A socio-economic study of community based management of mangrove resources in St. Lucia

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Hudson, Brett
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The study presented here examines the socio-economic aspects of charcoal production from a mangrove in the Caribbean as a contribution to one project which seeks to fulfill the dual objectives of conserving a locally important mangrove forest while maintaining the production of forest resources by traditional users. The primary purpose of the study is to demonstrate the value of this particular mangrove to the wide diversity of people who benefit from it. Informal individual and small group interviews were conducted over the summer of 1996 to determine the resource management system employed by this group, their perceptions of participation in managing the forest, and to document the importance of charcoal production from the mangrove to their socio-economic strategy. The study indicates that making charcoal is central to the livelihoods of these people, and they are anxious to ensure its continuation into the future. In addition to the importance of the mangrove to individual users, the study attempts to document the value of the mangrove to the surrounding communities through its two main economic uses, charcoal production, and grazing cattle. It was found that the forest provides an essential supplementary pasture for some members of the local cattle industry during the dry season when their own pastures are unable to sustain the grazing pressure. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)