By: Jamie Pounds Stanton & Tom Stagg
This study in El Salvador aimed to determine the feasibility of strengthening and expanding a local resource management plan, the Plan Local de Aprovechamiento Sostenible (PLAS). The Bay of Jiquilisco and the surrounding mangrove ecosystem in the Bajo Lempa is a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve and a Ramsar wetland valued both for being a large carbon sequestering ecosystem and rich in ecological variety. Further, the nearby communities rely directly on resources from this ecosystem for their livelihood. However, degradation of this ecosystem is threatening both the sustainability of the environment and the livelihood of residents.
Aiming to assess the broader social characteristics of this region, we identified four variables as important to the implementation of local environmental resource conservation policy: effective communication structures, community ownership of the policy, relative economic stability in the region and access to alternative markets and resources.
We conducted 76 household surveys and held over 10 hours of semi-structured interviews, the community leaders and citizens alike stressed the importance of sustainable regulation of their ecosystem. They value the mangrove ecosystem and know intimately that without proper conservation efforts, they cannot continue to survive as communities. Unfortunately, we also found that over 80% of community members in communities where the PLAS has been implemented are unaware of the regulations dictated by it. Additionally, 92% reported that there were no locations where they could acquire alternate materials to sustain their livelihoods. In addition, it was widely reported that enforcement, as well as monitoring and evaluation, was insufficient. Both the community leaders and the forest rangers expressed a need for increased resources, such as technical assistance and funding to train and employ more rangers, and for supplies as simple as uniforms.
We recommend supporting the expansion of the PLAS, but have identified key areas that need improvement where PLAS has already been implemented; if these issues are not addressed, they will also limit conservation efforts in new communities. Community education and investment in monitoring and evaluation are two areas where we are focusing our recommendations. A third recommendation underscores the need for support of established cooperatives in fishing, shrimping, and dairy production, among others. Our survey confirmed a very low level of income in the Bajo Lempa, with 62% of households surveyed stating they did not have dependable work, and 34% reporting a monthly income of $0. Improving the economic conditions in the region can relieve some of the burden of the mangrove ecosystem system as a provider of food and building materials.
El Salvador is one of the most densely populated countries in the Western Hemisphere. It exhibits deforestation rates comparable to those of countries like Haiti. As with much of Latin America, historical land use patterns and ownership have favored large-scale, singular landholdings, for which regulations or management regimes were nearly nonexistent. Today, authorities are attempting to reform and implement a functioning environmental permitting system, even as new investments in sensitive coastal areas will substantially increase over the next five years. The discussion will outline the challenges facing countries like El Salvador with evolving institutions and rule of law concerns. It will consider the role civil society can play in forging real development compliance–no matter the country—and will highlight the work of a visionary Salvadoran community-based organization, La Coordinadora del Bajo Lempa, whose vision and practice of rural development stand in dramatic contrast to conventional ”know-how.”
With the premise that human Buen Vivir is holistic and includes individual, communitarian and environmental aspects. Ana and a group of small-scale agro-ecological farmers of a nested farmer’s market in Chiapas, Mexico have put together a series of qualitative indicators. These were used to assess how selling in a nested farmer’s market contributed to their Buen Vivir. The Buen Vivir elements of the nested market were compared to other types of market outlets, such as conventional produce markets or door-to-door sales.
The results drawn from this research suggested that nested markets have more elements associated with Buen Vivir than conventional markets, such as emotional rewards and social recognition. Nevertheless, these markets also present challenges, such as low profits and discomforts related with social interaction. In the end, this research shows that the assessed nested markets have the potential to fulfill human necessities. social interaction. In the end, this research shows that the assessed nested markets have the potential to fulfill human necessities.
Strengthening nested markets can have beneficial impacts in the Buen Vivir of agroecological famers because they are sale outlets and they contribute to the sustainability of their agroecological production model.
Is an equitable sustainable tourism model possible, and if so how can it be implemented in a way that promotes the rights of indigenous and afro-descendant peoples? Examining the discourse and practice of sustainable tourism development on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. Demonstrating the ways in which the Honduran state, international financial institutions (IFIs) and private tourism investors utilize the language of sustainability to promote tourism development projects that are ecologically destructive, and which threaten the territorial rights and autonomy of coastal peoples, especially the Garifuna.