Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorBeitl, Christine Marie
dc.description.abstractFor decades, the conversion of coastal mangrove forests for shrimp aquaculture in Ecuador has exacerbated harvesting pressures on mangrove cockles (Anadara spp.), bivalve mollusks collected by artisanal fishers for subsistence and commercialization. Bridging human ecology with conventional theories about collective action and the commons, this dissertation explores the intricate relationship between individuals, institutions, and the environment in mangrove-associated fisheries of coastal Ecuador. I use ethnographic and fishery data, statistical analysis, and geographic information systems (GIS) to evaluate the social and ecological effects of customary norms, policy change, common property arrangements, and collective action on the cockle fishery and its mangrove habitat. Drawing on 21 months of multi-sited fieldwork from 2006 to 2010, I demonstrate that the problem of the commons largely depends on scale, characteristics of resource systems and their social histories, and the differential nature of collective action problems. Government-granted community stewardships for mangrove conservation represent new institutional arrangements and ways of valuing mangroves that empower artisanal fishers; however, they have simultaneously created a new hierarchy of access, which may potentially undermine fishery sustainability. Finally, I illustrate how customary norms in artisanal fishing shape spatial aspects of the fishing effort and ensure reliable returns, even in the absence of formal property arrangements often presumed to promote sustainability. Such forms of internal regulation have important policy implications; although they may be undermined on larger scales and in the context of political, economic, and environmental change. I conclude that a more robust understanding of the commons problem requires theoretical and methodological revision that moves beyond conventional institutional and collective action perspectives rarely linked directly to environmental outcomes in the literature. I further argue for a more holistic definition of the commons problem that accounts for the different ways in which resources are valued by diverse actors (determining their exploitation, management, or conservation) and how subtractability and exclusion issues should be analyzed in their broader social, political, and ecological context. This dissertation contributes to interdisciplinary research on the complex causes and consequences of environmental change and provides foundational frameworks for the study of sustainability, environmental governance, and political ecology of the commons.
dc.subjectCommons theory
dc.subjectcollective action
dc.subjectproperty rights
dc.subjectshrimp aquaculture
dc.subjectcoastal landscapes
dc.subjectinterdisciplinary research
dc.subjecthuman ecology
dc.subjectenvironmental anthropology
dc.subjectpolitical ecology of the commons
dc.subjectsustainability science
dc.subjectcommunity-based management
dc.subjectAnadara tuberculosa and A. similis
dc.subjectcatch-per-unit-effort (CPUE)
dc.titleBeyond collective action
dc.title.alternativea multi-scale analysis of sustainability in the mangrove fishery commons of coastal Ecuador
dc.description.advisorJulie Velasquez Runk
dc.description.advisorBram Tucker
dc.description.committeeJulie Velasquez Runk
dc.description.committeeBram Tucker
dc.description.committeeThomas Jordan
dc.description.committeeTed Gragson
dc.description.committeeJ. Peter Brosius

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record