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Local communities and conservation in the Pantanal wetland, Brazil

Chiaravalloti, RM; (2017) Local communities and conservation in the Pantanal wetland, Brazil. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis aims to develop the understanding of inland floodplain fisheries. It focuses on the Western Border of the 160,000Km2 Pantanal wetland in Brazil, using participant observation, semi-structured interviews, participatory mapping, and a critical exploration of Systematic Conservation Planning meant to optimize land use planning for biodiversity conservation. Following the introduction, study site and methods chapters, the first data chapter presents a description of fishing communities’ social structure, livelihood and history of resource use and occupation. New information on this hitherto unstudied group explores their mobile way of life and their physical displacement during the creation of Protected Areas. The second data chapter analyzes the current management of inland fisheries, examining evidence for claims around overfishing by local communities. The results do not support narratives of overfishing. Instead, fishers’ customary use is characterized by mobile patch use, territory, and reciprocity. These map onto features of this dynamic ecosystem, such as the flood pulse and the presence naturally unexploitable reserves, in ways likely to create sustainable use. The discussion explores why these features may play equally important roles in other floodplain fisheries. The third data chapter discusses tenure and property in floodplains, using as case in point the conflict among Pantanal Protected Areas managers, fishers and state prosecutors over floodplain ownership. A multidisciplinary approach to resource use, access and property, drawing on economics, anthropology and ecology, may help understand tenure in floodplains so as to help management policies mesh better with local realities and resolve conflicts. The final data chapter critically examines prioritization solutions seeking to promote socio-ecological development. Applying Systematic Conservation Planning in the Pantanal case study shows the assumption of fixed set-aside areas is incompatible with the ever-changing nature of the Pantanal and the needs of local fishers. Dynamic socio-ecological systems, such as floodplain fisheries, demand continual adaptation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Local communities and conservation in the Pantanal wetland, Brazil
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: The Pantanal, floodplain fisheries, community-based conservation, Brazil, Land tenure, common property regime
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1551634
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