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Perceived mangrove coverage that is seen as ideal by farmers

Relation des mangroves d'eau

Arbitrary mangrove‑to‑water ratios imposed on shrimp farmers in Vietnam contradict with the aims of sustainable forest management

Worldwide, an estimated 35 % of mangrove forests have been lost between 1980 and 2005—among other reasons due to expansion of aquaculture production systems.

In Vietnam, where the total mangrove area decreased from 269,150 ha in 1980 to 157,500 ha in 2000, regulation of such systems in the form of ‘mangrove-to-water surface ratio’ has had limited success to halt these losses.

In this study, a survey of 40 Vietnamese households was conducted in mangrove production forests in Rach Goc commune, Ngoc Hien district, Ca Mau province to understand whether fixed limits on minimal mangrove coverage influence farmers’ decisions on mangrove protection.

Results of the survey suggest that rural households greatly depend on the incomes generated from shrimp (and crab) farming but that they do not have a share in economic incentives from timber harvests due to lack of full ownership.

A strong relationship between mangrove coverage and per pond area income was also revealed. Because farmers are not aware of applicable laws in terms of mangrove-to-water ratios, mangrove coverage tends to shift in favour of higher pond areas.

Overall, the findings indicate that regulations in the form of universal mangrove-to-water ratios do not consider the realities of local households, nor are they economically or environmentally useful—rather, they appear to be arbitrary limitations that are not respected by affected communities.

The findings question the efficiency of efforts put into stricter enforcement.

See the full content (download):
Baumgartner et al 2016_Arbitrary mangrove to water ratios

Copyright: Urs Baumgartner