Designing a resilient network of marine protected areas in the Coral Triangle

Rachel M. Gregg
Posted on: 2/26/2017 - Updated on: 3/02/2020

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Rachel Gregg

Project Summary

The Raja Ampat Islands of Indonesia are located within the Coral Triangle, the region of the world with the highest reef biodiversity. This area is estimated to contain over 75% of the world’s known coral species and over 1,400 fish species. The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, and the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia are collaborating to create and sustain a resilient, ecologically connected network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in partnership with local governments, communities, and others to sustain critical coral reef habitat and species and provide food security for local coastal communities. Strategies being employed include incorporating resilience principles and climate change impacts into zoning processes, and identifying areas of resilience to climate change and disturbance. This effort has been piloted at two sites: Kofiau and Boo Islands MPA and Southeast Misool MPA.

The project leads partnered with the University of Queensland to develop decision support tools to analyze natural features, resource use patterns, and relevant threats to inform zoning. These tools helped the project leads explore the spatial characteristics of marine uses in both areas (e.g., artisanal fishing locations key to subsistence and livelihoods). In addition, project partners assessed reef resilience at the Kofiau and Misool sites by examining coral bleaching, disease, recruitment, and community structure and composition. Individual sites with high resilience rankings were prioritized for inclusion in no-take zones, while sites with lower resilience scores and moderate to high adaptive capacity were also identified. This information was integrated into the zoning plans for Kofiau and Misool, which also took into account local concerns and socioeconomic criteria. Since the zoning plans were adopted in 2011-2012, there has been a noted decline in destructive fishing practices and an increase in fish biomass in both sites.


Gregg, R.M. 2017. Designing a resilient network of marine protected areas in the Coral Triangle. Summary of a project of The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, and the World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated February 2017)

Affiliated Organizations

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

Conservation International (CI) works to ensure a healthy and productive planet for us all.

Yet economic and infrastructure development, which are so necessary for human well-being, can also have serious impacts on nature. That is why CI is working at every level – from remote villages to the offices of presidents and premiers – to help move whole societies toward a smarter development path.

For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.


Habitat/Biome Type