Maggie’s Research in Communities Living with Nature in the Pacific
Many people depend directly on ecosystem services that are provided by nature. Yet, rapid environmental and climate change can threaten their livelihoods, especially for rural communities in Pacific island states. Communities can adapt to change via ecosystem-based adaptation, for example via the plantation or restoration of mangrove forest in response to sea level rise.
Maggie Muurmans (Award Winner 2009) studied the way in which rural communities in Vanuatu think about the management of their ecosystems, in order to identify how ecosystem-based adaptation can move forward. She and her colleagues found that adaptation approaches that reflect traditional understandings of nature, provide opportunities to generate an income, and are gender-inclusive, are most likely to be successful.
This research is extremely important for nature conservation to be implemented and shows the importance of effectively engaging local communities in nature conservation and adaptation strategies.