Environmental NGOs are increasingly called upon to respect human rights when undertaking conservation programs. Evaluating a family planning program running alongside marine management measures in Madagascar, we find that family planning services provided by an environmental NGO can support women’s reproductive rights. Family planning services allow the option of smaller families, and give more time to work, increased income and better health. These benefits do not translate into increased support for, or participation in, marine management, however, and women who are able to work more are typically fishing more. We identify patriarchal norms as a key factor preventing the family planning programme from manifesting in improved resource stewardship, limiting opportunities for women to participate fully in resource management meetings and diversify their livelihood outside traditional tasks, including fishing. We propose that a successful human rights-based approach must be more comprehensive, targeting multiple rights and challenging existing institutions and power structures.
Social-Ecological Systems and Human Wellbeing
The loss of biodiversity, including the collapse of fish stocks, affects the vulnerability of social-ecological systems (SESs) and threatens local livelihoods. Incorporating community-centered indicators and SES drivers and exposures of change into coastal management can help anticipate and mitigate human and/or coastal vulnerability. We have proposed a new index to measure the social-ecological vulnerability of coastal fishing communities (Index of Coastal Vulnerability [ICV]) based on species, ecosystem, and social indicators. The ICV varies from 0 (no vulnerability) to 1 (very high vulnerability) and is composed of 3 components: species vulnerability, i.e., fish biological traits; ecosystem vulnerability, i.e., environmental indicators of ecosystem health; and adaptive capacity, i.e., human ability to cope with changes. We tested the ICV of Brazil’s 17 coastal states. The average ICV for the Brazilian coast was 0.77, and variation was low among states. More than half of the coastal states revealed very high vulnerability (> 0.8). The ecosystem vulnerability values were worse than the adaptive capacity and species vulnerability values, and the North and Northeast regions were revealed to be vulnerable hot spots. Additionally, we investigated how the ICV related to specific anthropogenic risks, i.e., fish landing richness, fishery instability, market, coastal extension, and coastal population, and found that states with fewer species landings and higher coastal populations presented higher ICVs. At a time when human impacts are overtaking natural processes, understanding how these impacts lead to coastal vulnerability can help improve conservation policies. For this case study, we suggest both fisheries management measures and restoration of sensitive habitats to protect species and decrease vulnerability. The integrated evaluation developed here could be used as a baseline for coastal monitoring and conservation planning and be applied to coastal regions in which governments evaluate both social and biological aspects.
Cumulative anthropogenic activities in coastal regions are a major threat to their marine biodiversity. The consideration of coastal marine areas as social-ecological systems (CMSESs) can be useful for marine biodiversity conservation. This integrative approach incorporates social information that can link anthropogenic activities to marine biodiversity, providing opportunities for improving conservation policies tailored to the specific reality of the CMSESs. Here, we assessed the beta and alpha diversity of the shallow littoral fish communities present in the Andalusian CMSESs and explored how they relate to socioeconomic and marine environmental variables. We used underwater visual surveys to estimate the fish abundance data needed to calculate the alpha and beta diversity of the fish species. We quantified the species and functional beta diversity using abundance-based data. We also quantified species richness index as indicators of species alpha diversity, and functional evenness as indicators of functional alpha diversity. We found that the association of marine environmental and socioeconomic variables with biodiversity varied with CMSES. Empirical inclusion of biodiversity in social-ecological systems research of marine and coastal areas can provide insights on human-nature dynamics. This can contribute to design more effective marine biodiversity conservation programs that consider both the socioeconomic and marine environmental characteristics of each CMSES.
Recent projections suggest worst-case scenarios of more than six ft (1.8 m) of global mean sea-level rise by end of century, progressively making coastal flood events more frequent and more severe. The impact on transportation systems along coastal regions is likely to be substantial. An analysis of impacts for Atlantic and Cape May counties in southern New Jersey is conducted. The impact on accessibility to employment is analyzed using a dataset of sea-level increases merged with road network (TIGER) data and Census data on population and employment. Using measures of accessibility, it is shown how access will be reduced at the block-group level. An additional analysis of low and high income quartiles suggest that lower-income block groups will have greater reductions in accessibility. The implication is that increasing sea levels will have large impacts on people and the economy, and large populations will have access to employment disrupted well before their own properties or places of employment may begin to flood (assuming no adaptation).
Indonesia is part of a marine biodiversity hotspot where millions of coastal communities rely on marine resources for food security and livelihoods. The overarching objective of this study is to explore policy interventions that might help small-scale fishing communities in Indonesia to avoid or escape from an undesirable livelihood state. Selayar Island in South Sulawesi was used as a case study where intensive fishing activity occurs at the proximity of marine reserves and presenting problems and responses that are difficult to interpret due to the lack of data for this region. This four-year study used qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and the principles of systems thinking to examine the social-ecological systems that drive trends in the condition of the marine resources and the associated livelihoods.
A growing number of studies suggest a participatory ecosystem approach to support decision-making toward resilience and sustainability in social-ecological systems. Social-ecological resilience (SER) principles and practices are recommended to manage natural crises. However, it is necessary to broaden our understanding of SER on human-induced disturbances driven by economic development projects. In this paper we present the social-ecological system of Araçá Bay (Brazil), a small-scale fishery community that has experienced successive disturbances due to development projects since the 1930s. There was a lack of studies about the impacts of development projects in this bay. As part of a major project that aimed to build an ecosystem-based management plan for Araçá Bay through a participatory planning process, we focused on investigating fishers’ traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to understand Araçá Bay’s small-scale fisheries social-ecological system. The objectives were to: (1) investigate fishers’ TEK regarding management practices and linked social mechanisms, human-induced disturbances and their consequences for the social-ecological system, ecosystem goods and services, and future threats; and (2) provide information based on TEK to the participatory planning process and analyze its contribution to Araçá Bay’s ecosystem-based management plan. Combined methods were used during 3 years of intense research-action (2014–2017): in-depth ethno-oceanographic interviews with expert fishers; monitoring Araçá Bay participatory meetings; and participant observation. Genuine local practices and social mechanisms from traditional culture were recorded, as well as TEK about 57 target fish species and methods to protect habitats and natural resources. Fishers also reported ecosystem disturbances and recovery processes. TEK was codified through SWOT analysis to assist the participatory planning process. Ecosystem services and threats based on TEK were brought to the participatory process, acknowledged by the participants, and incorporated into the management plan. TEK analysis proved to be an important methodology to provide historical environmental data regarding the impacts of development projects and support planning in disturbed ecosystems. In order to support coastal marine ecosystem-based management strategies toward SER and sustainability, researchers and practitioners should consider traditional territories in planning, recognize local practices and social mechanisms, and consider TEK on ecosystem goods and services and on historical human-induced disturbances.
The increasing technological efficiency of harvesting equipment has been identified as one of the main causes of overcapacity and overexploitation of natural resources. In this paper, a formal model is developed which studies the effects of technological efficiency as an endogenous variable within a bioeconomic system. We model capital investments in a fishery, where investment decisions are made less frequently than the allocation of variable inputs. We study how the possibility to invest in capital affects open access dynamics, and also the evolution of cooperative harvesting norms. We find that the possibility to make large capital investments can destabilize cooperation, especially if enforcement capacity is low. Further, we find that communities can preserve cooperation by agreeing on a resource level that is lower than socially-optimal. This reduces the incentive to deviate from the cooperative strategy and invest in capital.
The framework proposed by Ostrom (2009) has become one of the most utilized tools to address the complexity of social-ecological systems. Most cases use this framework to analyze the systems from the perspective of a single resource unit. However, the livelihoods in several coastal communities are diverse, so that the users interact with multiple common-pool resources, which makes their analysis difficult. In this sense, it is important to identify the key elements of management to achieve the sustainable use of the resources. In this study, we were able to do this in a coastal community where commercial fishing, ecotourism, and recreational fishing coexist. The system of interest, located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, was subdivided by resource type using a multi-method approach to data collection including surveys, interviews, and records review. A conceptual map was developed that shows how the second-tier variables are integrated through the governance and actors with the biophysical system. The actors involved in lobster fishing achieved a more complex governance system, followed by the ecotourism and recreational fishing; the complexity of the governance was related with the equity level of the actors. The analysis revealed the research gaps to develop management strategies and improve the sustainability of the system.
Sustainable landscape planning and management of coastal habitats has become an integral part of the global agenda due to anthroprogenic pressures and climate change-induced events. As an example of human-engineered infrastructure that enhances the sustainability and resilience of coastal social-ecological systems (SES), we have presented the dumbeong system, a farmer-engineered and managed irrigation system based on Korean traditional ecological knowledge. We analyzed the spatial relationship of dumbeongs with coastal landscape attributes and droughts in Goseong County in South Korea. We used generalized linear models (GLMs) to examine the effects of land cover and recent (2001–2010) standardized precipitation index (SPI) on the abundance of dumbeongs. Then, we projected near future (2020–2050) changes in the SPI-based drought risk for the dumbeong system using representative concentration pathway (RCP) climate scenarios. We found that forest and marine water areas have positive relations with dumbeong abundance, whereas SPI has a negative relation, indicating that the dumbeongs are more abundant in areas close to sea water and forests, and with higher incidences of drought. Derived climate change scenarios show that the study region will experience higher incidence of drought. Our findings provide empirical evidence for the dumbeongsystem as an effective community designed and driven adaptive response to local hydrological processes and climatic conditions, and as climate-resilient infrastructure that strengthens sustainability and resilience of coastal SES. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations for sustainable landscape management and optimal use of the dumbeong system in coastal regions.
Tourism plays a vital role in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process, requiring the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure broad participation and consensus building (Making Tourism More Sustainable - A Guide for Policy Makers, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2005, p.11–12).
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are special areas of the marine environment specifically established and managed, through legal or other effective mechanisms, to “achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values” (Day et al., International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2012). Tourism development has been considered a key accompanying strategy in creating alternative livelihood options for communities living adjacent to MPAs, particularly in Nha Trang Bay (NTB), where the first MPA was...