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The role and interplay between private and public governance within the land-coastal zone-sea interface and the impact on food security

Is it possible to incorporate sea and land borne impacts in coastal zone management (CZM)?

Marine managers scrutinize the impacts of coastal zone activities on marine resources, but often fail to consider the impacts of land-based activities. Land-use change (LUC) leads to nutrient and sediment loading, affecting the quality and productivity of marine environments, often in unpredictable ways. Policies addressing land use, LUC (LU/LUC), coastal zone food security and marine conservation are fragmented and institutionally uncoordinated, unable to address the linkages and interplay between these dynamics. We will address this gap by conducting an assessment of private and public governance operating across land and marine sectors to identify integrated pathways for management actions that address impacts on land based-economic development, fisheries management, livelihoods and conservation.

We focus on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, an ecologically rich ecosystem of mangroves, seagrass meadows and an extensive pan-Caribbean coral reef network, economically important for many stakeholder groups. Over 90% of the rural population is unable to meet daily nutritional and welfare needs and are reliant on marine resources for protein, while the Peninsula faces increased intensity of LU/LUC especially from the tourism sector.

The project aims to improve food security in the coastal zone (CZ) as well as marine conservation through three interrelated steps:

  1. Incorporate place-based data on LU/LUC and private and public governance into a model that represents flows and interplay between these variables.
  2. Prioritise targets integrating land and CZ management (CZM) in collaboration with stakeholders.
  3. Develop a conceptual framework (CF) that explains the relationships and feedbacks and highlights interest preferences, and thus acts as a decision support tool for effective and integrated governance in the CZ. This will enable scenario evaluation to determine trade-offs between economic development, conservation, fisheries and livelihoods.

The project team

Susan Baker

Professor Susan Baker

Emerita Professor, Co-director Sustainable Places Research Institute


This research was made possible through the support of the following organisations: