Demographic variability and scales of agreement and disagreement over resource management restrictions
Tim R McClanahan, Wildlife Conservation Society
Caroline A Abunge, Wildlife Conservation Society
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Conflicts over the imposition of restrictions in common-pool resources management institutions are expected to arise from variations in human values, perceptions of justice, and the disparate demographic scales of benefits and costs. We hypothesized and tested a series of propositions about how the demographic scale and context of common restrictions would influence coral reef fisheries of 4 African countries. We surveyed the preferences and perceived benefits of 1849 people in 89 fish landing sites for 6 common restrictions of increasing severity. Variability in perceived benefits within and between neighboring communities was evaluated to determine how perceptions changed with the severity of the proposed benefit/cost restriction scale, perceived benefits, disparities between beneficiaries, and national context. Within-community variability declined strongly (r
² > 0.90) as perceived benefit increased but was either weak or not significantly associated with the neighbor-community’s variation. Within-community variation was less than between-community variation and differed by nation. There was generally broader scale agreement on the benefits of weaker restrictions of minimum sizes of fish and allowable fishing gear and more disagreement on stronger restrictions on species, time, and space use. Reduced variability was strongly associated with less perceived disparity in the benefits received by local versus government beneficiaries. These findings indicate potential conflicts between neighboring communities for most, but particularly the strongest, restrictions. Consequently, the broadscale management benefits of strong restrictions will need to address between-community compliance and justice procedures. Demographic variability requires coordinating governance and management to account for restriction-specific variability in the perceptions of management benefits.
comanagement; equity; fisheries policies; homophily; social dilemmas; social-ecological trade-offs; western Indian Ocean
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