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The Pohnpei Community Natural Resource Management Program
Micronesia is an island area in the western Pacific Ocean. Micronesia is a collective name for „Island sea“of over 2000 tropical islands and atolls which are scattered on over 7 millions km ² of the western pacific ocean. Almost all islands lie north of the equator geographically. The distance from one end of Micronesia to the other is nearly 4,000 kilometers.
Pohnpei is the main island of the island region of Micronesia. The coast consists mainly of mangrove forests, which are connected to grassy plains. The highlands are forested. The big problem in Pohnpei, the forest is always smaller. The intact native forest has been reduced from 15,008 ha (42% of the island's land area) to 5,169 ha (15%) during a 20 year period between 1975 and 1995.
As early as 1983, it became evident that the island interior was being rapidly deforested. The Pohnpei State Division of Forestry requested assistance from the USDA Forest Service. The two agencies closely cooperated to facilitate the passage of "The Pohnpei Watershed Forest Reserve and Mangrove Protection Act of 1987". The Act designated some 5100 ha (13,000 acres) of the central upland forest area and 5525 ha (15,000 acres) of coastal mangrove forests of Pohnpei Island as a protected area, to be managed and enforced by the Pohnpei Department of Resource Management and Development. There is two major changes were unanimously insisted upon by the local communities in over 200 meetings: 1. Paramount and village chiefs (Soumas) need to be partners in the management process and 2. Environmentally sustainable management must be extended beyond the watershed reserve to encompass the entire island, from the mountains to the reefs.
Over the last two years, the island's government and traditional leaders have begun implementation of the five year Watershed Management Strategy, a schematic plan pitched to Pohnpeians outside the government who are now playing a major role in planning and development. Together, government and community leaders have been revisiting each island community and carrying out a participatory community natural resource planning program.
If the Government and people working together can our own country to be saved.