Mapping Ocean Wealth

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The Nature Conservancy and our partners are conducting a first-of-its-kind mapping of the ocean’s full value. Informed by science, communications and policy work, Mapping Ocean Wealth visualizes in quantitative terms all that the ocean does for us today, so that we can make smarter investments and decisions for the ocean of tomorrow.

Two of the five project areas for Mapping Ocean Wealth are in Asia Pacific, Indonesia and Micronesia. Both regions are facing rapid development constrained by a high level of dependence on fisheries and coral reef ecosystem services for livelihoods and economies. TNC is employing the scientific analysis of Mapping Ocean Wealth to help the governments of Indonesia and Micronesia make better decisions to ensure the long-term health of their sea collateral.

As the world’s fourth most populous nation, Indonesia highly depends on protein from the ocean to feed its people. It also has a rapidly growing economy fueled in part by abundant fishing. As this industry grows, it increasingly threatens Indonesia’s rich marine resources by the potential overlap between areas of high conservation importance and those targeted by extractive activities.

In the Lesser Sunda Ecoregion of Indonesia, TNC will work with partners to assess the numerous values of coral reefs and the offshore water for tourism and fisheries, which are the economic backbone not just for the Lesser Sunda region but for Indonesia as a whole. We will also measure how the presence of coral reefs contributes towards coastal protection in this region. We expect that the result of this work will map important areas that will benefit from the presence of healthy and functioning natural infrastructures; inform governments, investors, and other stakeholders of the values of protecting them; and promote enabling policies and regulations to ensure their long-term survival.

Similarly, in the rapidly developing but vulnerable island of Pohnpei, of the Federated States of Micronesia, TNC will provide residents and decision-makers with information that will help them understand fisheries productivity and their coral reef assets—as they continue to weigh whether to invest a portion of their public budget to better protect those corals and counterbalance over-fishing and poorly managed agricultural runoff.

The Micronesia project will also be developing spatial data layers and models for coral reef fisheries to inform more sustainable approaches to fishery management. In addition, a pilot project entails mapping ecosystem services for fisheries and tourism in Pohnpei for use in the analysis of their Protected Areas Network (PAN) design.

With all of the Mapping Ocean Wealth projects, The Nature Conservancy is working to reconnect the value of the ocean’s natural systems to our investment decisions—creating better choices, increasing revenue and preserving natural places. As the world continues to develop at an unprecedented pace, there are opportunities to catalyze better decisions and investment choices.

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