Livelihood diversity and dynamism in Timor-Leste; insights for coastal resource governance and livelihood development

Mills, David J., Tilley, Alexander, Pereira, Mario, Hellebrandt, Denis, Pereira Fernandes, Avelino, and Cohen, Philippa J. (2017) Livelihood diversity and dynamism in Timor-Leste; insights for coastal resource governance and livelihood development. Marine Policy, 82. pp. 206-215.

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Coastal communities within small island developing states are typically highly dependent on fisheries and other natural resource-based livelihoods. However, specialisation as a 'fisher' is rare compared to diverse livelihoods that can be adapted as opportunities and challenges emerge. Understanding this dynamic "livelihood landscape" is important for improving governance and livelihood opportunities associated with natural resources. Using data from 495 households across 15 communities on Atauro Island, Timor-Leste, this study evaluates the importance of fisheries within a suite of livelihoods; the correlation of livelihoods structure with wellbeing; and the spatial and temporal variation of those livelihoods. Activities linked to primary production were nominated by 67% of households as their primary livelihood, 41% fished, and of those 54% considered fishing their primary livelihood. Almost all households (95%) owned livestock, and even respondents who considered themselves 'fishers' ranked livestock disease, rather than fisheries related concerns, as their most critical livelihood challenge. Engagement in fishing varied by location and time of year. Communities in more protected locales fished throughout the year, and had less diverse livelihoods. This study highlights that interventions focused on self-identified 'fishers' would only engage a fraction of the population that derive benefit from fisheries resources, would likely overlook the most prevalent challenges fishers face, and would focus on those with relatively high food security and income. Measures of wellbeing were better explained by geography and sociocultural settings, rather than dominant income sources. The results emphasise the value of cross-sector development interventions informed by contextualised analysis of livelihoods and wellbeing outcomes.

Item ID: 50423
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-9460
Keywords: small-scale fisheries, rural livelihoods, vulnerability, food security, shocks
Funders: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Projects and Grants: ACIAR grant FIS/2010/097
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:49
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300210 Sustainable agricultural development @ 50%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440499 Development studies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960699 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation not elsewhere classified @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940599 Work and Institutional Development not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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