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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
close this folderIntroduction
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe first booklet
View the documentThe second booklet
View the documentThe third booklet
View the documentA distillation of practical field experiences
close this folderHow this sourcebook was produced
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWorkshop objectives
View the documentWorkshop process
close this folderCoastal communities living with complexity and crisis in search for control
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCoastal communities
View the documentComplexity
View the documentCrisis
View the documentWho owns this sea?
View the documentCoastal resource management
View the documentCommunity-based coastal resource management
close this folderCommunity-based coastal resource management
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPrinciples of CBCRM
View the documentComponents of CBCRM
View the documentThe CBCRM cycle
View the documentReferences
close this folderCommunity organizing and development process
View the documentDefinition
View the documentPurpose
View the documentThe community organizer
View the documentTime frame
View the documentCommonly-used approach
close this folderParticipation and participatory methods
View the documentWhat is participation?
View the documentWhy participation?
View the documentDegrees of participation
View the documentObstacles to participation
View the documentParticipatory methods and other research methods
View the documentReferences
close this folderGeneral guidelines for using participatory tools
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGuidelines for facilitating groups
View the documentWhile working with a community...
View the documentGlossary
View the documentWorkshop participants
View the documentWorkshop staff

Complexity

The ecological and human systems which form the coastal zone are ecologically and demographically highly complex.

The interface of land and sea is a dynamic habitat where energy, nutrients and populations of plants and animals mix and are recycled. This results in some of the most productive areas on earth characterized by complex food chains that maintain high production potential. Anecdotal evidence speaks of the historically high levels of productivity of coastal areas, especially high levels of fish stocks. There is good reason to believe that the current dismal nature of some coastal areas is primarily due to the chaotic destruction of the complex ecological networks. By reversing the overexploitation of key parts of the food chain, which are often commercially valuable predatory species, the ecological balance can be restored.


Figure

Flow is an important part of the complexity of the marine and estuarine habitats. The complexity and flow of coastal resources and coastal communities make assessment or information gathering by outsiders a difficult task.

It is hard to observe resources that are: mobile, underwater, change seasonally and move between different habitats.

Such movement is often predictable on a seasonal, monthly or daily cycle but knowledge of the exact location or size of fish stocks is not easily obtained although local knowledge may be available. However, if the ecology has changed through overexploitation or habitat degradation, traditional ecological knowledge may no longer be relevant, or young, active fishers may not have experienced the richness of the habitat prior to its devastation. One option is to seek information from older residents but it is difficult to cross check such information. Fish catches many years ago occurred under very different market conditions and it may not be possible to obtain a good estimate of the potential yield of the resources even if the habitat is restored. Furthermore, if those active in fishery have recently moved to the area, their depth of knowledge of the local ecology may be limiting.

There is less isolation of marine ecosystems than one finds on land even when the marine habitats differ in appearance. The aquatic medium connecting different places in the sea is itself habitat and provides connectivity among distant locations. Many species spend different life cycle stages in very different habitats and fish move along the three dimensions of the sea.

Although they may be physically distinct, ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves and marshes are highly interactive with surrounding marine habitats. Outsiders may view the coastal ecosystem in separate units and not appreciate the level of interaction among them.

The ecological links between land and sea are tremendously important. Aside from the flow of people, possibly the most important connection, is the flow of water and silt from rivers to the estuaries and coastal areas. Under natural conditions in the uplands, this flow of nutrients would maintain a healthy coastal ecosystem. However, degradation of uplands, primarily due to deforestation, causes increased erosion and siltation, resulting in degradation of coastal ecosystems. Further impacts from the land come in the form of water pollution from cities and intensive farm lands.


Figure

Resources which are mobile, nocturnal and difficult to see pose problems for the researcher or change agent working with coastal communities. It is difficult to assess the range of available and potentially-available resources under these conditions.


Figure

Ecosystems

Estuaries

Mudflats

Seagrasses

Mangroves

Coral reefs

Characteristics

· Diverse

· Shallow

· Sandy/muddy

· Intertidal

· Productive


· Nurseries

· Tidal

· Shallow

· Trees

· Delicate


· Fluctuating


· Seasonal

· Productive

· Diverse


· Open to inputs and impacts


· Productive

· Muddy

· Colorful




· Nurseries

· Brackish

· Open coast

Benefits and uses

· Nursery

· Fishing

· Nursery

· Nursery

· Fishing


· Fishing

· Shellfisheries

· Fishing

· Fishing

· Habitat


· Aquaculture

· Seaweeds

· Shellfisheries

· Shellfisheries

· Aesthetics


· Tourism

· Feeding for birds

· Sea cow habitat

· Fuelwood

· Tourism





· Medicinal plants

· Shoreline protection





· Forage

· Medicinal uses





· Shoreline stabilization






· Nutrient production






· Nutrient pollution trap


Problems/issues

· Impacts of land-based activities

· Pollution

· Pollution

· Pollution

· Pollution


· Pollutant accumulation

· Land reclamation

· Siltation

· Overcutting for fuel

· Sedimentation


· Land reclamation

· Aquaculture ponds

· Dredging

· Aquaculture ponds

· Sand and coral mining




· Eutrophication

· Land reclamation

· Cyanide fishing




· Over-exploitation of shellfish

· Tenure

· Fishing




· Boating


· Ecotourism






· Biopiracy






· Anchor damage






· Thorns






· Storms






· Other destructive fishing methods






· Nutrients from land run-off