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Funding Success for Dr Jessica Savage

Dr Jessica Savage has been awarded £16,300 Catalyst Fund to undertake a research project titled "Protected Areas and People : Exploring perceived wisdoms surrounding natural resource management and sustainability". The aim of the research is to design and implement protected areas in Cambodia.

Dr Savage explained the importance of the project:

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are often heralded as a solution to the ever-increasing problems of the overharvesting, and overexploitation of marine resources. While numerous global targets call for the declaration of increasing numbers of MPAs over large geographic areas, there is still little understanding for the impacts of their designation on local communities, particularly in developing countries and the global south.

Marine protected areas aim to alter human behaviour and limit access to the use and extraction of marine resources, such as fish. However, “you cannot tell a fisher in a developing community that they must throw a fish back into the ocean because it is too small, or that they may only catch four fish per day when they have eight family members to feed” (Russ, 2002). The benefits of MPAs are difficult to detect, and slow to materialise, and there is a risk that the current rates of implementation are too fast for the necessary combination of social, economic and environmental consultations needed to ensure community buy-in and adherence to rules and regulations. At present, policy implementation is operating ahead of our understanding of the impacts on communities. Without community buy-in, there is the understandable risk that MPAs will not only fail to meet their management objectives, but also cause social-harm within resource dependent communities, and subsequently impact the perceptions of communities towards future management and conservation interventions.

This project seeks to investigate methods of MPA design, and the mechanisms of implementation in resource-limited communities, in order to determine the risks of social harm; its findings will inform and aid the long-term sustainable implementation of conservation initiatives and MPA policy.

This project examines the impact of different implementation strategies on the establishment of MPAs and community buy-in within three coastal communities.

Catlyst Funding awards are made out of funding received for the delivery of the university of Warwick's Research England GCRF strategy. The project will start on 1 January 2019 and should be completed by 31 July 2019.

Mon 17 Dec 2018, 10:43 | Tags: GSD