A primary school student with her mangrove propagules, ready to join the replanting fun (Photography by Brian Jones)

This paper was originally published on ScienceDirect. 


Highlights:

  • Mangroves degradation continues due to decision-making processes exclusively based on economic factors.
  • We explore the sociocultural valuation of mangrove ecosystem services in northeastern Brazil.
  • Production and regulation of gases is the most valued ecosystem service by local fishers.
  • Local people have a symbolic relationship with the mangrove forest, which goes beyond a material approach.
  • The socio-cultural dimension of mangrove services should be considered in coastal conservation policy-making.

Abstract: Despite the increasing recognition of the need to conserve mangroves, degradation has continued during the last two decades due to ineffective and non-inclusive decision-making processes exclusively based on economic factors. The purpose of the present study is to give tools to mangrove conservation management and policy, exploring the sociocultural valuation of the ecosystem services of mangroves through a case study in northeastern Brazil, an area highly impacted by shrimp aquaculture.

We used a mix of methods to complement ecosystem services identified in the academic literature with those perceived as such by local people. We analyzed these locally perceived mangrove services in relation to community livelihoods, and highlighted that local people identified four additional cultural services related to maintenance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), creation and maintenance of social relationship, personal satisfaction and mental and physical relaxation.

This demonstrates that local people have a symbolic relationship with the mangrove forest, which goes beyond the material approach normally used to evaluate ecosystem services. Such findings suggest that the socio-cultural dimension of mangrove services needs to be considered by policy-makers as an indispensable criterion for confronting the key challenges in coastal ecosystems conservation…”

Read on and access the full paper at: ScienceDirect.