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Exploring Strategies that Build Livelihood Resilience: a Case from Cambodia

Melissa J Marschke, York University
Fikret Berkes, University of Manitoba


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Livelihoods in Cambodian fishing communities are complex and dynamic. Fluctuations in resource abundance, seasonal cycles of resource use, and changes in access create conditions that bring challenges for rural households, as do economic and policy drivers. Nonetheless, people are continuously “doing something” in response to these stresses and shocks. This paper sets out to explore how households and community members attempt to mitigate against such challenges. The analysis of livelihood stresses and shocks in two Cambodian fishing villages shows that diversification is a commonly used strategy for coping and adapting. Analyzing responses at multiple scales, with emphasis on resilience-building strategies at household and community levels, illuminates aspects of livelihoods. To study local-level perspectives of resilience, well-being was used as the surrogate of resilience, producing three clusters of responses related to economic conditions, resources, and relationships.

Key words

Cambodia; diversification; livelihood; resilience; scale; uncertainty; well-being

Copyright © 2006 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work 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