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Vulnerable people, vulnerable resources? Exploring the relationship between people’s vulnerability and the sustainability of community-managed natural resources

Barratt, C and Allison, EH (2014) 'Vulnerable people, vulnerable resources? Exploring the relationship between people’s vulnerability and the sustainability of community-managed natural resources.' Development Studies Research, 1 (1). 16 - 27. ISSN 2166-5095

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Abstract

© 2014 The Author(s). Published by Routledge. Participatory approaches to the management of common-pool resources (CPRs) are built on the premise that resource-users are dependent on the productivity of the resource and therefore have the incentive to act as resource stewards if empowered to do so. Yet many CPR users have only temporary interest in using the resources. Moreover, they are vulnerable to a range of stressors and risks unrelated to resource access and sustainability concerns. Both of these may undermine such incentives. Furthermore, discounting theory posits that high vulnerability shortens time horizons so that vulnerable CPR users might be expected to heavily discount future benefits from resource conservation. We present an ethnographic study carried out in two communities on Lake Victoria, Uganda, where fisher folk face a range of elevated risks to health and security. These immediate risks undermine participatory fishery management but this does not necessarily indicate inherently short time-horizons; for many, fishing and fish-trading are not perceived as a life-long occupation but as a means to generate capital for investment in other businesses. Thus, whether they are vulnerable or not, it cannot simply be assumed that current CPR users will have a long-term interest in participating in resource management. Incentivizing participation in CPR management for long-term sustainability may have to address both people’s wider vulnerabilities and aspirations.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Caroline Barratt
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2015 09:38
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:41
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/12334

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