WWF Factsheet: Ecological Status of Flores Timur MPA
Situated within the Coral Triangle’s Sunda Banda Seascape – one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, this 150,000 hectare MPA is home to hundreds of ecologically important fish and coral species and is an important area that contributes significantly to livelihoods and food security both locally and at the national level. Marine protected areas are a widely used management tool throughout the world, so it is necessary to understand how and when MPAs benefit biodiversity and fisheries. As a first step, to determine ecological baselines in this area, a team made up of WWF-Indonesia, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the local and national government staffs conducted surveys in March 2014, re-cording both fish sightings and the composition of benthic communities at 26 representative sites inside the Flores Timur MPA. The March expedition gave us a starting point to answer: what is the current ecological status of fish and benthic communities within and surrounding this MPA? At each site, the percent of hard coral, soft coral, and rubble were record-ed along multiple transects. Fish abundance and biomass were also recorded along multiple transects for species of key herbivore and carnivore fish families. The findings from this expedition will be used in future evaluations of the Flores Timur MPA in an effort to measure the impact on increasing fish abundance and biodiversity, and improving ecosystem resilience.