habitat destruction, changing cultural practices, invasive species and climate change. Over the last two decades, this area has experienced at least two highly destructive typhoons (i.e., 1990 in Pohnpei and 2004 in Chuuk and Yap), as well as some bleaching, with limited mortality (e.g., 1998 20% bleaching in Yap and 2004 minor bleaching in Kosrae and Pohnpei).
The FSM’s Environment Sector Strategy, developed at the 1999 FSM Economic Summit and updated and improved for inclusion in the nation’s on-going negotiations with the United States for a second round of funding under the Compact of Free Association (A String of Pearls: Preserving the Federated States of Micronesia’s Globally Important Natural Heritage), calls for the establishment of a network of effective community-managed, ecologically representative, and socially beneficial marine and forest protected areas in the nation to safeguard the country’s precious natural heritage. In 2003, the FSM completed a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), with the goal of protecting and sustainably managing a full representation of the country’s marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems. In 2003, the government of the FSM, the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), university scientists, and local experts also drafted “A blueprint for conserving the biodiversity of the Federated States of Micronesia” (the FSM blueprint) in order to begin to address this goal. A total number of 130 areas of biodiversity significance (ABS), including 86 coastal and marine sites comprising 260,948 hectares (over 1,007 square miles), were identified nation-wide.
Given the large-scale and complexity of the country, resilience has been introduced at various points, depending on the state or community. For example, Pohnpei has several MPAs, established by state law in 1999 and 2001. In 2005, the Conservation Society of Pohnpei led a Rapid Ecological Assessment to assess the existing MPAs and identify potential new sites, based on habitat types and threat status. In 2011, two major conservation bills were signed into law in Pohnpei. The first bill amended the Sanctuary and wildlife act adding four protected sites to become part of the Pohnpei protected areas network. The sites are Nan Wap reef, Senpehn mangrove reserve, Enipein mangrove reserve, and Pakin island reefs, and collectively the four sites amounts to over 1500 hectares of reefs and mangroves to the Pohnpei network. This law significantly increases the biodiversity conservation coverage in Pohnpei.
The Federated States of Micronesia is a complex country, comprised of 4 largely autonomous states and numerous islands, extending across a vast expanse of ocean. As such, successful efforts to design and establish a nation-wide protected areas network will take time, and must be built from the bottom up, beginning with communities, local governments, and state governments. To begin to address these challenges, a core team led by the FSM PAN coordinator, comprised of representatives from the FSM government, the Micronesia Conservation Trust, and TNC, has been working with State government and local conservation NGOs to raise awareness and build support for protected areas. In the past 3 years, members of the core team have made numerous state visits to give presentations, facilitate workshops, and meet informally with local communities, elected leaders, and other key stakeholders.
Currently the FSM core team is incorporating the principles of resilience into guidance for state partners as they develop state protected areas networks and work toward achieving the goals of the Micronesia Challenge (MC), an ambitious initiative by the jurisdictions of Micronesia to effectively conserve at least 30% of their nearshore marine resources and 20% of their terrestrial resources by 2020. With the help of the core team, the states are also working toward a standardized monitoring program, to measure some key regional indicators, to assess broad trends in the country, and track progress toward achieving the goals of the MC. Also as part of the MC, a communications campaign is being developed by a communications working group, which will incorporate the principles of resilience (currently in draft form, but can be shared when finalized).
In order to assist the FSM jurisdiction to determine their progress toward meeting the MC goals, TNC has conducted a Gap assessment of all four FSM States (i.e, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae). Two workshop were held: one in October 2008 and in April 2009 to conduct a Gap Analysis for each state in FSM. The process involved consultation with relevant stakeholders (multi government agencies, local NGO’s and community representatives) in each of the four states to collect relevant data to be able to conduct the analysis. The assessment has been built in three sequential Phases.
- Phase 1 involved determining the coverage of current protected areas, and was completed in December 2009. The results of Phase 1 revealed the current coverage at: Marine 6.4% and Terrestrial 14.6%.
- Phases 2 analyses were completed in December 2009 to determine what additional conservation features were captured by Areas of Biological Significance (ABS) as suggested in FSM Blueprint. The ABS areas were based largely on expert opinion and identified priority areas to implement conservation actions.
- Phase 3 completed the Gap Assessment by using the systematic conservation planning tool called Marxan. Using conservation goals set by each state we can use Marxan and the compiled data from phase 1 and 2 to provide Data Driven set of priority conservation areas. The areas identified from Phase 3 will provide guidance for states to reach their goals, as well as the overall MC goals. The maps of each state in FSM, shown below, were produced in Phase 3 (download pdf of all maps, 5,422k)
- It is important to be able to support local organizations working with communities when designing and establishing protected areas, and offering assistance in identifying potential alternative livelihoods, as they are often the resource owners or those who have the greatest stake in the resources (e.g., providing facilitation/tools for site-based planning workshops, identifying sources of funding and assisting with proposal review, enabling site exchanges between local partners to share experiences and lessons learned, etc.).
- It has been very helpful to establish a regional support team comprised of key organizations, agencies, and institutions, and to assist the jurisdictions, including the FSM, in their efforts to achieve the goals of the Micronesia Challenge.
- The Micronesians in Island Conservation Network (MIC) has been a successful means of assisting local partners to strengthen their organizations and agencies by providing opportunities for organizational effectiveness assessments, strategic planning, and developing measures of success.
- Having supportive language in the national priority document/guidelines made it easier to integrate resilience principles into management and planning (i.e., aligning the blueprint with the national effort).
- One of the most effective ways to incorporate resilience has been through planning at both the priority-setting and site-based levels.
- David and Lucile Packard Foundation
- DOI Office of Insular Affairs
- NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
- TNC Early Action Grants
Alissa R. Takesy
Protected Areas Network Coordinator
FSM Department of Resources and Development
Division of Resource Management & Development
P.O. Box PS-12, Palikir
Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel: (691) 320-5133/2646/s620
Fax: (691) 320-5854
Cell: (691) 920-6373
Primary Contact: Trina Leberer, Marine Conservation Coordinator
The Nature Conservancy
P.O. Box 5411
Hagatna, Guam 96932
|Chuuk Conservation Society
Chuuk State Government
College of Micronesia
Communities and Municipal Governments in Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap
Conservation Society of Pohnpei
Government of the Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization
Kosrae State Government
Locally Managed Marine Area Network
Micronesia Conservation Trust
Pacific Island MPA Community
Palau International Coral Reef Center
Pohnpei State Government
The Nature Conservancy
U.S. Department of the Interior (Office of Insular Affairs, US Fish and Wildlife Service)
U.S. Forest Service
University of Guam
Yap Community Action Program
Yap State Government
- FSM National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan
- A Blueprint for Conserving the Biodiversity of the Federated States of Micronesia (download pdf, 2,364k)
- Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Rapid Ecological Assessment reports
- The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems in the Federated States of Micronesia (in The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005)