Social, Institutional, and Knowledge Mechanisms Mediate Diverse Ecosystem Service Benefits from Coral Reefs

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Dec. 16, 2014, v111 n50 p17791-17796; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1413473111) / by Christina C. Hicks and Joshua E. Cinner
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/50/17791.short

Ecosystems provide a range of services that can benefit people. However, the extent to which people are able to harness those benefits depends not only on the supply of ecosystem services but also on their capacity to access them via a range of social, economic, and institutional mechanisms. Here, we examine how people perceive ecosystem service benefits across 28 coral reef fishing communities in four countries. We quantitatively show that bundles of benefits are mediated by key access mechanisms (e.g., rights-based, economic, knowledge, social, and institutional). Interestingly, social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms were associated with the greatest number and diversity of benefits. Resource managers can focus on these access mechanisms to maximize ecosystem service benefits while minimizing human–environment impacts…

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