Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Living in the edge: Community based governance in the aquatic terrestrial zone
by Dammann, Nancy M., Ph.D., Columbia University, 2009, 195; 3373710
Abstract (Summary)

Academic and practical debates regarding community-based or common-pool management and governance (CBG) have been polemic, sometimes violent, and have widespread ramifications regarding livelihoods and landscapes. This dissertation, based on research begun in 1996 in nine rural communities, elucidates some of the factors that drive CBG in the aquatic-terrestrial zone of the Peruvian Amazon and the landscape level effects of these decisions. Focusing on fisheries, but including data regarding the entire landscape, this work aims to contribute an analysis of the current dynamics and to spur more nuanced conversation and policies. This work also aims to contribute to practical discussions regarding fisheries governance, to the growing evidence regarding declining fisheries, and to the literature examining concepts of landscape and landscape dynamics.

Analyses draw on data gathered through household surveys conducted in 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2007, interviews, fishing journals, direct observation of 1815 fishing journeys including measurement of fish catch, and demographic and fisheries landing statistics from the Peruvian government.

In the study communities, extractive activities, particularly fishing, provide the basis of household income; however, while an increasing number of residents rely on fishing for both subsistence and income, mean annual household income from fishing activities is declining, and the entire system appears increasingly vulnerable to fluctuations.

Based on analyses of catch per unit effort, average size of fish, and average trophic level of catch, this study demonstrates a statistically significant decline in the Peruvian Amazon's fisheries. CBG efforts moderated but did not erase these trends. While the cause of these trends has not been determined, they raise significant concern.

Finally, within the study communities, two of the main drivers of CBG are the perceived need to create and maintain landscape level resiliency and desire to create a stronger regional level voice with which to attract regional and national support.

This study highlights the importance of the declining fishery, the need for analyses of CBG efforts to be made without a priori assumptions, and importance of developing policies that coordinate between community, regional, and national institutions and that are flexible and dynamic enough to respond to the complex and changing landscape.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pinedo-Vasquez, Miguel
Commitee:
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Ecology, Aquatic sciences
Keywords: Aquatic-terrestrial zone, Community-based governance, Multispecies fisheries, Peruvian Amazon
Publication Number: 3373710
ISBN: 9781109344950
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