Hugé, Jean, Katherine Vande Velde, Francisco Benitez-Capistros, Jan Harold Japay, Behara Satyanarayana, Mohammad Nazrin Ishak, Melissa Quispe-Zuniga, Bin Husain Mohd Lokman, Ibrahim Sulong, Nico Koedam, & Farid Dahdouh-Guebas (2016 December). Mapping discourses using Q methodology in Matang Mangrove Forest, Malaysia. Journal of Environmental Management, 183(3), 988-997. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.09.046)

Abstract: The sustainable management of natural resources requires the consideration of multiple stakeholders’ perspectives and knowledge claims, in order to inform complex and possibly contentious decision-making dilemmas. Hence, a better understanding of why people in particular contexts do manage natural resources in a particular way is needed. Focusing on mangroves, highly productive tropical intertidal forests, this study’s first aim is to map the diversity of subjective viewpoints among a range of stakeholders on the management of Matang Mangrove Forest in peninsular Malaysia. Secondly, this study aims to feed the reflection on the possible consequences of the diversity of perspectives for the future management of mangroves in Malaysia and beyond. The use of the semi-quantitative Q methodology allowed us to identify three main discourses on mangrove management: i. the optimization discourse, stressing the need to improve the current overall satisfactory management regime; ii. the ’change for the better’ discourse, which focuses on increasingly participatory management and on ecotourism; and iii. the conservative ‘business as usual’ discourse. The existence of common points of connection between the discourses and their respective supporters provides opportunities for modifications of mangrove management regimes. Acknowledging this diversity of viewpoints, reflecting how different stakeholders see and talk about mangrove management, highlights the need to develop pro-active and resilient natural resource management approaches.

Jean Hugé <jean.huge@ulb.ac.be> is with the Systems Ecology & Resource Management Unit, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

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