Ecosystem Based Management (EBM)

EBM Workshop
© WWF South Pacific
EBM is about connectivity. Whether working on land, rivers or sea, what we do and how we do it can affect all the ecosystems around us. Our actions impact upon places far and wide - for example, what we put into our rivers ends up in our sea and then onto your plates - a healthy land-use practice helps protect our livelihoods and food security. 

What is Ecosystem-Based Management?

  • Emphasises connectivity within and between systems, such as between land and sea;
  • Focuses on the consequences of human actions within ecosystems
  • Encourages the protection and restoration of ecosystem structure, function and key processes
  • Integrates biological, socioeconomic and governance perspectives

EBM Case Study

Location: Macuata Province, Vanua Levu
Population: 10,000
Land Area: 2,004km2
Sea Area: 1,349km2

EBM Goal: Preservation of the functional integrity of Macuata’s ecosystems, from the ridge to the reef, through community-based management
Protected Areas: 25 community declared marine reserves (175km2), 2 forest reserves (1.7km2)
Management Institution: Qoliqoli Cokovata Management Committee
EBM Lead: WWF South Pacific Programme (WWF SPPO)
EBM Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society, Wetlands International, FLMMA, RARE

The Macuata Province, a rural province of Vanua Levu, is fringed by the Great Sea Reef, an internationally significant reef system. At the invitation of the province’s chief, EBM partner organisations have been working with community members and the provincial administration since 2005 to promote sustainable management of marine and land resources in the area.

Community-based management has led to the adoption of a range of management measures, including fishing gear restrictions, restrictions on fishing methods, protection of species and the establishment of a network of marine and terrestrial protected areas.

The network of protected areas was originally identified based on local ecological knowledge. In 2008, WWF SPPO facilitated a community-based management planning process that resulted in a significant expansion and reconfiguration of the protected area network.

The protected area, designated by the local communities, now includes 25 marine and coastal reserves and 2 forest reserves.  The protected area system covers a range of ecosystem types and ecological features (e.g. spawning aggregation sites, turtle nesting beaches, mangroves, riparian corridors), over a total area of more than 175km2 .

Local fishermen have reported significant improvements since the establishment of the marine reserves - endangered Humphead wrasse are returning to areas where they have not been seen for some years, and larger fish of other species are being observed closer to shore.