Institutional Feasibility of Scaling Up to Ecosystem-Based Management: A case study in the Danajon Bank, Philippines
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Ecosystem based management (EBM) has been widely embraced as a guiding management framework without substantial critical evaluation of institutional utility. EBM is attractive because it promises to deliver a variety of services including holistic policy and laws, as well as scaled-up and streamlined management that is centered on ecosystem function at ecologically relevant scales (Christie el al 2009, Leslie and McLeod 2007, Pikitch et al 2004). These goals are all the more attractive in light of globalized concerns such as climate change and ocean acidification. EBM is offered as an approach that can reverse the severe, widespread declines in coastal and ocean systems (Leslie and McLeod 2007). The goal of this research is to present and evaluate recent attempts to scale up to EBM in the Danajon Bank, Philippines. Thirty-five interviews were conducted with local government officials and NGO staff to determine their willingness to participate in the Danajon Bank Project and to identify the preferred governance framework for a large scale marine protected area. Key themes that emerged are: 1. trade-offs exist for all scaled up management frameworks, 2. any efforts to scale up to EBM need to consider the roles of local government units for sustainability, and 3. political will is essential to scaling up management. The most effective institutional scale for implementing EBM in the Philippines will depend upon the consensus between municipal governments and will require developing new governance arrangements with leaders who recognize the need to manage marine resources at ecosystem scales (Eisma-Osorio 2009). Ultimately coastal management is a government service; EBM proponents must seriously consider the role of formal institutions before EBM can be recommended as a feasible management framework.
- Marine affairs