Stakeholder discourses on urban mangrove conservation and management
Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel
In Southeast Asia, mangrove forest cover and biodiversity has shown a rapid decline in recent decades, despite extensive conservation efforts. Identifying and analysing discourses on biodiversity conservation improves our knowledge and understanding of stakeholder perspectives (including normative values and socially constructed viewpoints) on biodiversity conservation within a specific social-ecological context. Considering these perspectives in a decision-making context contributes to the long-term sustainability of resulting conservation approaches, thus contributing to continued biodiversity conservation efforts in the far future. We consider the urban City State of Singapore to identify and interpret stakeholder discourses -including values and socially constructed viewpoints-on (effective) mangrove biodiversity conservation and management in an urban context. Using the Q methodology, we: (i) delineate and describe mangrove conservation and management discourses in Singapore and (ii) extract consensual perspectives common to discourses as a basis for management recommendations. Areas of agreement and disagreement on motivation, prioritization and responsibilities related to mangrove conservation and management are described based on numerical (i.e. sorting of statements along an ordinal scale) and qualitative data (i.e. structured interviews). There was a large overlap between discourses, suggesting that disagreement between various stakeholders may not be a prominent inhibitor of future decision making regarding mangrove conservation and management. It seems stakeholders realise the urban context strongly limits the range of realistic conservation and management approaches of mangrove forests, resulting in the larger overlap between discourses. Generally, all participants agree no further loss of existing Singapore mangroves should be allowed. The most important recommendations to reach this ultimate objective include indefinite legal protection and increase of mangrove areas under national park and nature reserve status, as well as continued promotion of mangrove's cultural ecosystem services. The identified discourses can inform decision-making by deducing shared stakeholder objectives based on the consensus values and perspectives. These shared objectives can readily be incorporated in decision-making processes on mangrove conservation and management in an urban context.