Protected areas are used in many different ways in Indonesia, and for a range of purposes. In inland waters, spatially managed areas include large national parks primarily aimed at nature conservation, and 'harvest reserves' intended to boost fish stocks to improve fishing. Some harvest reserves are established and managed by government departments, while others are implemented by fishing communities. Some are closed all year, while others allow some types of fishing in some seasons - floodplain river fish stocks must be particularly protected over the dry season, to ensure that enough brood fish survive to spawn at the start of the next flood. The benefits of these different types of reserves (either to fish stocks or to village fishers) are not well known, but new reserves are still currently being actively promoted by Indonesian agencies. A DFID-funded research project is currently investigating appropriate selection criteria and co-management guidelines for harvest reserves in Indonesian floodplain rivers. This paper describes the alternative ways in which reserve benefits may be investigated to ensure their most effective use. Studies of 'edge-effects' around reserves and 'with-without' comparisons between reserved and non-reserved areas are difficult in river systems due to the strong spatial variations in habitat. 'Before-after' studies following the implementation of new reserves are also difficult to interpret due to the strong environmental variations in flood strengths and resource productivity between years. The benefits of harvest reserves may be best detected by studies which compare indices of benefits before and after the reserve is introduced relative to the changes in the same years in nearby non-reserved control sites, assumed purely due to the environment. This paper shows how fishing communities and fisheries departments (or other regional management agencies) may jointly determine the most effective local approaches for harvest reserve by an 'adaptive co-management' approach.
Fisheries Management Science Programme, Department for International Development, London, UK, 9 pp.