Island ecosystems present unique challenges for conservation due to their restricted geography and isolation as well as high vulnerability to threats such as climate change. At the same time, island peoples must confront pressures from rapid economic transformations, globalization, and climate change. Without the geographic buffers that a continent can provide, islands face critical conservation decisions now that foreshadow decisions all peoples, societies and nations will increasingly face. These decisions directly impact both biological and cultural diversity. Home to over 600 million people, islands are at the forefront of how humans will take action to define our shared future. These case studies relate first-hand experiences of how island systems have resisted or recovered from major disturbances. Understanding how island systems have faced and resisted or recovered from major disturbances can help managers and scientists assess what information they need to better inform planning and policy for resilience in the future.
The case studies presented here were inspired by the 2013 Milstein Science Symposium Understanding Ecological and Social Resilience in Island Systems: Informing Policy and Sharing Lessons for Management. Many symposium attendees expressed interest in hearing more about places that face challenges similar to their own. The Policy Working Group at the symposium felt that case studies on socio-ecological resilience collected and distilled to highlight success stories will bring community issues to life in a way that national policy representatives can use to guide recommendations on the global stage.
Read the introduction to the Resilience Sourcebook:
By relying on traditional food sources and norms of reciprocity, local communities on the island of Simbo exhibited social-ecological resilience following a devastating tsunami in 2007. Simbo, Solomon Islands.
By Matthew Lauer, Simon Albert, and Shankar Aswani
A coral bleaching event and proposed coastal development provided the impetus to create a community-supported marine protected area. Speyside, Trinidad and Tobago.
By Jahson Alemu and Hyacinth Armstrong
Conservation NGOs united in the face of a common enemy, the invasive lionfish, and have consequently been able to better coordinate conservation efforts. Bay Islands, Honduras.
By Ian Drysdale, Jenny Myton, and Giacomo Palavicini
Intensifying land clearing caused sediment plumes that threaten coral reefs. Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.
Contributions by Kevin Rhodes
Community-based marine protected areas revitalize traditional management institutions and fisheries stocks. New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.
By John Aini and Paige West