Livelihood diversification in tropical coastal communities: a network-based approach to analyzing 'livelihood landscapes'

Cinner, Joshua E., and Bodin, Örjan (2010) Livelihood diversification in tropical coastal communities: a network-based approach to analyzing 'livelihood landscapes'. PLoS ONE, 5 (8). e11999. pp. 1-13.

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Background: Diverse livelihood portfolios are frequently viewed as a critical component of household economies in developing countries. Within the context of natural resources governance in particular, the capacity of individual households to engage in multiple occupations has been shown to influence important issues such as whether fishers would exit a declining fishery, how people react to policy, the types of resource management systems that may be applicable, and other decisions about natural resource use.

Methodology/Principal Findings: This paper uses network analysis to provide a novel methodological framework for detailed systemic analysis of household livelihood portfolios. Paying particular attention to the role of natural resource-based occupations such as fisheries, we use network analyses to map occupations and their interrelationships- what we refer to as 'livelihood landscapes'. This network approach allows for the visualization of complex information about dependence on natural resources that can be aggregated at different scales. We then examine how the role of natural resource based occupations changes along spectra of socioeconomic development and population density in 27 communities in 5 western Indian Ocean countries. Network statistics, including in- and out-degree centrality, the density of the network, and the level of network centralization are compared along a multivariate index of community-level socioeconomic development and a gradient of human population density. The combination of network analyses suggests an increase in household-level specialization with development for most occupational sectors, including fishing and farming, but that at the community-level, economies remained diversified.

Conclusions/Significance: The novel modeling approach introduced here provides for various types of livelihood portfolio analyses at different scales of social aggregation. Our livelihood landscapes approach provides insights into communities' dependencies and usages of natural resources, and shows how patterns of occupational interrelationships relate to socioeconomic development and population density. A key question for future analysis is how the reduction of household occupational diversity, but maintenance of community diversity we see with increasing socioeconomic development influences key aspects of societies’ vulnerability to environmental change or disasters.

Item ID: 15028
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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© 2010 Cinner, Bodin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2011 05:01
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods @ 60%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 20%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 80%
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