Factors influencing community participation in mangroves restoration: A Contingent Valuation Analysis

Stone, Kathy, Mahadev Bhat, Ramachandra Bhatta, and Andrew Mathews. 2008. "Factors influencing community participation in mangroves restoration: A contingent valuation analysis". Ocean & Coastal Management. 51 (6): 476.

The research conducted for this paper aims to define the different economic benefits of participating in a restoration by different stakeholder groups in the community. The proposed restoration project was mangrove restoration in Karnataka state in India, with fishermen, fisherwomen, and rice farmers as the user groups surveyed. The research portion of the paper is not surprising: different groups will help for different reasons. Therefore, to achieve community participation in a restoration project leaders must know what is important to different to each user group.

However, what is most valuable to take from this reading is the shift to understanding an economic model - a cost-benefit analysis - as it applies to community motivations for participation; and the recognition of the distribution of power within a community. That is, managing for the power relations between community groups. It would be easy to assume that different groups act within a participatory process on an equal footing, when in reality it is usual for some groups' needs to be subjugated to the needs of others, depending on the culture and history of the site.

One criticism of the research is of the interpretation of the fisherwomens' survey results. The writers suggest this groups willingness to participate in restoration is a result of this groups greater propensity for altruism. They do not suggest other alternatives - for example the need to supplement the wages of their husbands - and in so doing exhibit a gender-based bias.

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