Tuesday, May 7th, 2019
Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building, Room AME S338
Title: The Costs of Adaptation: A comparative study of marine protected area planning and small-scale fishing communities in Eastern Indonesia
Abstract: The 21st century has been characterized by unprecedented anthropogenic marine environmental change, and by an increasing understanding that such change will only accelerate in future. The movement of concern from academic to political and public discourse and practice has changed both the context and matrix of stakeholders from researchers, government officials, and marine resource managers, to include NGOs, citizens, and activist groups. Indonesia represents an acute challenge in relation to future marine resource management. An archipelagic nation of 17,500 islands, it is the fourth most populous nation in the world, and hugely dependent on marine resources for subsistence and livelihood. Sitting at the center of the ‘coral triangle’, it also hosts the highest levels of marine biodiversity yet recorded. Balancing the rights of Indonesia’s dependent coastal populations with the mandate to protect its increasingly stressed marine environment is an unending and complex governance issue.
This dissertation examines how this balance is being struck in relation to one tool of marine resource management: marine protected areas (MPAs). Through an ethnographic comparison of two neighboring MPA projects in Nusa Tenggara Timor (NTT) province in Indonesia, I document how the planning and implementation of protected areas is impacting small-scale and traditional coastal communities in a context of social and economic change. In doing so this dissertation forwards multiple research agendas. First, it documents the rich cultural practices surrounding marine resource use in NTT, a comparatively undeveloped region that remains closely tied to marine ecosystems. Second, it contributes to the analysis of how external ways of seeing and managing the marine environment impact traditional resource users. Drawing on theorizations of discourse and gaze, it pays particular attention to the narratives and imagery that managers, conservation actors, and local peoples use in their struggles over access to and control of resources. Lastly, this dissertation seeks to contribute to better MPA policy-making in Indonesia, and globally, by documenting challenges and re-examining current best practices of MPA management in a region of intensive MPA implementation.
Committee: Marcela Vásquez-León (Chair), Thomas Sheridan, Larry Fisher , J. Stephen Lansing