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The Protected Area of Managed Natural Resources of the Three Bays - Management Plan 2017 - 2027 (Haiti)
Abstract and Figures
The Protected Area of Managed Natural Resources of the Three Bays (Aire Protégée de Ressources Naturelles Gérées des Trois Baies) was created by Presidential Decree on March 21, 2014 as Haiti’s largest marine protected area. Encompassing an area of 75,406 hectares, the PA3B protects a unique marine complex of fringing and barrier coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, deep offshore waters, and adjoining coastal plains known for their diverse aquatic and brackish water habitats, and dry tropical forests. The area has witnessed centuries of human activity dating from preColumbian times and the occupation of indigenous Taino people, to the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the sequence of world-altering events through Spanish and French colonization and the Haitian Revolution. These many centuries of human occupation have created a seascape and landscape that are highly altered from their natural state, and as required by the Presidential Decree, the management of the marine and terrestrial environments of PA3B will focus on the maintenance and restoration of their biodiversity and ecological integrity while responding to the needs of the communities within the protected area’s borders. Therein lies the central challenge of this management plan – to guide the transition from a highly and unsustainably utilized environment, with its attendant poverty and poor living conditions, to a protected area characterized by sound environmental management, economic viability, and social balance. In its description of the regional, national, and international context for PA3B, this plan emphasizes the need for the protected area to ‘find its place’ among a host of pre-existing conditions, not the least of which are the presence of several communities and a range of economic activities that have existed for long periods of time. These conditions create challenges with respect to uncertainty about ongoing resource use, land ownership and boundary delineation, and an appropriate form of governance. In addition to the PA3B’s regional and national significance, the area’s international importance is recognized as is its potential to become a natural and cultural resource of global renown through possible designation as a national park and/or a World Heritage Site. This plan progresses through a description of the physical environment and biological resources of PA3B, both marine and terrestrial, noting, in particular, the special and unique features and those of conservation concern that will require directed management attention over the coming years and decades. The extensive and often unrecognized cultural resources of PA3B are also described with the view of increasing their profile in the management framework for PA3B and in accordance with their international caliber and significance. The management plan directly addresses all of the threats and issues that had previously been identified through a comprehensive analysis of conditions that may constrain or compromise PA3B’s management into the future. As an overarching concern, the plan addresses the need to prepare for what now appears to be the inevitable impacts of climate change. Within that context, a number of threats and issues are described and ‘key findings’ identified that, in turn, form the basis of both the Vision and the Zoning Plan, and drive the development of nine management programs and their goals, objectives, and strategic actions. A long-term Vision is presented for PA3B that is a reflection of both the Decree and the management of PA3B as an IUCN Category VI protected area. Accordingly, PA3B will provide for a range of levels of protection and conservation as well as sustainable human uses and activities that are compatible with the conservation of nature. The Vision is: The ecologically rich and fragile marine, coastal, and terrestrial resources in the PA3B, most notably the complex of coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, aquatic habitats and tropical dry forests, with their associated archaeological and historic features, are assured their long-term protection and the maintenance of their biological diversity in perpetuity, while, in this spirit, providing for the sustainable use of select resources in support of local communities. The plan presents a Zoning System for the management of PA3B that includes five zones. The resulting zoning plan seeks a balance between the conservation and protection of natural resources and their continued sustainable use and includes: • Regeneration Zones • Conservation Zones • Sustainable Use Zones • Community Management Zones • Cultural Conservation Zones The Regeneration and the Conservation zones, will apply equally in both the marine and terrestrial environments. The other three zones, Sustainable Use, Community Management and Cultural Conservation, are solely terrestrial. Much of the terrestrial Restoration Zone is dedicated to the protection of the coastal fringe adjacent to fragile marine environments and to the recovery of the Tropical Dry Forest. In the marine environment, the Restoration Zone includes the mangrove forests, most seagrass beds and a significant portion of the nearshore marine waters and coral reefs. A relatively small portion of the offshore waters will also be placed in the Restoration Zone. The remaining portions of the marine waters within PA3B are included in the Conservation Zone where limited fishing can continue to occur. The Sustainable Use Zone is restricted to the agricultural lands and the salt pans along the coast to provide for their continued use but with limits on their expansion and the scope of activities and management practices to ensure sustainability. The Community Development Zone recognizes those communities within PA3B’s boundaries and the need for their ongoing management, especially given the possible impacts of climate change and sea level rise. The Cultural Conservation Zone contains significant cultural resources and are identified as ‘spot zones’ to recognize specific features, such as the fortifications at Fort Liberté, pre-Columbian archaeological sites or shipwreck sites on the coral reef. The plan presents a total of nine management programs with approximately 120 specific actions to be implemented, to the extent possible, over the life of the plan. The nine management programs include: 1. Biodiversity Conservation 2. Environmental Education and Awareness 3. Sustainable Resource Use 4. Cultural Resource Conservation 5. Ecotourism 6. Community Management 7. Governance, Co-management and Enforcement 8. Infrastructure 9. Monitoring Through these programs, the plan presents an assembly of management actions necessary to realize the ultimate goal of achieving the recovery and restoration of the PA3B’s ecosystems, as well as the many ancillary goals of effectively recognizing its cultural resources, creating the means for a cooperative management regime with stakeholders and communities, promoting ecotourism and others. The plan has a time horizon of ten years (2017-2027) with an interim five-year review, but it is recognized that the successful implementation of a number of programs and actions will extend well into the future. The plan will be undertaken in phases based on continued consultations with communities and stakeholders and the availability of human, technical and financial resources. An implementation plan for Phase I (2017-2022) is provided that targets those actions that should be initiated immediately and over the first five years at an estimated cost of approximately US$12.5 million.
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