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Title: The use of local knowledge for the defence and sustainable management of mangrove ecosystems : the case of Ecuador
Authors: Ocampo-Thomason, Patricia
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Shrimp aquaculture is one of the fastest growing economic activities in the tropical coastal zone. In Ecuador, the shrimp farming industry has grown exponentially since its introduction in 1969 and is now the main producing country of cultured shrimp in Latin America. But its rapid and uncontrolled expansion has led to a 57% reduction of mangrove forest in the country, and has had considerable impacts on the poor afro- Ecuadorian coastal communities decreasing the area available to them for obtaining their livelihoods. In turn this has generated a breakdown in the traditional resource allocation and management strategies, further adding to the social exclusion of already marginalised groups who are mainly Afro-Ecuadorians. This thesis explores the complexities of social, political and economic changes that have arisen in mangrove communities since the introduction of shrimp farming in the Mangrove Ecological Reserve (REMACAM). Located in the north of the Esmeraldas Province this is the last pristine mangrove ecosystem in Ecuador, harbouring some 6,000 traditional inhabitants. The research focuses on how the affected populations have responded to these changes, and how they have engaged with national neo-liberal reforms in order to be able to defend and manage the ecosystem. Research focuses on the dichotomous way in which mangroves are perceived in Ecuador today. Outsider perceptions see mangroves as mosquito ridden wastelands. This representation has made possible the development and expansion of the shrimp farming industry at the expense of the mangrove ecosystem. On the other hand, insider perspectives see mangroves as a multiple use ecosystem and a livelihoods provider. These understandings have been successfully used by the mangrove defence movement (CCONDEM) to create a strong movement against the shrimp farming industry. Using an insider perspective the mangrove defence movement has engaged with the country's neoliberal reforms, created national and international alliances and has also created a new political space of resistance. This space includes challenging, and changing national legislation, and proposing new legislation and management strategies to defend the mangroves and the traditional communities whose livelihoods depend on the ecosystem
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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