Private industry, the Government of Gabon and two international NGOs collaborated to conduct marine surveys off the coast of Gabon, Central Africa. Surveys addressed multiple objectives of surveillance and monitoring, the documentation of the distribution of and threats to the marine megafauna, and capacity-building among government agents and local early-career scientists. During 22 days of survey effort over a two-year period, observers documented humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae, bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus, Atlantic humpback dolphins Sousa teuszii and common dolphins Delphinus delphis. Humpback whale presence was limited to the months of July to November. Bottlenose dolphins were present year-round and photo-identification of individuals indicated a closed, resident population, with an abundance estimate of 118 (CV = 21.6%, 95% CI 78–180). Small open-decked fishing vessels with gillnets were observed concentrated around river mouths within 2 km of shore, while commercial trawlers were at least 10 km offshore; all were confirmed to be registered and legal. Observations of marine turtles, flocks of marine birds, and floating logs and other debris were sparse. This multi-stakeholder collaboration to conduct a marine survey can serve as an effective model by which funding and logistic support from private industry paired with technical expertise from NGOs and academic institutions can benefit marine and coastal conservation.
Community-based and Participatory Management
The Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG) framework was developed to offer a structured, empirical approach for analysing governance and has been applied to marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world. This study sees the novel application of the MPAG framework to a small-scale mangrove crab fishery in northwest Madagascar. The country typifies developing country environmental governance challenges, due to its poverty, political instability and lack of state capacity, with bottom-up approaches often identified as a potential solution. In this context, small-scale fisheries (SSF) play a vital role in food security and poverty alleviation but are vulnerable to over-exploitation. The case study examines community-based management, including the role of three nascent fishing association managing portions of the fishery, within a mangrove ecosystem. Despite issues with underrepresentation of fishers in local resource management organizations that have partial responsibility for the mangrove habitats, some management measures and incentives have been applied, including the replantation of mangroves and fishery-wide gear restrictions. However, the analysis highlights market forces and migration are drivers with negative synergistic effects that cannot be controlled by bottom-up management. Incentives identified as needed or in need or strengthening require the support of external actors, the state, industry and or NGO(s). Thus, governance approaches should seek integration and move away from polarised solutions (top-down vs- bottom-up). As shown by other MPAG case studies, effective governance is dependent on achieving 'resilience through diversity', in terms of the diversity of both the actors and the incentives they are able to collectively employ.
The interconnectedness of ecosystems and the integration of policy and society are relevant aspects of integrated management grounded in knowledge exchange practices. Such processes may also promote social learning, the joint and collaborative knowledge to tackle environmental problems. Thus, understanding knowledge exchange is an additional strategy to promote and understand social learning. This article analyzed a knowledge exchange process related to the elaboration of a proposal for the spatial delimitation of a marine protected area in Brazil, a developing country. By combining process observation and geographical information system tools, proposed areas and criteria for delimitation elaborated by different groups of stakeholders (non-scientists and scientists), separately and in an integrated discussion, were compared and used to test the hypotheses that integration under a knowledge exchange process can bring substantive changes in the outcomes of a management process, and that knowledge exchange processes can promote social learning. Results showed that the integration of different knowledge led to results that none of the groups reached in separate discussions, such as the identification of new areas, delimitation of an area of influence and new criteria for delimitation. Changes in knowledge, the framing and reframing of the processes, understating system complexity and social context were observed, which indicates that knowledge exchange promoted social learning. Additionally, the criteria used to support the delimitation proposals in the studied area can be applied to other marine protected areas in other contexts, and the methods used to guide the discussion can be adapted to other issues.
The sustainable livelihood framework is a widely used approach to analyze changes in rural livelihoods, especially in resource dependent communities. The framework emphasizes that given a certain situation where the livelihood context, resources and institutions remain favourable, livelihood strategies carried out by people could possibly lead to two different outcomes. One, the results of livelihood strategies will produce sustainable outcomes providing affected households respite from the impacts of livelihood loss. Two, there is a possibility that resulting outcomes may not be sufficient to reverse livelihood crisis and may not necessarily result in sustainable livelihood because of the complexities, uncertainties and multilevel drivers associated with it. This paper aims to evaluate both these possibilities through use of empirical data to clarify factors and conditions that may impede sustainable livelihood outcomes despite well planned strategies. It highlights that availability of more resources (or capitals) do not necessarily contribute to more robust livelihood strategies or outcomes. Using the case of small scale fishery-based livelihood system of Chilika Lagoon, Bay of Bengal in the East coast of India, this paper suggests that the relationship between livelihood shocks and stresses, capitals, institutions and livelihood strategies is circular and not linear.
Extensive household and village level survey data are used to examine the processes of social-ecological change in Chilika from a livelihood perspective. It describes how through changes in context, resources and institutions, fishers in Chilika responded to the livelihood crisis, and how various strategies were used. It further examines the extent to which the outcomes of the strategies contributed to making fisher livelihoods sustainable. Conclusions drawn suggest that the outcomes of the livelihood crisis and responses from Chilika fishers have resulted in higher levels of their disconnection from the Lagoon and their marginalization. The multiplicity of ways through which fishers in Chilika perceive their livelihood suggest that livelihood in resource dependent communities, such as Chilika small-scale fisheries, is multidimensional and far more complex and dynamic than often perceived. Further innovations in approaches and tools will help better understand livelihood challenges and make related outcomes sustainable.
Improper solid waste management practices are harmful to riverine and coastal ecosystems. In the Philippines, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act No. 9003) decentralized the management structure and mandated Local Government Units (LGUs) to adopt new integrated solid waste management (SWM) plans. However, LGUs often lack the capacity, understanding, and enforcement authority for effective SWM. With minimal SWM awareness leading to socio-economic and environmental problems, alternative management approaches may be effective. This paper discusses the creation and implementation of a community-based program to educate community members and develop sustainable initiatives to improve SWM practices that have been observed to affect riverine and coastal environments in Tabaco City, Albay, Philippines. The Save the Rivers, Save the Seaprogram was designed as a way to engage students and local youth in environmental issues in their communities. The program's first year mobilized a team of students and collected data from a community needs assessment, water quality analyses, and workshops, which we utilized to create a sustainable action plan for the remainder of the program. The action plan provides the program with goals and objectives in order to affect SWM change in Tabaco City's rivers and coastal environments. First-year program and observational findings demonstrated that community-based programs are effective tools for addressing SWM challenges but, to be sustainable, need to co-exist with a supportive and committed LGU.
Participatory scenario planning (PSP) approaches are increasingly being used in research on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (IAV). We identify and evaluate how PSP has been used in IAV studies in the Arctic, reviewing work published in the peer-reviewed and grey literature (n = 43). Studies utilizing PSP commonly follow the stages recognized as ‘best practice’ in the general literature in scenario planning, engaging with multiple ways of knowing including western science and traditional knowledge, and are employed in a diversity of sectors. Community participation, however, varies between studies, and climate projections are only utilized in just over half of the studies reviewed, raising concern that important future drivers of change are not fully captured. The time required to conduct PSP, involving extensive community engagement, was consistently reported as a challenge, and for application in Indigenous communities requires careful consideration of local culture, values, and belief systems on what it means to prepare for future climate impacts.
As Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is taking off world-wide as a holistic approach to marine management, there has been a growing need for the inclusion of socio-economic factors in this process. Yet, producing spatial data for cultural values, in particular, remain a challenge because these values are abstract and difficult to extract and quantify. Here, we demonstrate a simple repeatable manual technique for mapping cultural coastal values using in-person interviews and Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) techniques. With 47 participants in the Falkland Islands labelling 745areas of cultural coastal value, this technique gave rise to the identification of cultural coastal value hotspots across the islands in four categories: Natural Beauty, Recreation, Sense of Place and Cultural History. The locations of values were not affected by their distance to a settlement, nor were participants particularly likely to select areas close to their home. The resulting maps of coastal cultural values have been incorporated in the MSP framework and webGIS for the Falkland Islands, allowing for the integration of these social factors in the decision making processes.
Engaging local stakeholders is a central feature of many biodiversity conservation and natural resource management projects globally. Current literature on engagement predominantly focuses on individual case studies or specific geographical contexts, making general conclusions regarding the effect of these efforts on conservation outcomes difficult. We reviewed evidence from the peer-reviewed and grey literatures related to the role of stakeholder engagement (both externally-driven and self-organized engagement) in biodiversity conservation at the local scale using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. We critically appraised and extracted data using mixed methods for case studies (n = 82) and meta-analyses (n = 31) published from 2011 to 2015. We conducted an inductive thematic analysis on background literature references published from 2000 to 2016 (n = 283). The quantitative analysis assessed multiple variables, and yielded no significant results, but suggested a possible relationship between success in producing attitudinal change towards conservation and four engagement factors. Our qualitative analysis identified six dimensions of engagement processes that are critical for successful outcomes when a project is externally-driven, and suggests that understanding of governance and social-cultural context plays an important role in all types of stakeholder engagement efforts. Finally, we reflect on the effectiveness of relying primarily on evidence available from published literature to understand links between conservation and stakeholder engagement, in particular with regard to self-organized engagement.
"Coastal grab" refers to the contested appropriation of coastal (shore and inshore) space and resources by outside interests. This paper explores the phenomenon of coastal grabbing and the effects of such appropriation on community-based conservation of local resources and environment. The approach combines social-ecological systems analysis with socio-legal property rights studies. Evidence of coastal grab is provided from four country settings (Canada, Brazil, India and South Africa), distinguishing the identity of the 'grabbers' (industry, government) and 'victims', the scale and intensity of the process, and the resultant 'booty'. The paper also considers the responses of the communities. While emphasizing the scale of coastal grab and its deleterious consequences for local communities and their conservation efforts, the paper also recognizes the strength of community responses, and the alliances/partnerships with academia and civil society, which assist in countering some of the negative effects.
The incorporation of local and traditional knowledges into environmental governance regimes is increasingly recognised as a critical component of effective and equitable conservation efforts. However, there remain significant barriers to integration of community-based knowledge within mainstream environmental governance. This paper explores community-based knowledge in the context of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), a widely-used governance tool designed to predict and manage the impacts of development. Drawing on a social survey and interviews, the paper documents local community knowledge of environmental changes associated with dredging and the construction of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants in a large industrial harbour located in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and compares this knowledge with public consultation opportunities offered throughout the project lifecycle, including during assessment and after project approval. The findings highlight a misalignment between community knowledge of environmental change, which is acquired largely after impacts become apparent, and the public participation opportunities afforded through EIA, which generally occur before construction or dredging is undertaken.