Comparative Study of Community-based Sea Turtle Management in Palau: Key Factors for Successful Implementation

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



"This article investigates social, political and cultural aspects of sea turtle management led by the Tobian community at Helen Reef in the Republic of Palau. We use participant observation, unstructured inter-views and examination of community-based natural resource management literature to compare and con-trast the Tobian community with several other communities in Palau in order to identify some of the underlying factors that we believe contributed to the successful implementation of the Tobian commu-nity-based programme. These factors include: robust structure of local and extra-local partnerships; re-mote location of the resource and small scale of the managing community; realised community benefits in terms of jobs and improved capacity to monitor and manage natural resources; adaptive capacity and autonomy in decision-making; and strong connections to traditional natural resource management sys-tems. Sea turtle conservation and management is a large scale issue; preventing further decline of endan-gered sea turtles will require management at multiple scales. For the Tobian community, success may be attributable to several key factors that come together to produce a decentralised community-based pro-gramme that operates with an adaptive, collaborative and bottom-up structure. This model may be appli-cable to comparable communities; it is, however, important to recognise that diverse societies will have a variety of formulas for success."



CBRM, sea turtles, atolls, adaptive systems, conservation, resource management