Socioeconomic Manual for Coral Reef Management
Coral reef management has
focused traditionally on the biophysical aspects of coral reefs - the corals, other benthos, fishes and the physics and chemistry of surrounding waters. Today reefs are coming under increasing pressures from human activities. Therefore, the human dimension of reef management must play an important role in reef management programmes that now emphasise stakeholder involvement, community participation, and cooperative management. This is especially important in countries where people depend on reefs for subsistence and commercial fisheries, shoreline protection, and tourism attractions and yet their behaviour often adversely affects the health of the reef ecosystems.
Reef researchers, managers, and policy-makers recognise the importance of understanding not only the biophysical conditions that determine system structure and processes, but also the social and economic conditions, contexts, and motivations that are associated with their use. As a result, interest has grown among government, non-government, community and research organisations in guidelines on how to assess socioeconomic conditions and how to incorporate this information into reef management programmes.
The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) aims to provide critical information and data on both the biophysical and socioeconomic aspects of coral reefs now and into the future. This socioeconomic manual, which was developed to
parallel the existing biophysical manual (English et al. 1997), is intended for use by coral reef managers directly working on reef management around the world to assist hem with basic socioeconomic assessments in their communities. The audience is the manager who does not have formal social-science training and may use English as a second or third language. Implementation of this manual should be accompanied by training and guidance in how to conduct socioeconomic assessments.
We are pleased to recommend this manual to you as an excellent guide in assessing people who use and affect coral reefs. Hopefully with its use, there will be greater appreciation of how people interact with coral reefs and improved management of their activities to ensure that these marvellous ecosystems will continue to provide sustainable services for communities into the future.