Glaser, Marion ORCID:, Berger, Uta and Macedo, Rosangela (2003) Local vulnerability as an advantage: mangrove forest management in Pará state, north Brazil, under conditions of illegality. Regional Environmental Change, 3 (4). pp. 162-172. DOI

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When ecosystems are threatened or scientific knowledge of the effects of human action is uncertain, legislative prohibition is often adopted. This paper examines how the criminalization of mangrove tree use affects ecosystem management outcomes. We explore the biological, economic and social sustainability effects of the legal ban on mangrove use on the coast of Bragança, Pará, north Brazil. There are two main categories of mangrove users in this area: firstly, local subsistence users who also derive some financial incomes from mangrove sale. Their mangrove use is intertwined with household livelihood strategies and they display self-initiated planning and action towards sustainable management; secondly, more “mobile”, purely commercial users who are responsible for most commercial mangrove exploitation and who employ regionally sequential, predatory resource exploitation strategies. These users are typically based at some distance from the exploited areas and share neither local livelihood strategies nor sustainability agendas. The current outright ban on any utilization of mangrove flora seems to undermine biological sustainability, is economically inefficient and generates normative insecurity, conflict and social polarization. The ineffectiveness of the outright legal prohibition of mangrove tree use in terms of sustainable coastal management leads us to investigate alternative management options. We suggest that the legalization of local mangrove utilization and the strengthening of local users’ rights and responsibilities to control outsiders in a co-management framework, as proposed in the Brazilian extractive reserves (RESEX) approach, is most likely to advance ecologically, economically and socially sustainable mangrove management. It is demonstrated that a legal recognition of local entitlements to mangrove trees would reduce social vulnerability and therefore move forest management outcomes into more desirable directions.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Social Sciences > Social-Ecological Systems Analysis
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 1436-3798
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2020 10:53
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:30

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