Living Reefs, Under Fire
Author: C. Drew Harvell
Source: The New York Times
February 1, 2013
It was hardly a cheerful group that settled onto the flight from Ujung Padang (also known as Makassar, Sulawesi) to Biak, Papua, at 1:30 in the morning, nor that trooped off the plane 2 1/2 hours later. But we snapped awake when we reached the hotel at 5 a.m. to find grass-skirted, bare-chested and head-dressed men gathered in a lovely old Kipling-esque hotel, signaling that we had reached a remote place in the world.
Biak is an island to the far north east of Papua, exposed directly to the fetch of the Pacific. It is both a site for a collection of COREMAP village-based Marine Protected Areas and one of three possible sites in Indonesia for the new Capturing Coral Reef Ecosystem Services project.
We had arrived to interview stakeholders about how to enhance ecosystem services, like the health of mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs, and develop eco-based businesses. An eco-based business is one that contributes to sustaining ecosystems while simultaneously increasing their economic value.
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