The role of local deities and traditional beliefs in promoting the sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems

Setondé Constant Gnansounou, VK Salako, Corentin Visée, Farid Dahdouh Guebas, Romain Glèlè-Kakaï, Patrick Kestemont, Sabine Henry

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Customary laws and traditional beliefs are progressively used in conservation and management of natural resources. However, their effectiveness has received limited attention. This case study from the Benin Republic (West Africa) examines how local deities and traditional beliefs can reduce manmade threats to mangroves. Data were collected from three categories of mangroves (sanctuary, sacralised, and non-deity mangroves) via direct observations, informal interviews (n = 5), in-depth interviews (n = 10), focus group discussions (n = 3) and
household surveys (n = 200). We used twelve indicators including the quantity of resources collected, the use value and the perceived diversity of fish and plant species to characterize each category of mangroves. Eight of these twelve indicators showed significant variation among the categories of mangroves. Highly destructive uses were generally associated with non-deity mangroves, whereas moderately and less destructive uses were mostly associated with sacralised and sanctuary mangroves, respectively. Local deities can thus assist to limit unsustainable use of mangrove forests. Among the mangrove users, salt producers and residents with many children collect and commercialise more mangrove resources than others and should be continually involved in sensiti-
zation and community engagement to foster the sustainable use of mangroves.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftForest Policy and Economics
Nummer van het tijdschrift103145
StatusPublished - 2024


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