Think Ridge to Reef

What happens on land does not stay on land. Agriculture, logging, and infrastructure development alter terrestrial habitats, often leading to increased run-off of sediments and pollutants that degrade marine habitats. Earth’s changing climate exacerbates these threats and poses additional problems, including rising sea levels, rising sea surface temperatures, and acidification. Transportation infrastructure also allows increased access via new airports, roads, and bridges, which can lead to overuse and over-harvesting. Left unchecked, these pressures pose perpetual threats to marine systems, and must be addressed in marine conservation planning and management. 

Until the Kaahumanu Highway came in the 70s, we were tremendously isolated. Then came the highway and the resort development and that’s when the degradation of resources began. Braddahs and sistahs coming from east Hawaiʻi and Ka‘ū and north Hilo and Hāmākua, in their great big trucks with 48 quart coolers on the back.
— Hannah Springer, Hawaiʻi Island

Marine managed areas (MMAs) are powerful and widely accepted methods for protecting and restoring valuable marine resources in tropical marine ecosystems. But MMAs are not enough. The leaders stressed that marine conservation must also tackle complex land use issues and highly recommended ridge-to-reef management to reduce critical land-based threats that are not addressed with MMAs alone. In many places, traditional management systems—such as Hawaiʻi’s ahupuaʻa system—recognize this critical land-sea linkage. Effective strategies to address ridge-to-reef management include policies and practices that minimize sedimentation, land-based pollution, nutrification, shoreline hardening, and other impacts on coastal systems.

You can protect all the marine areas you like, but if logging results in the loss of the lagoon nursery habitat, it won’t have made one iota of difference. In 20 years, you’d still have no fish.
— Rick Hamilton, Melanesia

  Agree on Goals and Roles

Agree on Goals and Roles

  Formalize Partnership Agreements

Formalize Partnership Agreements

  Build a Diverse Team

Build a Diverse Team

  Plan Collaboratively

Plan Collaboratively

  Think Ridge to Reef

Think Ridge to Reef

  Engage Local Allies and Opponents

Engage Local Allies and Opponents