Komodo National Park

Country
Indonesia
Inscribed in
1991
Criteria
(vii)
(x)
The conservation outlook for this site has been assessed as "significant concern" in the latest assessment cycle. Explore the Conservation Outlook Assessment for the site below. You have the option to access the summary, or the detailed assessment.
These volcanic islands are inhabited by a population of around 5,700 giant lizards, whose appearance and aggressive behaviour have led to them being called 'Komodo dragons'. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution. The rugged hillsides of dry savannah and pockets of thorny green vegetation contrast starkly with the brilliant white sandy beaches and the blue waters surging over coral. © UNESCO

Summary

2020 Conservation Outlook

Finalised on
02 Dec 2020
Significant concern
Komodo National Park is home to a charismatic large reptile whose wild island habitats are surrounded by oceans rich in coral, cetaceans and pelagic fish. The vividly beautiful landscapes and seascapes of the property remain well-preserved and largely intact. However, impacts have been reported on the physical state and behaviour of Komodo dragons subjected to a high incidence of visitation. The property's marine component already faces a multitude of threats that include over-exploitation, illegal and destructive fishing practices, and infestation by a coral-killing alien species. In the medium term, Komodo also faces a large increase in visitor numbers, the pressures of an expanding local and regional population, and climate change. Altered fire regimes could damage the savannah and forest habitats of the Komodo dragon; warmer waters could bring an increase in coral bleaching; more energetic storm events combined with sea-level rise could wreak damage on reef systems. The property has the foundations of a good management system but this could be overwhelmed by threats exacerbated by unmanaged high numbers of visitors and the infrastructure they demand, as well as damaging phenomena caused by climate change. Additional resources and updated 'state of conservation' reporting are urgently required.

Current state and trend of VALUES

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The exceptional landscapes and seascapes found within the property and their beauty remain well-preserved and largely intact. However, this positive situation masks some disturbing trends. The increasing regional population inevitably brings inappropriate, unsustainable and sometimes illegal exploitation of the property's rich marine resources. An infestation of a coral-killing alien species has the potential to impact significantly on biodiversity. An impending onslaught of visitors has the potential to overwhelm management efforts. Climate change has the potential to alter fire regimes in the tropical savannahs and forests that constitute the Komodo Dragon's habitat.

Overall THREATS

High Threat
While official recent information on the World Heritage site is not easily available, the available sources point to significant threats to the site that are considered to be increasing. Of particular concern are destructive and illegal fishing practices, boat anchoring and marine litter, as well as over-exploitation. Infestation by the coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera of numerous marine sites is a very disturbing development. The combination of a greater population and climate change could bring serious damage to ecosystems through fire, illegal exploitation, storm damage to reefs, and coral bleaching. Proposed increases in visitation (such as through significantly increased capacity of the airport at Labuan Bajo and promotion of the area as 'another Bali') could overwhelm management efforts unless catered for in planning and increased resources for managers. 

Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT

Some Concern
Komodo National Park has an active management agency, a management-planning system, a current management plan, adequate boundaries and a solid legal framework. International scrutiny in the form of visiting dive ships, various conservation programs and a multitude of research projects provides informal monitoring and supervision. The building blocks for good management and protection are therefore in place. This positive foundation is challenged by the lack of a whole-of-government approach to management of tourist numbers, by a rapidly increasing local and regional population, and by the difficulties of policing a large area of ocean teeming with resources. The system for protection and management is in danger of being overwhelmed by the large increase in tourist numbers being encouraged by the government, the impacts of climate change and an infestation by a coral-killing alien species. An absence of any official reporting through the formal World Heritage processes since 2002 in the form of 'state of conservation' reports makes it difficult to confidently assess the overall effectiveness of management. This is compounded by the lack or unavailability of monitoring and reporting. This leads to significant concern about the long-term protection of the Komodo National Park World Heritage property.

Full assessment

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Finalised on
02 Dec 2020

Description of values

Superlative natural beauty

Criterion
(vii)
Komodo National Park encompasses unquestionably one of the most dramatic landscapes in all of Indonesia. It is a landscape of contrasts between starkly rugged hillsides of dry savanna, pockets of thorny green vegetation, brilliant white sandy beaches and blue waters surging over coral. The clear blue waters and stunning coral reefs demonstrate exceptional natural beauty that is even more remarkable as a counterpoint to the dominant lushness of vegetation, which characterizes vast areas of forested Indonesia. An irregular coastline characterized by bays, beaches and inlets separated by headlands, often with sheer cliffs falling vertically into the surrounding seas, reported to be amongst the most productive in the world, adds to the stunning natural beauty of landscapes dominated by contrasting vegetation types, providing a patchwork of colours (World Heritage Committee, 2013).

Komodo Dragon

Criterion
(x)
Komodo National Park contains the majority of the world’s wild population of the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (WCMC, 1996) it is the largest and heaviest of the world’s lizards. The species is widely known for its impressive size, fearsome appearance, ability to prey on large animals, and a tolerance of extremely harsh conditions. The population is distributed across the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motong, Padar, Nusa Kode and some coastal regions of western and northern Flores (World Heritage Committee, 2013; Purwandana et al., 2014; Jones et al., 2020).

Marine biodiversity

Criterion
(x)
Located at the juncture of two continental plates, Komodo National Park constitutes the “shatter belt” within the Wallacea Biogeographical Region, between the Australian and Sunda ecosystems. It has been identified as a global conservation priority area, comprising unparalleled terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The rich coral reefs host a great diversity of species, notable marine mammals include blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and sperm whale (Physeter catodon) as well as 10 species of dolphin, dugong (Dugong dugon) and five species of sea turtles (World Heritage Committee, 2013). There are 385 species of hard corals found in the area and over 1,000 species of reef fish have been recorded (Beger & Turak, 2005). The property has been identified as one of the richest marine diversity sites in the Indo-Pacific. It also includes important habitat and migration routes for at least 14 species of cetaceans (Kahn et al., 2000), as well as for manta ray (Manta alfredi) (Dewar et al., 2008; Germanov & Marshall, 2014).

Terrestrial biodiversity

Criterion
(x)
Fauna recorded in the park are characteristic of the Wallacean zoogeographic region with seven species of terrestrial mammal, including an endemic rat (Rattus rintjanus) and the crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and 72 species of birds, such as the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), the orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardt), and noisy friarbird (Philemon buceroides) (World Heritage Committee, 2013).

Assessment information

High Threat
Most of the major threats to the values of the Park are focussed on the marine environment and, in particular, the reef habitats it encompasses. These include destructive fishing practices (cyanide, blast fishing), over-exploitation of the resources and marine litter. Population growth has become a source of threat such as household sewage and a possible increase in the frequency and intensity of fires, as well as poaching. Tourism pressure has also increased (and posed for further expansion) and the impacts of climate change is already being seen. Massively increased visitation is believed by some to be impacting the Komodo dragons and the other values for which the property was inscribed, and the poor management of boats such as anchoring on coral reefs is having a direct impact on the OUV. Invasion by the coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera appears to be a newly documented threat. Infestations are already widespread.
Hunting and trapping, Logging/ Wood Harvesting, Fishing / Harvesting Aquatic Resources, Other Biological Resource Use
(Population pressure)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Komodo National Park is home to over 3,200 residents and is also surrounded by over 16,000 people in the immediate vicinity of Flores and Sape. Many of the residents both within and surrounding the property exploit resources from the Park for their livelihoods. The Park’s ecosystems cannot sustain the growing population’s increasing wants and needs indefinitely. Key resource utilization issues include over-fishing of reef resources, destructive fishing practices, poaching, cutting forests for firewood, and shortage of freshwater supplies (Erdmann, 2004). These threats were also a major theme in the Master Plan (p.18, 2000). The website of the management agency presents recent incidents of poaching and wildlife smuggling where perpetrators have been apprehended (KSDAE, 2020a), indicating that this is a chronic and widespread phenomenon for the property. Third party information also report a doubling of fishing within the property between 2018 and 2019, with some fishing boats being observed in the "no take" zone. It is not known whether these were fishermen from outside the property or from villages within the property. Attempts to reduce tourist boats have also led to an increase in illegal fishing activities (IUCN consultation, 2020). 
Household Sewage/ Urban Waste Water, Agricultural effluents
(Household sewage and small-scale agricultural run-off)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Indications of potential nutrient enrichment and eutrophication were detected within traditional use zones of the Komodo east region in the past. This may be indicative of sewage, organic rubbish or animal waste enrichment from Komodo village (Harvey & Yusamandra, 2010). However, there is no current data or information available to assess if this impact has continued. Population increases within and around the park are likely to increase the potential impact from this threat. According to the Master Plan 2000, 'pollution inputs are increasing due to lack of appropriate waste disposal methods for sewage and trash, oil/fuel spills in marine environment, and runoff from fertilizers and pesticides'.
Other Biological Resource Use
(Reef gleaning)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Removal of coral reef species and resources, or reef gleaning, remains a problem on the shallow reefs in and around the Park (Master Plan, 2000) although this destructive activity seems to have decreased over recent years (Erdmann, 2004).
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration, Ocean acidification, Temperature extremes, Storms/Flooding
(Extreme temperatures and weather events.)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Coral bleaching has been observed within the National Park in the past and will continue to be a threat in the future due to increasing sea-surface temperatures. A related risk is the acidification of seawater due to increased carbon dioxide levels, which will inhibit the formation of calcium carbonate, the basic substance forming the skeleton of corals, calcareous algae, molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans. Extreme weather events will also impact on the terrestrial habitat through increased frequency and intensity of storms. There have been some suggestions that the Komodo reefs are not as susceptible to bleaching as many others in the world (Lamb 2018 and some online diving accounts) but in the absence of solid surveys and formal reporting it is difficult to downgrade this threat.
Shipping Lanes
(Boat anchoring)
High Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Whilst the Park regulations prohibit anchoring in water shallower than 30m, stakeholders and community observations report that such behaviour is not always observed. Furthermore, the regulations appear to serve more as guidelines and have no legal basis. Therefore there are ongoing and increasing cases of anchor damage from boats bringing divers (Mous et al., 2007) and there are also reports of private boats drifting onto the reef causing damage (IUCN consultation, 2020). Increasing visitation to the marine component of the park is increasing the threat of damage from boat anchoring. The 2000 Master Plan outlined means of providing solid, safe anchorages that would not damage reefs; an assessment of the effectiveness of this program would be welcomed.
Fishing / Harvesting Aquatic Resources
(Blast and cyanide fishing)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Destructive fishing practices (cyanide, blast fishing, reef gleaning or 'meting') and over-exploitation have previously been reported as major threats to the Park’s reef habitats (Master Plan, 2000; Mous et al., 2004; Pet-Soede, 2012; WWF 2013). As reported by Pet (1999), in 1996 before there was any routine patrolling program, blast fishing was considered as one of the major concerns for the hard corals. The establishment of a patrolling program initially appeared effective in limiting this bad practice, although it is still very important keep it monitored and under control (IUCN consultation, 2020). Some sources indicate that destructive fishing methods are still practiced (Lamb, 2018; WWF, 2019), while others argue that this threat has diminished or has been addressed (Wonderful Indonesia, 2019). Although there are online reports by the Management Agency of patrols and seizures (e.g. KSDAE, 2018a; 2018b), no comprehensive assessment is available. No recent data has been found regarding cyanide fishing, which is mainly used for the aquarium trade. There has been no formal State of Conservation reporting on Komodo since 2002. It therefore cannot be assumed that this threat has lessened, particularly given the increasing population of the area.
Tourism/ Recreation Areas
(Tourism and increased visitation.)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Annual visitor numbers increased rapidly during the 1980s, rising from 100 in 1980 to 29,840 in 1997 (KNP, 2003; UNESCO, 1997; MOF, 1990). Of these, some 90% were foreign nationals who visit during the dry season between June and September. The number of visitors to the park increased from 36,000 in 2009 to 45,000 in 2010 and to 107,000 in 2016 (KNP, 2017). Most of the visitors were foreign tourists as transport costs to reach the park is high. The park can accommodate up to 60,000 visitors a year according to the local tourism agency. However, a major upgrade of the regional airport at Labuan Bajo (dubbed one of the '10 new Balis' in government promotions and development policies) could dramatically increase the number of tourists (Jakarta Post, 2019b). The airport previously handled 150,000 tourists a year; now it can accommodate 1.5 million, with a new terminal and lengthened runway. In 2018-19 there was a media debate about statements by the head of the provincial tourist agency that Komodo Island would be closed for 2020 in order to allow environmental rehabilitation and recovery of the health of Komodo dragons (Jakarta Post, 2019). The Environment Ministry subsequently stated that the closure will not occur (Fullerton, 2019), however the debate implied that there are doubts at an official level about whether visitation is being managed sustainably. Changes in the morphology and behaviour of Komodo dragons exposed to high visitation have been described (Ardiantiono et al., 2018). This phenomenon could become a threat if tourism numbers continue to rise dramatically.
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Invasion by the coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera.)
High Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
The following abstract from Turicchia et al. (2018) explains the threat in simple terms: "Chalinula nematifera is an encrusting sponge (Porifera: Haplosclerida), which can overgrow live corals. Originally described from the central Pacific (Marshall Islands), this coral-killing sponge is raising concerns due to its rapid range expansion in the Pacific. Its ability to overgrow various coral species was documented at Komodo National Park in October 2016. It was observed at six sites out of ten, where it was overgrowing and/or peripherally interacting with living corals belonging to 13 species, some of which represent new host records. It was also found on dead coral colonies previously covered by algae or sediment, and on encrusting coralline algae. Its habitat choice showed no obvious preferences regarding host corals and depth range."
Solid Waste
(Marine litter and plastic pollution)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
Marine litter and in particular plastic pollution, is a globally recognised major concern in the marine environments. Marine litter and plastic could be dangerous for both marine fauna and the ecosystems of Komodo National Park (Germanov et al., 2019). Some impacts on the Komodo dragons have also been reported (Plastic pollution coalition, 2016; Makur 2019). In 2015, Indonesia was listed second among the top 20 countries that mismanaged plastic waste (Jambeck, 2015). In 2010, Indonesia generated 3.2 million tonnes of plastic, and nearly half of it ended up in the sea.
High Threat
Climate change is the predominant potential threat facing this site. More intense wildfires is predicted, which would directly impact the habitat of the Komodo dragon. Climate change also brings an intensified threat of coral bleaching and storm damage to reefs. Temperature and sea-level rise will also alter existing habitat composition and availability for terrestrial biodiversity, including the Komodo dragons.
Droughts, Temperature extremes
(Fire)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
The habitats of Komodo dragons are in dry savanna and pockets of thorny green vegetation, which are vulnerable to fire. With increasing population and the onset of climate change this will also increase the threat to Komodo dragons due to the likelihood of increased fire intensity (Erdmann, 2004). The management authority has reported recent incidents of fire caused by arson, saying that the savannah of the Park is vulnerable to this threat (KSDAE 2020b). However, there is little evidence of increased frequency or severity of fire in the Park over recent decades (IUCN consultation, 2020).
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration, Ocean acidification, Temperature extremes
(Coral bleaching)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
Coral bleaching events were observed in Indonesia in 1997 and 2009-2010 (Habibi et al. 2007; Ampou 2011). However, the coral communities in Komodo National Park did not bleach during these events most likely due to the strong currents in the area (West & Salm 2007). Bleaching has been observed within the National Park though some observers believe these reefs are less susceptible to bleaching than many others (Lamb 2018 and some online diving accounts). Coral bleaching will continue to be a threat in the future due to increasing sea-surface temperatures as well and the through-flow (Arlindo) across the Lesser Sunda area that brings with it a warmer water mass. Another potential risk is the acidification of seawater due to increased carbon dioxide levels, which will inhibit the formation of calcium carbonate, the basic substance forming the skeleton of corals, calcareous algae, molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans.
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration
(Habitat shifts in key vegetation communities)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Change in temperature or precipitation regimes will alter vegetation composition that will alter resource availability (e.g. prey or shade) that could decrease Komodo dragon populations (Jones et al., 2020).
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration, Storms/Flooding
(Sea level rise)
High Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
It is predicted that global climatic change through temperature increases, then sea level rise will have direct and indirect impacts on the habitats and biodiversity, including on the Komodo dragons (Jones et al., 2020). 
While official recent information on the World Heritage site is not easily available, the available sources point to significant threats to the site that are considered to be increasing. Of particular concern are destructive and illegal fishing practices, boat anchoring and marine litter, as well as over-exploitation. Infestation by the coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera of numerous marine sites is a very disturbing development. The combination of a greater population and climate change could bring serious damage to ecosystems through fire, illegal exploitation, storm damage to reefs, and coral bleaching. Proposed increases in visitation (such as through significantly increased capacity of the airport at Labuan Bajo and promotion of the area as 'another Bali') could overwhelm management efforts unless catered for in planning and increased resources for managers. 
Management system
Mostly Effective
Komodo National Park is managed through the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Natural Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry. The park is governed through the 2000-2025 Master Plan which is implemented via five-year Management Plans (Master Plan, 2000). The 2010-2014 Management Plan appears to be the most recent readily available version, while the 2015-2019 Management Plan appears to have been drafted and potentially endorsed (IUCN consultation, 2020).
Effectiveness of management system
Some Concern
Various monitoring programs have been implemented in the past, focusing not only on vulnerable species and ecosystems (including coral reefs and the Komodo dragons), but also on resource use by humans (Mous et al., 2004). However, there is limited access to up-to date information, as most reports on routine monitoring activities conducted both by the Park and NGOs, demonstrating considerable efforts and attempts to deal with many issues, are internal documents and not readily available (IUCN consultation, 2020). The last report to the World Heritage Committee was in 2002. Since then there has been a massive increase in tourism visitation as well as the onset of climate change. The recent media discussion about whether to close Komodo Island to visitation in 2020 (Jakarta Post 2019 plus other online sources) to enable environmental recovery suggested that the Park might be under significant pressure and that current management systems might not be coping (the canvassed closure was eventually cancelled by the environment ministry; Fullerton, 2019). A broadening of the management focus to address the serious issues within the marine area of the Park along with other terrestrial species is required to ensure the long-term effective conservation of the property (World Heritage Committee, 2013).
Boundaries
Mostly Effective
The park boundaries were established when the park was gazetted in 1991 and based on the park zoning (2001). Their physical markings are mostly prioritized to those bordering settlements within the park. Most of the marine borders are not physically marked which creates confusion on their location and challenges with respect to enforcement. In the past there have been numerous discussions and recommendations regarding extension of the property (World Heritage Committee 2001, 2002) and to ensure a clear zoning plan for its management. In 2019, the management authority carried out a public consultation on zoning within the property in the provincial capital Labuan Bajo (KSDAE 2019).
Integration into regional and national planning systems
Some Concern
There is a long-term (2000-2025) Master Plan and mid-term (5 years) Management Plans for the management of Komodo National Park. However, it is unclear how the property is integrated into regional and national planning systems. The area is part of the Coral Triangle Initiative program. There has recently been confusion over government policy for Komodo given the conflicting statements issued by the Environment Ministry, the President and the provincial tourism agency pertaining to potential closure of Komodo Island and a $500 entry fee (Jakarta Post 2019, Fullerton 2019). A Jakarta Post editorial said on 6 May 2019: 'The Komodo National Park (TNK) in West Manggarai regency, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), has recently drawn global attention — not for its reputation as one of the world’s new Seven Wonders of Nature, nor as the habitat of an ancient reptile, the Komodo dragon, but for the spat over its management'. This gives the impression that the high profile and popularity of the property have prompted a tug of war between the various arms of government over its management.
Relationships with local people
Mostly Effective
There are a variety of community awareness and outreach activities, ranging from environmental lectures at local high schools to village information meetings, to a campaign that builds local pride in the Park and an awareness of its values. Other programmes include facilitation of community-based management of fishing grounds in the surrounding waters of Komodo National Park and a community consultative council. The website of the management authority contains various reports about community consultation (e.g. KSDAE 2019). 
Legal framework
Mostly Effective
There are several key regulations which provide the legal framework and determine the management and protection of Komodo National Park, mainly the Act on Conservation of Biological Resources and their Ecosystems (National Law No.5, 1990), the Fisheries Law (National Law No. 9, 1985), the Government Regulation concerning Natural Resources Tourism in the Use Zone of National Parks, Community Forest Parks and Natural Resources Parks and Government Regulation on Conservation Areas. Park Zoning regulations were issued by the Ministry of Forestry in 2001 and the District Manggarai Regulation No. 11 of 2001. The latter is a local law that regulates the use of fishing gear in the District of Manggarai and inside the Komodo National Park, specifically banning all fishing gears that are potentially destructive. The 25-year Master Plan is also a source for further park regulations. The issue with Komodo is not whether the laws are adequate but whether they are being effectively enforced.
Law enforcement
Some Concern
Management activities have focused on enforcement alongside the provision of tourist facilities. Enforcement efforts have predominantly been focussed on illegal fishing and trade in Komodo dragons but have also included poaching of other species from the park and neighbouring areas. Within the extensive marine buffer zone park authorities have the authority to regulate the type of fishing permitted and to some extent, the presence of outside fishermen, the most persistent poachers. Implementation of a legal ban on destructive fishing and a weekly marine patrol program have previously resulted in a 90% decrease in blast fishing (Subijanto 2002). The management authority has posted numerous reports of recent patrols and seizures on its website (e.g. KSDAE 2018a, 2018b). It appears from these reports that the authority has high-speed patrol boats and weapons at its disposal, a positive sign. There are some reports online saying that the situation regarding illegal exploitation within the park has improved over the last 15 years. On the other hand, confidential consultations have led to the finding that the State Party's efforts to address tourism impacts by restricting tourism boats have led to an unintended increase in illegal fishing. 
Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Serious Concern
There have been very few Committee Decisions in regards to the property and no recent State of Conservation reporting (none since 2002). This makes it difficult to assess the implementation of the decisions and recommendations. However, a number of early decisions appear not to have been implemented including recommendations on boundary expansion and the need for a more comprehensive zonation plan.
Sustainable use
Some Concern
Training of reef fishers in pelagic fishing techniques and fish processing methods, supply of materials for pelagic fishing (including ice boxes, nylon, artificial bait, and small boats), technical and operational assistance for fisher’s groups (kelompok nelayan), and development of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in offshore waters to the North of Komodo National Park have been conducted (Mous et al. 2004). Recent media reports about high visitation, canvassed closure of Komodo Island (Jakarta Post 2019), the area being one '10 more Balis' (Jakarta Post 2019b), a $500 entry fee (Fullerton 2019), and expanded airport capacity give rise to concern about whether tourist numbers are being sustainably managed.
Sustainable finance
Some Concern
In 2000, the overall budget of Komodo National Park was US$ 67,085 with 96 staff (Sumardja 2003). According to Merkl et al. (2003) Komodo National Park needs an average endowment of $32 per hectare (NPV). Traditionally, most of the funds for the park have come from the Government of Indonesia. In 2005 the Komodo National Park was selected by the Ministry of Finance to take part in a pilot project of new financing mechanisms (Komodo National Park 2005). This project is also enhanced by the work of TNC, which promotes, together with other actors, the establishment of collaborative management of the park (TNC 2005; Master Plan 2000). The 25-year management considers eco-tourism as the best strategy to achieve self-sustainability for the park (Subijanto 2002; Gallegos et al. 2005). It is not clear whether the management authority derives such an income from the burgeoning tourism initiatives. Indonesian-based funding is augmented by the work done under various international projects (see 'Projects' section).
Staff capacity, training, and development
Mostly Effective
A number of programs have been conducted, such as ecology, biodiversity and conservation training, staff exchange of lessons learned on park patrolling and enforcement (Mous et al. 2004). According to the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Komodo National Park assisted by the Ministry of Forestry has innovative training programs for residents and park staff (UNEP 2002). Training and assistance programs were also undertaken through collaborative management and the tourism concession as part of the capacity building component (World Bank 2001). The capacity and development of park staff are also augmented by various international programs (see Projects section).
Education and interpretation programs
Mostly Effective
There are a variety of community awareness and outreach activities, ranging from environmental lectures at local high schools to village information meetings, to a campaign that builds local pride in the Park and an awareness of its values. Examples of some of these sessions are posted on the website of the management authority (KSDAE 2019). These efforts are augmented by international programs (though mostly centred around the Komodo dragon itself rather than the surrounding marine and terrestrial ecosystems).
Tourism and visitation management
Serious Concern
Increasing visitation has been one of the key issues that management efforts have been focused on (World Heritage Committee 2013). Studies on carrying capacity as well as environmental impact assessments have been carried out and some still planned, to be sure that the increased visitation and the resulting infrastructure would not affect the conservation objectives for the property. Increasing visitation remains one of the key threats to the values of the site given the steep increases in tourist numbers in recent years, likely to be expanded again by the recent extension of the airport at Labuan Bajo, which has increased its capacity from 150,000 passengers to 1.5 million passengers per year. The area has been promoted as one of 'ten more Balis' by government authorities; recent media debates about a mooted $500 entry fee and the undecided closure of Komodo Island to tourists for 2020 indicate a lack of a whole-of-government comprehensive strategy to manage tourist numbers (Jakarta Post 2019, Jakarta Post 2019b, Fullerton 2019). At KNP, the development of diving tourism is continuously growing. The involvement of scuba volunteers in the application of simple, but effective, monitoring protocols could increase awareness among locals and tourists, further implement the best practices of water tourism and the protection of biodiversity, as well as provide scientific evidence and data of possible threats such as illegal fishing or pollution (IUCN consultation, 2020).
Monitoring
Mostly Effective
The marine monitoring program adopted at the Park level is complete and well structured. The applied monitoring protocols have many similarities with the worldwide applied community protocols (Hodgson 1999 & Hodgson 2001) adopted by the Reef Check organisations, including Reef Check Indonesia (based in Bali) (IUCN consultation, 2020). Monitoring of coral, fish, mangrove, sea grass, cetacean, sea turtle nesting area, resource use and community perception has been conducted regularly. These activities involve researchers and volunteers (Mous et al., 2004), however, the creation of partnerships among volunteers (including local people and tourists), government agencies, businesses, universities, and other non-profit organisation should be encouraged to raise environmental awareness (IUCN consultation, 2020). It is further noted that coral reefs were regularly monitored from 1996 to 2007, while more recent data are scars or challenging to retrieve. A more regular reporting of monitoring results, especially on the coral reefs ecological status, should be desirable (idem).
Monitoring of the Komodo dragon population has been continuous with joint monitoring activities (e.g. Komodo Survival Program and TNK) for Komodo dragon and ungulate prey occurring almost annually since 2003 and replicated across multiple sites and island within Komodo National Park (IUCN consultation, 2020). Recent publications focussed on nesting activity on Ontoloe Island, off the north coast of Flores (Ariefiandy et al., 2013, 2014; Purwandana et al., 2014, 2016). Recent studies on the populations of Rusa deer and wild pig populations have also been undertaken (Ariefiandy et al., 2016b). The lizard population is regularly monitored at 78 plots. A field laboratory was completed in 1984, but lacks equipment and technicians. The mangrove and coral-reef ecosystems have also been monitored and restored. The potential of ecotourism has been studied. Monitoring of terrestrial wildlife has been done by the University of Udayana, San Diego Zoo, the University of California at Berkeley, Bogor Agricultural University and Gadjah Mada University. Every two years The Nature Conservancy monitors 185 sites for corals, fish and grouper and wrasse spawning aggregation sites; it also regularly conducts socio-economic studies (Tun et al., 2004). Recent scientific papers have discussed the status of the Park's biodiversity and ecology (Shine and Kuchira, 2019; Ardiantiono et al., 2018; Turicchia et al., 2018). Additional monitoring of the dragon itself is carried out through the work of the Komodo Survival Program, the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, and the Greensboro Science Center (see Projects). Together these sources raise sufficient concern to justify a full state-of-conservation assessment through the World Heritage processes.
Research
Mostly Effective
Research into the unique biological features of the park is being promoted by the management authority (World Heritage Committee 2013). These projects help augment formal monitoring of the site, raising awareness of threats such as the infestation of sone marine sites by coral-eating sponges. There are considerable opportunities for further research to be undertaken in the property, particularly in regards to the impacts of climate change and the marine environment. 
Komodo National Park has an active management agency, a management-planning system, a current management plan, adequate boundaries and a solid legal framework. International scrutiny in the form of visiting dive ships, various conservation programs and a multitude of research projects provides informal monitoring and supervision. The building blocks for good management and protection are therefore in place. This positive foundation is challenged by the lack of a whole-of-government approach to management of tourist numbers, by a rapidly increasing local and regional population, and by the difficulties of policing a large area of ocean teeming with resources. The system for protection and management is in danger of being overwhelmed by the large increase in tourist numbers being encouraged by the government, the impacts of climate change and an infestation by a coral-killing alien species. An absence of any official reporting through the formal World Heritage processes since 2002 in the form of 'state of conservation' reports makes it difficult to confidently assess the overall effectiveness of management. This is compounded by the lack or unavailability of monitoring and reporting. This leads to significant concern about the long-term protection of the Komodo National Park World Heritage property.
Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Data Deficient
An increase in human population in the region will place additional pressures on the marine component of the property, especially as most of perpetrators of illegal and destructive fishing practices come from settlements well outside the property. The management agency has been apprehending some offenders but there is insufficient publicly available information to know what proportion of the problem is being dealt with adequately. 
Best practice examples
An example of best practices is represented by the adoption of green/blue labels, as the Green Fins certification. The Green Fins initiative aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines that promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling industry. The Green Fins initiative has developed a comprehensive set of guidelines to encourage best practices for an environmentally friendly scuba diving sector known as the Green Fins Code of Conduct.
World Heritage values

Superlative natural beauty

Low Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Komodo National Park is a landscape of contrasts between starkly rugged hillsides of dry savanna, pockets of thorny green vegetation, brilliant white sandy beaches and blue waters surging over coral, unquestionably one of the most dramatic landscapes in all of Indonesia. The beauty of these outstanding landscapes and seascapes has been well-preserved with some impacts to the seascape.

Komodo Dragon

Good
Trend
Stable
Komodo National Park contains the majority of the world’s areas in which wild populations of the Komodo dragon still exist. The largest and heaviest of the world’s lizards, the population, estimated at around 3500 individuals (Jones et al., 2020), is distributed across the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motang, Padar, Nusa Kode and some coastal regions of western and northern Flores. Its population appears to be relatively stable within Komodo National Park, but faces increasing habitat loss in unprotected areas on Flores. Komodo dragon populations in Komodo National Park will remain the most resilient to climate change impacts (Jones et al., 2020). However, there are reports of changes in the lizard's morphology and behaviour in areas subjected to high tourist visitation (Ardiantiono et al., 2018).

Marine biodiversity

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The rich coral reefs of Komodo host a great diversity of species, and the strong currents of the sea attract the presence of sea turtles, whales, dolphins and dugongs. Illegal fishing and destructive fishing practices are high threats to the site’s marine values (World Heritage Committee 2013). Infestation of a coral-killing alien species of sponge is disturbing (Turicchia, Hoeksema & Ponti 2018). The regional population has increased dramatically since inscription of the property. It is not clear whether the park's management agency has the capacity to keep pace with illegal exploitation of the area's marine resources. Climate change is likely to exacerbate impacts on marine biodiversity occurring as a result of the above factors. Marine litter and in particular plastic pollution, is also becoming major concern, particularly for the marine environment of Komodo National Park (Germanov et al., 2019).

Terrestrial biodiversity

Low Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Fauna recorded in the park are characteristic of the Wallacean zoogeographic region with seven species of terrestrial mammal, including an endemic rat (Rattus rintjanus) and the crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and 72 species of birds, such as the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), the orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardt), and noisy friarbird (Philemon buceroides) (World Heritage Committee, 2013). The lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo has suffered sharp population declines across Indonesia due to intensive trapping for the international pet trade. However, new research indicate that KNP, alongside and indeed because of preserving its Komodo dragons, is succeeding in protecting a significant population of Indonesia’s rarest cockatoo species (Reuleaux et al., 2020).
Assessment of the current state and trend of World Heritage values
High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The exceptional landscapes and seascapes found within the property and their beauty remain well-preserved and largely intact. However, this positive situation masks some disturbing trends. The increasing regional population inevitably brings inappropriate, unsustainable and sometimes illegal exploitation of the property's rich marine resources. An infestation of a coral-killing alien species has the potential to impact significantly on biodiversity. An impending onslaught of visitors has the potential to overwhelm management efforts. Climate change has the potential to alter fire regimes in the tropical savannahs and forests that constitute the Komodo Dragon's habitat.

Additional information

Outdoor recreation and tourism,
Natural beauty and scenery
The Komodo dragon, the stunning landscapes and the beautiful reefs have attracted people to visit the property. The Park serves as a place for sustainable development of eco-tourism both on land and in the sea. The site offers tourism activities which are significant to local, regional and international communities. Visitation is increasing and the site provides an opportunity for recreation in a beautiful natural setting.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Increasing
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
The impacts of the coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera must be closely monitored and assessed (Turicchia et al., 2018) as should impacts of visitation on populations of Komodo dragons (Ardiantiono et al., 2018).
 
Fishing areas and conservation of fish stocks
Pelagic fisheries, seaweed culture and grouper mariculture are three profitable alternative livelihood programs that are being introduced to residents in and around the Park.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Increasing
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
The impacts of the coral-killing sponge Chalinula nematifera on this benefit (Turicchia et al., 2018) must be closely monitored and assessed.
Importance for research,
Contribution to education
The site provides an outstanding opportunity for education and awareness for the local, national and international community about regional biodiversity and a charismatic reptile. It also provides an important site for research as a result of its position within the active volcanic 'shatter belt' between Australia and the Sunda shelf. The property is identified as a global conservation priority area, comprising unparalleled terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Increasing
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Habitat change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Direct employment,
Tourism-related income,
Provision of jobs
Tourism continues to increase for the property and with high numbers of visitors many of the services to support them are provided by local communities, both within the property and through tourism-related activities adjacent to the area.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Increasing
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Trend - Increasing
Management of dramatically increasing visitation must be managed carefully for these benefits to remain sustainable. Questions have already been raised over whether tourism livelihoods are sustainable into the long term (Lasso & Dahles 2018). Impacts on the behaviour and morphology of Komodo dragons exposed to high visitation have already been documented  (Ardiantiono et al. 2018). The disagreement between various arms of government (Jakarta Post 2019) about whether visitation is being properly managed raises concerns.
The benefits from Komodo National park are extremely significant. The property provides livelihoods for hundreds of local people and international operators and staff through tourism initiatives. Thousands of people enjoy diving and snorkelling in the beautiful biodiverse waters of the property. Thousands experience the sight of an ancient reptilian species. The property is a globally important centre for marine biodiversity, providing fishery resources inside and outside the site.
 
Organization Brief description of Active Projects Website
1 Yayasan Komodo Kita Community Development
2 Yayasan Baku Peduli Organic farming, Community Development and Awareness
3 Burung Indonesia BirdLife Partner
4 Plasticman Institute Coastal Clean-up and its sustainability waste management system
5 Komodo Survival Program Komodo Survival Program (KSP) is an Indonesian-based non-profit organization established on 9 March 2007. The organization has the mission to provide sound information on wildlife biology to help devising management and conservation plans for the Komodo dragon and its natural habitat. KSP also helps developing local expertise for improving general knowledge on the biology of this endangered species and providing support for local efforts to protect the species.
https://www.komododragon.org
6 Taronga Conservation Society Australia In 2012 Taronga commenced a partnership with the Komodo Survival Program (KSP). KSP is expanding their community conservation initiatives, with support from Taronga, to include community awareness programs, habitat patrols, and establishing alternative livestock management practices to reduce conflict between people and Komodo Dragons.
https://taronga.org.au/conservation-and-science/partnerships/komodo-survival-program
7 Greensboro Science Center The Komodo Dragon SSP (Species Survival Plan) was established in 2002. The current AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) captive population has grown to more than 126 dragons maintained at 63 AZA institutions. Through the active participation and hard work of member institutions, funding support from these institutions also has been instrumental in aiding wild Komodo dragon conservation in Indonesia. The Greensboro Science Center is an active supporter of the conservation fund. The main purpose of the KSP is to conduct monitoring activities to determine the population status of dragons, document any threats and recommend appropriate conservation measures to the Indonesian Government. Their work has provided important data in regard to demography, recruitment, dispersal and other vital information on the ecology of these magnificent reptiles. They have also worked very diligently to create community awareness of dragon ecology and conservation and the importance of the species in their ecosystem.
https://greensborosciencecenter.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/the-komodo-dragon-ssp-and-dragon-conservation/

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