For centuries, Pohnpeians used traditional complex systems to protect their natural resources. These strict rules governed all clans’ behavior and ensured that Pohnpei's rich coral reefs, mangroves, and forests provided food and economic livelihood to sustain themselves and future generations. Traditional resource management systems and stewardship systems have been diluted by modern approaches to regulate resource use and management. Modern approaches have also undermined the authority of indigenous communities to control their resources. Consequently, many traditional mangrove ecosystems have been lost and destroyed due to unsustainable harvesting and development practices and notable climate change impacts. On November 17th, traditional leaders made themselves heard!
In March 2019, OneReef, in collaboration with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, trained three teams of local islanders in cutting edge imaging technology used by scientists to monitor reef health over time. In June and October (2020), the teams from Pohnpei and Helen Reef independently imaged multiple sites in their area, putting their training into action! (The team from Ngarchelong, a Northern state of Palau, independently imaged six sites in March 2020).
We are deeply grateful for the community stewards who are pivotal to our work. One such person is Clifford “Poch” Osima; a Palauan Traditional Steward engaged in modern-day surveillance, enforcement, and reef health monitoring activities as a Ngarchelong State Ranger. He has been vital in helping us deploy cutting-edge technologies to reduce poaching and to monitor reef health. Read more!