Reconciling nature, people and policy in the mangrove social-ecological system through the adaptive cycle heuristic

F. Dahdouh-Guebas, J. Hugé, G.M.O. Abuchahla, S. Cannicci, L.P. Jayatissa, J.G. Kairo, S. Kodikara Arachchilage, N. Koedam, T.W.G.F. Mafaziya Nijamdeen, N. Mukherjee, M. Poti, N. Prabakaran, H.A. Ratsimbazafy, B. Satyanarayana, M. Thavanayagam, K. Vande Velde, D. Wodehouse

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19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While mangroves are increasingly described as social-ecological systems (SESs), performing SES research is so much more than merely documenting local resource utilisation patterns in case studies. The aim of this paper is to review and show how ecological, human and institutional resilience could be understood and fostered in an era of uncertainty, through the adaptive cycle (AC) heuristic. Uncertainties come in many forms and shapes: climate change, social and economic dynamics, natural disasters, political and institutional disruption and ever-increasing public demands for participation. Social-ecological studies form windows of experimentation that can provide insights beyond their case-specific context. In order to synthesise and structure the cumulative knowledge base arising from existing and future studies, the need for a suitable overarching framework arose. Here, the AC heuristic represents the connectedness between variables of the mangrove SES versus the mangrove's accumulated capital (natural, built, human and social). We posit that the AC heuristic can be used to interpret spatial and temporal changes (ecological, social, economic, political) in mangrove SESs and we exemplify it by using the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as well as a century-long silviculture case. The AC, combined with the SES scheme, allows integration of the spato-temporal dynamics and the multi-dimensional character of mangrove SESs. We also reviewed the ecosystem functions, services and disservices of mangrove SESs, linking each of them to SES capital and variable (fast or slow) attributes, which in turn are closely linked to the different axes and phases of the AC. We call upon mangrove scientists from the natural, applied, social and human sciences to join forces in fitting diversified empirical data from multiple case studies around the world to the AC heuristic. The aim is to reflect on and understand such complex dynamic systems with stakeholders having various (mutual) relationships at risk of breaking down, and to prepare for interactive adaptive planning for mangrove forests.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106942
Number of pages29
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume248
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was published with the support of the Belgian University Foundation . F.D.G. acknowledges the support from the Belgian National Science Foundation . F.D.G. and J.H. acknowledge the financial support of the project ‘EVAMAB – Economic valuation of ecosystem services in Man & Biosphere Reserves' funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office - BELSPO ( BL/58/UN32 ), and from Erasmus Mundus Masters Course in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems (TROPIMUNDO) . F.D.G., L.P.J., N.K. and S.K.A. acknowledge the education and research grants obtained from the VLIR-UOS-funded GREENDYKE Project ( ZEIN2008PR347 ). F.D.G. and S.B. acknowledges the financial support of the BELSPO-funded MAMAFOREST-Project ( SR/00/323 ). G.M.O.A. acknowledges the travel grant provided by the ZMT Academy as well as the student grant by the Singapore National Parks Board ( NParks ) for joining the MMM5. S.C. acknowledges the financial support of the TUYF Charitable Trust and the HKU Seed Fund for Research . J.G.K. acknowledges final support from the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) as well as UNEP/ GEF Blue Forest Project and Pew Charitable Trust for mangrove research in Kwale and Lamu counties in Kenya. N.P. acknowledges the funding support from Department of Science and Technology, India through the INSPIRE Faculty scheme ( IFA18-LSPA111 ). M.T. is a panel member for developing “Guidelines for mangrove restoration and replantation” and acknowledges the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka. This research was in part presented at the 5th International Mangrove, Macrobenthos and Management Meeting (MMM5) in Singapore, 1–5 July 2019. We thank the Editors and 3 anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

Funding Information:
Gotts (2007) questions the link between connectedness and resilience in the AC. Abel et al. (2006) did not support the proposition that the four AC phases tend to be sequential, nor that Ω events are preceded by reduced resilience. Why we do not aim to downplay any of these criticisms? In fact, we will show later than we agree with some of these critics. However, we believe that the AC heuristic offers a simplified common terminology and approach to better understand the dynamics of SESs and we will discuss later the flexibility needed to interpret it in a local context.This paper was published with the support of the Belgian University Foundation. F.D.G. acknowledges the support from the Belgian National Science Foundation. F.D.G. and J.H. acknowledge the financial support of the project ‘EVAMAB – Economic valuation of ecosystem services in Man & Biosphere Reserves' funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office - BELSPO (BL/58/UN32), and from Erasmus Mundus Masters Course in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems (TROPIMUNDO). F.D.G. L.P.J. N.K. and S.K.A. acknowledge the education and research grants obtained from the VLIR-UOS-funded GREENDYKE Project (ZEIN2008PR347). F.D.G. and S.B. acknowledges the financial support of the BELSPO-funded MAMAFOREST-Project (SR/00/323). G.M.O.A. acknowledges the travel grant provided by the ZMT Academy as well as the student grant by the Singapore National Parks Board (NParks) for joining the MMM5. S.C. acknowledges the financial support of the TUYF Charitable Trust and the HKU Seed Fund for Research. J.G.K. acknowledges final support from the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) as well as UNEP/GEF Blue Forest Project and Pew Charitable Trust for mangrove research in Kwale and Lamu counties in Kenya. N.P. acknowledges the funding support from Department of Science and Technology, India through the INSPIRE Faculty scheme (IFA18-LSPA111). M.T. is a panel member for developing “Guidelines for mangrove restoration and replantation” and acknowledges the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka. This research was in part presented at the 5th International Mangrove, Macrobenthos and Management Meeting (MMM5) in Singapore, 1–5 July 2019. We thank the Editors and 3 anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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