Prof. Nicole Crane, who is a biologist at Cabrillo College and an Oceanic Society Senior Conservation Scientist, is the speaker at the next Café Scientifique on March 11 from 6:00 to 7:30 pn. Her topic is “Forgotten Reefs, Forgotten People: How Conservation in Micronesia May Be Key to Sustainable Oceans.”
The talk will focus on a unique approach to conservation and management in the Ulithi Atoll in the remote outer islands of Micronesia. As part of a diverse team of marine biologists, Crane works with communities to activate them to implement needed changes by sharing the ecological knowledge the team is acquiring from the reefs, and by listening to what the communities have to say about their reef resources, the history of declines, and traditional management practices. The research team is helping to revive traditional management and help people understand the nature of the declines and what are some likely causative factors.
This is a story of empowering communities to sustainably manage their reef ecosystems. These communities autonomously govern more than 100,000 square miles of the western Pacific Ocean in one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth — offering an unprecedented conservation opportunity. The communities have successfully managed their ocean resources for millennia, often with larger human populations than exist today. What happened?
The story starts with listening to the communities’ stories first. It is a journey through a history of why fisheries declined, why management was forgotten, and how the communities themselves are reviving them. Starting with fishing practices, the team reaches into the very fabric that holds (and brings) these communities together and from which their cultural foundations were built. They are talking, planning, and implementing. Chiefs that have long been silent are asking their people and their councils to take action to once again manage a resource that is central to their culture, their livelihoods, and their very existence. And it is working.
The talk is free and open to the public. It will take place at the International Building in SRI in Menlo Park.