Collaborative research across boundaries: Mangrove ecosystem services and poverty traps as a coupled natural-human system

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Mangrove wetlands are one of the most threatened ecosystems in coastal zones, and are being degraded globally at a high rate due to human activities. Impoverished and vulnerable populations living in rural coastal areas in subtropical and tropical latitudes tend to be most directly dependent on ecosystem services and hence are directly affected by the degradation of mangrove wetlands and other coastal resources. We formed an interdisciplinary and international team of researchers, students, and professionals to understand the linkages between poverty traps and mangrove ecosystem services in coastal Tanzania, thus informing and contributing to institutional efforts to resolve and avoid these traps. This chapter analyzes the nature of this coupled natural-human system, assesses the challenges to implement an interdisciplinary research agenda as a team, and underscores the practical strategies to overcome those challenges.

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Collaboration Across Boundaries for Social-Ecological Systems Science: Experiences Around the World