Socio-Economic Study of the Community Based Management of Mangrove Resources in St. Lucia

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"Increasing recognition of the value of the ecosystem services and timber and non timber goods that mangroves produce has led to conservation initiatives in many countries. However, as is the case with many environmental features, the preservation of these forests for their existence value alone is not a likely prospect (Thomas et al. 1991). Local people must be assured that they will benefit from the conservation of the forest more than they would from its destruction, either from the revenue stream resulting from exploiting mangrove resources on a sustained basis or through capturing a portion of whatever economic gains may spring from conservation, such as ecotourist revenue. "In order to make this determination, socio-economic data on the status of communities associated with mangroves, and how they use the mangrove must be gathered. This particular area has long been in need of attention from those concerned with mangrove conservation (Farnsworth and Ellison 1997). In a small step toward addressing this deficiency, this study documents the socio-economic aspects of the common property institutions for managing charcoal production from a small basin mangrove in St. Lucia. "Earlier studies have described the physical condition of the mangrove, called Mankote, both prior to and after the management intervention that resulted in the establishment of a resource users group (Smith and Berkes 1993). This study documents the socio-economic importance of charcoal production at the household level in order to observe the contribution that this occupation may make towards the creation of a sustainable livelihood for the resource users. Secondly, the present research offers a continued, although not continuous, time series of charcoal production data, from 1989 through 1996. This information is presented to determine whether production is increasing or decreasing, both in terms of value and in volume. Finally, this information is placed in the context of the institutional management apparatus that has been developed to control access to and use of the mangrove." From page 4: "This research encompasses a diversity of investigative topics, including descriptions of land uses and management systems, basic economic analysis, and social impact analysis..."
IASC, mangroves, community development, forest management, land tenure and use, forest products, timber