Community-based and collaborative management of coral reefs and coastal resources in Palau

Elizabeth Matthews, University of Rhode Island


This study examines community-based and collaborative management of coral reefs in Palau through three manuscripts, each examining particular coastal resource management activities at a different scale of partnership and interaction: local protected area management at the state level, ecosystem management at the inter-state level, and migratory species (marine turtles) management at the state/national government level. In each instance, the social context of resource management was described using factors drawn from Richard Pollnac's Rapid Assessment of Management Parameters (RAMP) for coral reefs, among others. Ethnographic methods, especially key informant interviews and targeted questionnaires, were used in this study. A comparative analysis was conducted of the results of the three studies. Key findings of these studies are: (1) community participation ranges from the oneway flow of information about a previously established project to partnership with shared decision-making authority. None of the cases examined in this study was a fully community instigated and run initiative. (2) Partnerships form in response to a lack of capacity in state and national governments, and because of a recognized need for the national government to coordinate with the resource owners at the state or community level. (3) Changes in the nature of environmental, cultural and traditional settings may impact local communities' ability to manage their resources. (4) There was a surprising lack of incorporation of traditional knowledge and management into the cases examined. The study also found practical implications that relate to the following: (1) the applicability of traditional management methods in contemporary Palauan resource management programs; (2) a need to enhance coordination and collaboration among co-management partners; (3) emerging partners and partnerships; (4) need to address conflict resolution mechanisms for resource management; and (5) alleviating the burden of responsibility through effective partnerships. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Oceanography|Environmental Sciences

Recommended Citation

Elizabeth Matthews, "Community-based and collaborative management of coral reefs and coastal resources in Palau" (2007). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3284827.