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Orchard, SE; Stringer, LC; Quinn, CH (2015)
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: Ocean & Coastal Management
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Oceanography, Aquatic Science
Mangrove systems are one of the most complex and productive ecosystems on Earth, providing crucial livelihood support to coastal communities in developing countries. However, mangrove systems are being degraded and lost at an alarming rate globally. In Vietnam, the principal threat to mangrove systems is their conversion to aquaculture. Historically, mangrove system dependent communities (MSDC) have responded to change through their livelihoods and social networks, using social capital to self-organise and access crucial livelihood resources. However, little is known about the impact of different degrees of aquaculture on MSDC livelihoods and social networks, and what this means for the resilience of these communities and their ability to self-organise in response to change. Using a quantitative approach based on empirical household survey data, we assess the association between aquaculture and the livelihoods and social networks of three coastal communities of northern Vietnam. Results indicate that greater degrees of aquaculture are associated with: greater income inequality and lower livelihood diversity; and larger and less dense social networks. The increased influence of market-based relations associated with greater degrees of aquaculture has implications for resilience through the socio-economic differentiation and fragmentation of MSDC networks, which reduces social capital and the ability to self-organise in response to change. A diversity of network ties is required in order to connect various groups within MSDC. This can enable shared identification and understanding of the issues facing mangrove systems in order to facilitate self-organisation, and foster the resilience necessary for the sustainable governance of mangrove systems.
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