Strengthening threatened communities through adaptation: insights from coastal Mozambique

Blythe, Jessica L., Murray, Grant, and Flaherty, Mark (2014) Strengthening threatened communities through adaptation: insights from coastal Mozambique. Ecology and Society, 19 (2). 6. pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

Change is a defining characteristic of coastal social-ecological systems, yet the magnitude and speed of contemporary change is challenging the adaptive capacity of even the most robust coastal communities. In the context of multiple drivers of change, it has become increasingly important to identify how threatened communities adapt to livelihood stressors. We investigate how adaptation is negotiated in two coastal fishing communities by documenting livelihood stressors, household assets, adaptive strategies, and factors that facilitate or inhibit adaptation. Declining catch is the most common stressor being experienced in both communities, however, socioeconomic, e.g., disease or theft, and ecological, e.g., severe storms and drought, changes are also creating livelihood stress. We find that specialized fishers' with higher investment in fishing gear and government support are adapting by intensifying their fishing efforts, whereas poorer fishers with more livelihood options are adapting through diversification. Adaptation is facilitated by fishers' groups, occupational pride, and family networks. It is inhibited by limited assets, competition over declining resources, and pervasive poverty. Our data suggest that adaptation is a heterogeneous process that is influenced by multiple factors. Understanding the complexity of fishers' responses to livelihood stressors is critical for fostering adaptive capacity in coastal communities, for strengthening fisheries management, and for improving the livelihoods of fishing dependent communities.

Item ID: 38247
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-3087
Keywords: adaptation; Africa; diversification; intensification; livelihoods; small-scale fisheries
Funders: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC CGS), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Projects and Grants: CIDA project number S61268-652
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2015 23:52
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160499 Human Geography not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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