Building peace in the minds of men and women

Wakatobi Biosphere Reserve, Indonesia

Wakatobi is an acronym for the four main islands of Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko that, together with smaller islands, comprise the Tukang Besi Archipelago at the southeastern tip of Sulawesi. The archipelago is renowned for the diversity of its spectacular coral gardens. Wakatobi’s 3.4 million acres of islands and waters were declared a national park in 1996.  The ethnically diverse human population strives to make the area a learning laboratory in areas such as fisheries and agriculture.

Designation date: 2012


Regional network:  SeaBRnet

Ecosystem-based network: Marine, Coastal and Island Areas




    Surface :  1,390,000 ha

    • Core area(s): 54,568 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 839,732 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 495,700 ha

    Location: 05°43'41''S - 124°04'40''E

    Administrative Authorities

    The Indonesian MAB National Committee
    Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)
    Gedung Kunoto-LIPI, Jl. Ir. H. Juanda 18 Bogor
    BOGOR 16122

    Tel.: +62 (0)251 8325854

    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter

    Ecological Characteristics

    Wakatobi has diverse ecosystems with many marine and coastal species of sea grass, coral reefs, fish used both for consumption and for sale, sea birds, turtles, cetaceans, and mangroves. There are about 590 fish species, 396 coral reef species, 22 major and 11 associate mangroves species and 9 of the 12 sea grass species found in Indonesia.

    Some rare and endangered species with protected status can be found in Wakatobi, such as the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Napoleon fish (Cheilinus undulatus), canary crabs (Birgus latro), giant clams (Tridacna sp.), trochus (Trochus niloticus), dugongs (Dugong dugong), dolphins (Delphinus delphis, Stenella longiotris, Tursiops truncatus) and squid black spots.

    There are 85 marine bird species in Wakatobi, for example: angsa batu coklat (Sula leucogaster plotus), cerek melayu (Charadrius peronii), king fisher Erasia (Alcedo anthis). Several cetaceans species can be also found in this area, such as sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), fin whales (Globicephala macrorhyncus), killer whale (Orcinus orca), pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata), spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata), rough tooth dolphins (Steno bredenensis), dolphin gray (Grampus griseus), bottle nose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), and pope's head watermelon (Peponocephala electra).

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The population of the district of Wakatobi is around 103,450 people, spread across 64 villages. The population consists of various ethnic groups: Wakatobi, Bugis, Buton, Java and Bajau. Most of the population uses the Wakatobi marine resources as a source of income/livelihood. The fisheries sector is the most important employer (94 %), especially deep sea and coastal fisheries. The agricultural sector is mainly for domestic/subsistence consumption. Farmers grow cassava, maize, tubers and beans.

    Wakatobi seeks to become a learning laboratory for researchers, students, local government, NGOs, the public and private sectors, and other stakeholders.




    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Indonesia  
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Asia and the Pacific
    Back to World Network of Biosphere Reserves

    Last updated: March 2019