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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Ocean & coastal management
Title Are the mangroves in the Galle-Unawatuna area (Sri Lanka) at risk? A social-ecological approach involving local stakeholders for a better conservation policy
Volume 71
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 225-237
URL http://www.vub.ac.be/APNA/staff/FDG/pub/Satyanarayanaetal_2013_OceanCoastManage.pdf
Despite the known ecological and economic importance of mangrove ecosystems, research is still lacking
as to what extent local populations depends on various forest products, or how this might be related to
their economic status (i.e. poor, middle and rich), age, or gender (male and female) relations. In the
present study, the percentage of people depending on such resources in the Galle-Unawatuna area (Sri
Lanka) for their subsistence needs was assessed through a survey. The results indicated that local people
rely on mangroves to a greater extent for fishery products, fuelwood, and edible plants, than for house/
boat construction material, medicinal and other non-timber forest products. All people under the poor,
middle and rich categories use mangrove resources, although greater dependency of the poor is
common. In relation to age, the mangrove resources utilization was high among old (>60 years) people.
A gendered division of labor indicating the men involved in fishery-related activities and women in
edible plant collection was observed. In addition, the use of mangrove resources is not necessarily
poverty-driven: preference and tradition also play important roles.
However, the physical infrastructure developments (i.e. construction of a cement factory, dam and
road) have had several negative impacts ranging from water quality deterioration and dynamic shifts in
mangrove vegetation to reduced fish production in the vicinity. Given our results, possible amendments
to the existing rules governing forest conservation are recommended in order to provide long-term
benefits for local livelihoods as well as ecosystem.

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