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Focus on... Coastal livelihoods

The dynamism of the coastal zone poses special challenges to the management of natural resources in this crowded home to half of humanity. Many coastal environments oscillate between marine and freshwater conditions. Tides and seasonal cycles wash farms and fisheries by turns with river-borne pollutants, salt from the sea and acidity from the soils of drained marshes. In the past century, half or more of the world's mangrove forests - the coastal nurseries of marine life that once lined most of the world's tropical and subtropical coastlines - have disappeared. The rapid spread of shrimp aquaculture in recent decades has received much of the blame for accelerated mangrove loss and impoverishment of coastal ecosystems.

The Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 highlighted how precarious life can be on the edge of land and sea. In this edition of New Agriculturist, we examine the long-term trends that affect people's livelihood in the coastal zone and some of the options for more effectively managing this fragile environment.

Weathering a sea change

Weathering a sea change

To satisfy a growing appetite for shrimp, farmers in the tropics are turning to aquaculture - but at what cost to social welfare and the environment?

Date published: May 2005

Bac Lieu to the future

Bac Lieu to the future

Vietnamese agricultural officials reverse an under-researched land-use policy and give suffering shrimp farmers a second chance.

Date published: May 2005

Short and sweet

Short and sweet

Farmers in a salt-affected district of Bangladesh double their productivity by adopting short-duration rice varieties and making the most of limited freshwater supplies.

Date published: May 2005

An afterlife for Aceh?

An afterlife for Aceh?

Indonesia's Aceh province shows signs of revival four months after its devastation by earthquake and tsunami, but remaining hurdles and dangers throw the prospect of full recovery into question.

Date published: May 2005

The future held in reserve

The future held in reserve

Marine reserves in the Philippines and India provide havens for depleted species, sustainable livelihoods for fisherfolk, and models for other overexploited fisheries.

Date published: May 2005

Mangroves' community roots

Mangroves' community roots

Studies on both coasts of South America conclude that the best hope for mangrove ecosystems is management by the local people who sustainably use them.

Date published: May 2005

Crab culture with a conscience

Crab culture with a conscience

Coastal communities in the Philippines aim to have their mangroves and farm them too by raising mud crabs in watery pens among the trees.

Date published: May 2005

Perils in paradise

Perils in paradise

Small island states in the Caribbean and elsewhere face an array of challenges including stagnating agriculture, natural resource depletion and runaway tourism development.

Date published: May 2005

 

 

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