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Trade-Offs in Values Assigned to Ecological Goods and Services Associated with Different Coral Reef Management Strategies

Christina C Hicks, Newcastle University; ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Tim R McClanahan, Wildlife Conservation Society
Joshua E Cinner, Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Jeremy M Hills, ENVISION


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Societies value ecosystems and the services they provide in a number of ways. These values can help inform the management of ecosystems such as coral reefs. However, the trade-offs in ecosystem goods and services associated with different social and management conditions are poorly understood. Consequently, we examined values assigned to the goods and services identified across three types of management on the Kenyan coast: (1) a government-imposed no-take area in the Mombasa Marine National Park; (2) co-management of gear between fishing communities and the government’s fisheries department; and (3) community-initiated no-take area management, where a community independently initiated and controlled a small closed area. We compared the ecosystem goods and services and the broader total economic value to explore how the history of these sites, their social conditions, and different management choices were associated with these values. The highest total economic values were associated with government management interventions and were probably due to the government’s priority to be involved in the high-value beach tourism destinations. This is, however, associated with losses in a range of local community-level values and the social capital of the resource-user community. For example, resource users near the government marine protected area had the lowest value for measures of biological knowledge. Sites displaying greater community-level values were characterized by high social capital, and users had the most confidence in their ability to manage the resource. This study suggests that trade-offs occur in values associated with the interests and responsibilities of the management. The ability to cope with disturbance and change will depend on these values and responsibilities, and local communities are less likely to respond when government management and interests are strong.

Key words

adaptive capacity;, co-management; community-based management; ecological economics; fisheries closures; globalization; marine protected areas; social–ecological systems; total economic value

Copyright © 2009 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087