Title: Human-Environment Interactions in two Mangrove Ecosystems of Senegal
Authors: CONCHEDDA Giulia
Publisher: Université catholique de Louvain
Publication Year: 2009
JRC N°: JRC56558
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC56558
Type: PhD Theses
Abstract: Mangroves form unique and highly productive ecosystems but human actions have caused an alarming decline in the area of mangrove forest worldwide. A lack of understanding of the interactions between human societies and mangroves is partially to blame for such reduction. The main objective of this study was to explore the human-nature interactions in two mangrove estuaries of Senegal. The research investigates in an integrated manner the social and environmental changes over two decades ¿ from 1986 to 2006. The change analysis has shown that, after several decades of drought, the wetter conditions of the recent years explain the increase in the area of mangrove forest. Important social transformations have also occurred between 1986 and 2006. The opening of new market opportunities, catalysed by technological improvements, has marked a continuous intensification and specialisation of artisanal fisheries. These semi-industrial fisheries entail temporary migrations from the villages for part of the year and are thus associated with a reduced pressure on mangrove resources. However, these specialised fisheries, which in part are an adaptation of the system to the drought, also caused an increased vulnerability to overfishing. The above interrelationships make difficult to establish unequivocally causal patterns. They suggest that the increase in mangrove forest is not per se an indicator of sustainability for these social-ecological systems. This finding has important implications for all the interventions that address the sustainability of these mangrove ecosystems. These should be based on an integrated knowledge of their social and environmental components and of their interactions. They should carefully consider the possible outcomes that one sectoral intervention might entail on the diverse aspects of these systems.
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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