Relationships between livelihoods, well-being, and marine protected areas: evidence from a community survey, Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve, Kenya

Anna L. Harker, Tim Stojanovic*, A.M. Majalia, C. Jackson, S. Baya, K. Dadley Tsiganyiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

At a time of massive expansion of Marine Protected Areas, there is a need to learn more about their sustainability and success. This study draws on a framework which operationalizes three-dimensions of well-being: material, relational, and subjective, in order to measure the range of benefits and disbenefits experienced by local communities from protected areas. 308 respondents from two coastal Kenyan villages adjacent to the Watamu Marine National Reserve participated in a telephone survey in June and July 2020. The study recorded varying levels of dependency on the marine environment for the livelihoods of residents. A key finding of this study was that benefits reported by participants consistently exceeded disbenefits. A principal components analysis identified that the number of benefits and disbenefits experienced explained the most variance within the dataset. The benefits and disbenefits reported contributed to each dimension of human well-being. The highest ranked benefits reported contributed to subjective well-being (‘better health’, and ‘ability to enjoy a clean and healthy creek and ocean’), and the most frequently reported disbenefits related to relational and material well-being (for instance ‘increased conflict and social tension’ ‘increased poverty’, ‘fewer supplies of food’). Practical local conservation efforts can address relational disbenefits through better partnership working, and material disbenefits by supporting pro-conservation, alternative livelihoods. The findings demonstrate the relevance of understanding social trends for marine protected area governance and management. The paper offers insights into how fundamental relations between protected marine environments, livelihoods, and well-being may affect the perceptions and success of conservation initiatives amongst local communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-513
Number of pages24
JournalCoastal Management
Volume50
Issue number6
Early online date12 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Governance
  • Protected areas
  • Well-being

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