Access to marine ecosystem services: examining entanglement and legitimacy in customary institutions

Lau, Jacqueline D., Cinner, Joshua E., Fabinyi, Michael, Gurney, Georgina G., and Hicks, Christina C. (2020) Access to marine ecosystem services: examining entanglement and legitimacy in customary institutions. World Development, 126. 104730.

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Ecosystem services have become a dominant paradigm for understanding how people derive well-being from ecosystems. However, the framework has been critiqued for over-emphasizing the availability of services as a proxy for benefits, and thus missing the socially-stratified ways that people access ecosys- tem services. We aim to contribute to ecosystem services’ theoretical treatment of access by drawing on ideas from political ecology (legitimacy) and anthropology (entanglement). We hypothesize that where customary and modern forms of resource management co-exist, changes in customary institutions will also change people's ability to and means of benefiting from ecosystem services, with implications for well-being. We ask a) what are the constellations of social, economic, and institutional mechanisms that enable or hinder access to a range of provisioning ecosystem services; and b) how are these constellations shifting as different elements of customary institutions gain or lose legitimacy in the process of entangle- ment with modernity? Through a qualitative mixed-methods case study in a coastal atoll community in Papua New Guinea, we identify key access mechanisms across the value chain of marine provisioning ser- vices. Our study finds the legitimacy of customary systems – and thus their power in shaping access – has eroded unevenly for some ecosystem services, and some people within the community (e.g. younger men), and less for others (e.g. women), and that different marine provisioning services are shaped by specific access mechanisms, which vary along the value chain. Our findings suggest that attention to entanglement and legitimacy can help ecosystem services approaches capture the dynamic and relational aspects of power that shape how people navigate access to resources in a changing world. We contend that viewing power as relational illuminates how customary institutions lose or gain legitimacy as they become entangled with modernity.

Item ID: 60840
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-5991
Keywords: Coral reefs; Modernity; Custom; Papua New Guinea; Coastal communities
Copyright Information: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. The Author Accepted Manuscript of this article is available Open Access from ResearchOnline@JCU, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works (4.0) licence, from 2 November 2021.
Funders: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies), Lancaster Environment Centre, Australian Research Council (ARC), Pew Charitable Trust (PCT), Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH)
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery Grant DP180100965, ARC CE140100020, ARC FT160100047
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2019 00:49
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440499 Development studies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 35%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4518 Pacific Peoples society and community > 451805 Pacific Peoples community and regional development @ 15%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 35%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 35%
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