How local communities value natural resources
Today’s society is gearing towards a more global concern about the environment. Although the concerns are at the global level actions are often focused at the local level. Local actions, repeated across communities, are thought to have regional and global impacts. Slogans such as “Act local, think global” reinforce this idea. Understand how local communities perceive and value their surrounding environment and its resources can ensure more synergistic outputs for global programmes. This research aims to understand how local communities in the Maldives value their reef resources. Conducted in seven communities in the Maldives, this research uses a qualitative approach to infer the reef values. In this respect, interactions with sand and coral, reef fish and scads from the reef environment were investigated. This exploration of reef values show that multiple reef values exist and they are constantly changing. How communities interact with the resources and how the communities itself had changed over time contribute to this change in resource value. A most notable change impacting reef values is the migration of families to the capital. Thus, reducing their interactions both with the reef environment and other community members. Another important change is the development of a predominantly globalised worldview among the present generations caused by the current globalised education. Local worldviews are being negated at the expense of concern for the global environment. In this new worldview, the sacred is separated from the secular. These findings regarding local values towards reefs can be useful to guide better environmental management and policy planning.
Part 1: How can we value coral reefs?
Part 2: Reef resource use at island scale
Part 3: Values are changing
Part 4: Factors influencing resource use
Part 5: Looking beyond changing values
Part 6: Questions & Answers
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