Social and temporal dynamics mediate the distribution of ecosystem service benefits from a small-scale fishery

Grantham, R., Lau, J., Mills, D.J., and Cumming, G.S. (2022) Social and temporal dynamics mediate the distribution of ecosystem service benefits from a small-scale fishery. Ecosystems and People, 18 (1). pp. 15-30.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (4MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Small-scale fisheries are important for the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in low-income countries. Sustainably managing these dynamic social-ecological systems requires understanding links between ecosystems and human well-being: the focus of ecosystem service approaches. However, in-depth exploration of how co-production and temporal dynamics shape ecosystem benefits in small-scale fisheries remain nascent. There is thus an opportunity to better investigate pathways through which small-scale fisheries support food security. To address this gap, we ask how households allocate seafood landings across different uses, depending on supply and season. Using a daily survey, we collected panel data on landings from 15 households on Atauro Island, Timor-Leste, over six 1-week periods across three seasons, representing 630 survey days and 179 fishing trips. We found households mediate the pathways through which seafood contributes to food security. Specifically, the proportion of landings eaten, sold or shared changed with the amount landed and across seasons. As landings increased, households ate a smaller proportion and sold a greater proportion. The greatest proportion of landings were sold in the preparation season, when households save money to buy staple foods. Landings were shared with family and kin, reflecting the importance of seafood for social capital and community food security. Put broadly, households shaped a dynamic and non-linear (not directly proportional) relationship between service supply and benefits. Our findings demonstrate that seasonal context and livelihood priorities shape seafood provisioning benefits in small-scale fisheries. Careful consideration of temporal scale in ecosystem service assessments is critical for sustainable management of small-scale fisheries.

Item ID: 74797
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2639-5916
Keywords: co-production, coastal, livelihoods, marginal change, Small-scale fisheries, temporal dynamics
Related URLs:
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. 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 work is properly cited.
Funders: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CECRS)
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2022 01:45
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4404 Development studies > 440405 Poverty, inclusivity and wellbeing @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4199 Other environmental sciences > 419999 Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410204 Ecosystem services (incl. pollination) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 30%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280123 Expanding knowledge in human society @ 40%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280111 Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences @ 30%
Downloads: Total: 641
Last 12 Months: 10
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page