Using Scenario Planning for Adaptation in Coastal Communities

Project IMPAACT

Three Scenarios Coastal fishing communities everywhere in the world are experiencing significant environmental and social changes. In many places, the health and productivity of the marine environment is threatened by overfishing, coastal development, and pollution. Fisheries are often in decline. The climate is changing – bringing rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, changing seasons and rainfall patterns, and more severe storms. These environmental changes bring about changes in livelihoods, quality of life and customs. Communities are also subject to the whims of global economies, national politics and demographics. Broader environmental, political and economic changes can also lead to new policies and programs that impact communities. Change is constant. Whatever the root cause of change, communities have no choice but to adapt. The manner in which adaptation occurs can be proactive or reactive and results can be beneficial or detrimental.

In June an July of 2013, our research team conducted community-based scenario planning workshops…

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Why local people do not support conservation: Community perceptions of marine protected area livelihood impacts, governance and management in Thailand

An Open Access article titled “Why local people do not support conservation: Community perceptions of marine protected area livelihood impacts, governance and management in Thailand” was recently published in Marine Policy (Link to the article and PDF of article)

Article Abstract

Conservation success is often predicated on local support for conservation which is strongly influenced by perceptions of the impacts that are experienced by local communities and opinions of management and governance. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are effective conservation and fisheries management tools that can also have a broad array of positive and negative social, economic, cultural, and political impacts on local communities. Drawing on results from a mixed-methods study of communities on the Andaman Coast of Thailand, this paper explores perceptions of MPA impacts on community livelihood resources (assets) and outcomes as well as MPA governance and management. The area includes 17 National Marine Parks (NMPs) that are situated near rural communities that are highly dependent on coastal resources. Interview participants perceived NMPs to have limited to negative impacts on fisheries and agricultural livelihoods and negligible benefits for tourism livelihoods. Perceived impacts on livelihoods were felt to result from NMPs undermining access to or lacking support for development of cultural, social, political, financial, natural, human, physical, and political capital assets. Conflicting views emerged on whether NMPs resulted in negative or positive marine or terrestrial conservation outcomes. Perceptions of NMP governance and management processes were generally negative. These results point to some necessary policy improvements and actions to ameliorate: the relationship between the NMP and communities, NMP management and governance processes, and socio-economic and conservation outcomes.

This and other publications can be found on my publications page: https://nathanbennett.ca/publications/

Vulnerability to multiple stressors in coastal communities: A study of the Andaman Coast of Thailand

The following article has been published online.

Bennett, N., Dearden, P., & Peredo, A.M. (2014-online). “Vulnerability to multiple stressors in coastal communities: A study of the Andaman Coast of ThailandClimate and Development

Abstract: Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change have become a dominant theme in development and conservation research and work. Yet coastal communities are facing a wider array of different stressors that affect the sustainability of natural resources and the adaptive capacity of local residents. The ability of communities and households to adapt is influenced by the nature, number, and magnitude of the changes with which they have to contend. In this paper, we present the range of 36 socio-economic (i.e. economic, social, governance and conflict) and biophysical (i.e. climate change and other environmental) stressors that emerged from qualitative interviews in seven coastal communities on the Andaman coast of Thailand. These stressors were then integrated into a quantitative survey of 237 households wherein participants were asked to rate the level of impact of these stressors on household livelihoods. Ratings showed that economic and some climate change stressors – extreme Figure 1 - Vulnerability as a Funtion of E, S, and AC finalweather events and changes in rainfall patterns and seasons – were scored higher than other stressors. The paper also examines the relationships between community and various individual and household characteristics – such as gender, age, livelihoods, levels of social capital, and socio-economic status – and the perceived level of impacts of various stressors on household livelihoods. Overall, community and livelihoods had the most differentiated impacts on perceptions of stressors but few other prominent patterns emerged. In conclusion, this paper discusses the implications of the results for current climate change vulnerability and adaptation policy and practice in Thailand and elsewhere.

It is available on my publications page: https://nathanbennett.ca/publications/

From Outcomes to Inputs: What is Required to Achieve the Ecological and Socio-Economic Potential of Marine Protected Areas?

Project IMPAACT

Image Marine protected areas (MPAs) are one tool that has been shown to be effective for achieving marine conservation objectives. MPAs might also result in beneficial social and economic outcomes for local communities through, for example, increasing fish abundance and the resultant spillover into surrounding fisheries or the creation of alternative livelihoods. Yet the percentage of MPAs that might be considered “successful” on ecological and/or socio-economic accounts is debatable. MPA scholars and conservation organizations alike have suggested that much remains to be understood about what the requirements are for successful implementation and operation of MPAs. It is on this problem that this paper focuses through asking: “What inputs are required to achieve the potential ecological, social, and economic outcomes of marine protected areas?” In this paper, we discuss the potential positive and negative outcomes of MPAs and explore the inputs required to achieve balanced and beneficial outcomes while giving consideration to…

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