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close this bookParticipatory Methods in Community-based Coastal Resource Management - Volume 1 - Introductory Papers (IIRR, 1998)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFunding partners
View the documentCollaborating organizations
View the documentMembers of the management team and steering committee
View the documentAcknowledgement
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsHow this sourcebook was produced
Open this folder and view contentsCoastal communities living with complexity and crisis in search for control
Open this folder and view contentsCommunity-based coastal resource management
Open this folder and view contentsCommunity organizing and development process
Open this folder and view contentsParticipation and participatory methods
Open this folder and view contentsGeneral guidelines for using participatory tools
View the documentGlossary
View the documentWorkshop participants
View the documentWorkshop staff


This glossary is designed to provide both general definition of terms used in the sourcebook as well as special forms of usage that have been adopted for this particular publication.


ancestral waters marine areas claimed by indigenous peoples as having been part of their territory since time immemorial

approach a systematic strategy or methodology for addressing a development or conservation concern

For example, community based coastal resource management is an approach to addressing integrated conservation and development in coastal areas.

artesinal fisheries usually small-scale, local, subsistence fisheries conducted by individuals or small groups

assessment a review or informal evaluation of a selected condition

associated species living things (e.g., plants, animals) that are commonly found or interact with a given organism, habitat or ecosystem


baseline information usually the first measurement of an indicator taken at the beginning of a project and used to compare with subsequent measures taken after some intervention has been implemented

biases a prejudiced outlook of an individual or group of individuals based on a perspective or pre-conceived notion that does not fairly represent the larger population.

biodiversity the variety of living things found in a given area

This includes the variety of genes (i.e., genetic diversity), the variety of species (species diversity) or the variety of ecosystems (ecosystem diversity). In addition, the variety of functions (e.g., producers, consumers and decomposers) and the variety of cultures or cultural diversity (e.g., distinct ethnolinguistic groups) are also considered part of biodiversity.

buffer strips lengths of land or water that serve to provide protection to an area in need of protection from some external threat

For example, a five-meter wide strip of land running alongside a river may serve as a buffer strip to prevent surface erosion from entering the river.

buffer zone an area of land or water that serves to provide protection to a conservation area (usually surrounding it) designated for protection from some external threat

For example, an area one hundred meters wide surrounding a marine sanctuary that may have some regulations regarding productive activities.


case study a short description of a particular project, situation or condition that serves to communicate key messages to the reader

Case studies are commonly used to document experiences and share them more widely through training or workshops.

community an association of people living in a given area or sharing some general commonality in addition to geographic proximity

An ecological community refers to an association of plants and animals living in a given ecosystem.

comparative information data that relies on other data as a point of reference (i.e., relative measures) and that can not provide a precise measure of accuracy in and of itself

For example, trend analysis may indicate that fish yields are decreasing every year, but will not necessarily provide the absolute figures for yield for each year. Similarly, local preferences may rank choices by comparison and not necessarily by some independent quantitative measure. This information may be all that is necessary to initiate some action, in other cases, more absolute information may be required.

consensus agreement by a large majority of a population or group

It is considered ideal when the entire population or group is in agreement.

conservation the maintenance of careful regulation of a resource or area through sustainable use

The term conservation has been commonly and mistakenly been used as a synonym for preservation which refers to strict protection of a resource or area.

coping mechanisms ways in which individuals, households or groups adjust to or deal with difficult or changing conditions

For example, during periods of peak labor requirement, children may be taken out of school to provide additional labor. For projects, coping mechanisms may refer to ways in which project staff address problems that may impede the implementation of planned activities.

customary laws rights, regulations and norms that have been established over time and are generally accepted by a group as a framework for governing social behavior

Contrast with State law, which refers to an official legal system of a nation.

cross-check a way of ensuring accuracy of data collection by comparing information on a given subject from one source or method with information on the same subject from another source or method

cyclical periods specific lengths of time that are established by naturally occurring cycles or rhythms

For example, the length of time required for the earth to make one complete revolution (orbit) around the sun is referred to as an annual or solar cycle. Depending on latitude and regional climate, this will result in regular seasonal patterns. Similarly, the length of time required for the moon to revolve (orbit) the earth is referred to as a lunar cycle. This cycle influences tides and associated phenomena.


emphatize the ability to understand the feelings of another person or group by trying to put oneself in the position of the other person and feel the emotions from this perspective

enhancement the improvement of some condition based on a human perspective of what constitutes improvement


fish fry recently-hatched fishes


gender "the socially constructed roles and responsibilities of women and men, in a given culture or location" (CEDPA/Gender and Development Training Manual, 1996)

gender analysis "an organized approach for considering gender issues in the entire process of program development" (CEDPA/Gender and Development Training Manual, 1996)

gender and development an approach which seeks to empower women and transform unequal relations between women and men" (CEDPA/Gender and Development Training Manual, 1996)

genera plural form of genus which is a category or level used to classify living things according to biological and structural similarities and differences

gleaners individuals or groups that collect or harvest resources from the wild without cultivation or propagation


indicative data data that implies, demonstrates or suggests a certain condition

For example, the existence of coral rubble in a circular pattern is indicative data suggesting the occurence of dynamite fishing.

indicator species a specific organism that implies, demonstrates or suggests a certain condition

For example, the occurence of large numbers of crown of thorns starfish. indigenous knowledge information, practices, technologies, beliefs, tools, materials, experimentation, skills, pedagogy, communication systems and other social systems or institutions that people in a given group, community or area have tested, adapted and continue to adapt over time

indigenous taxonomies systems and categories of organizing or associating living and non living resources

For example, local groups will classify or categorize soil, fish and other resources into locally-recognized groupings.

informal community organizations organizations that are not officially registered or recognized by national or local governments

informant a person who provides information

intertidal zone the area between above the lowest low tide mark up to the point where tidal influence continues (commonly the highest high tide mark) or slightly beyond


juveniles fish or aquatic organisms usually characterized by the incomplete development of reproductive organs


legend a description of symbols or abbreviations used on a map

letter-petition a formal and organized request for change or action by preparing a letter of request and having it signed by a large number of people who support the specific contents of the letter

local ecological knowledge refer to indigenous knowledge

logbook a notebook used to record in chronological order the events considered important based on local needs and preferences


manta tow a shallow water survey method that employs towing a swimmer behind a boat by a length of rope with a wooden board at the swimmers' end that is used for stability, maneuverability and recording observations

marine reserve an area of ocean protected from specified or all uses for any number of reasons including unique biodiversity, its support as habitat for local fisheries, educational purposes, rehabilitation and resoration

marketing the entire process of identifying, creating addressing and supplying the demand for any given product

This may involve market research, product development, pricing, advertising and determining methods of sales.

media any or all of three forms of information dissemination: 1. print (e.g., newspapers), 2. audio
(e.g., radio) and audio-visual (e.g., television)

media campaign a systematic effort to use the media to gain support for a particular position or objective

medium a channel of communication or information dissemination (refer to media)

methodology a general approach or framework that employs a related collection or body of methods consistent with the overall approach

For example, CBCRM can be seen as a methodology.

methods a systematic procedure employed to achieve a certain objective

For example, participatory methods are procedures that follow certain guidelines to maximize participation, minimize bias, ensure validity and balance precision with time and effort. The methods described in this sourcebook make use of more specific tools such as matrices or diagrams and are part of a larger methodology.

monitoring the process of measuring changes in specific indicators at regular intervals over time

morphology relating to the shape (i.e., form or structure) of an organism


numeric data information presented in quantitative form or using numbers


organization a group or association of people bound by a common interest


paralegal a person with training in the law but not licensed to practice the law officially

permanent belt a permanent transect distinguished by two parallel lines

point of first sale the site at which a product (e.g., marine resource) is first transferred from the person who caught or produced the product to a person who pays for the product

preservation the strict protection (i.e., no use) of all resources (living and non-living) in a defined area

process a predetermined and systematic series of steps, actions or operations used by an individual or group to achieve specific objectives and move toward a general goal

productive roles the activities, responsibilities and expectations of an man or woman related to providing the basic economic needs of a household (e.g., food production, wage employment, etc.)

property rights the official or legal interest of an individual or group to access or control a certain area of land or water or resource

protected area the generic term used to describe an area of land or sea that is governed by some form of protection from use or degradation

This may be in the form of conservation or strict preservation.


quadrats a rectangular plot or frame used to assist in the measurement and study of ecological conditions


rehabilitation the process of improving the conditions of an area of land or sea so that they are more favorable to conditions suitable to humans

reproductive roles the activities, responsibilities and expectations of a man or woman related to the care and maintenance of the household (reproduction, child care, education, health, home maintenance, security, etc.)

respondent a person who provides information to another person often through completing a survey questionnaires but also through participating in group discussions or participatory methods of analysis

restoration the process of returning a given area of land or sea as closely as possible to the specific conditions (i.e., specific species, relative abundance, etc.) that existed in an earlier time


sanctuary an area of land or sea that is often governed by strict protection (i.e., no activities or resource use allowed) often placed within a larger marine reserve

spatial related to geographic area

For example, spatial tools look at where things occur in a given area or in relation to each other. Compare with temporal tools which means having to do with or related to time.

spawn the production or deposition of eggs or young of aquatic organisms

species a category of formal scientific biological classification that describes organisms that are biologically and morphologically similar and capable of interbreeding

stakeholder usually groups of individuals - within a larger population (e.g., community) - that share a common interest, perspective, worldview or background


temporal related to time

For example, a time line is a temporal tool that looks at the significant events in the history of community.

tenure the right to access or control over a resource or area of land or sea

terrestrial related to land as opposed to sea

tools specific analytical techniques (matricies, diagrams, transects) that assist in the collection and analysis of data

For example, a matrix is a tool that can be used for participatory livelihood analysis which is a participatory method and is part of an overall methodology that is community-based coastal resource management.

triangulation (validation) the process of confirming, validating, or improving the precision of data by seeking separate and independent confirmation of the data

Triangulation can be done by using different methods to collect the same data or seeking different respondents or both.

triangulation (geographic) the process of determining or locating a specific point on a plane using landmarks to determine the intersection of two lines

transect a length of land or sea - usually a straight line - that is used as the basis for sampling plants, animals or other indicators of interest using various sampling techniques


village assembly a meeting open to all residents of a village for the purpose of sharing views and disseminating public information


watchdog groups informal groups or formal organizations that serve to monitor activities related to a particular issue

For example, a small group of residents may form a group to monitor the occurence of illegal fishing operations in sanctuary.

watershed an area of land that shares a common point where water drains - usually to the ocean

Watersheds are commonly divided into functional (although arbitrary) sections such as upland, lowland and coastal ecosystems. Another functional grouping looks at catchment areas, service areas and drainage areas.


zoning the process of determining and assigning specific purposes, uses or regulations to specific portions of land or sea in order to optimize land-use

For example, a zoning plan for a bay may be developed to ensure the optimal and equitable allocation of space for often competing uses such as aquaculture, recreation, transportation, conservation or preservation, etc.