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Commoning in dynamic environments: community-based management of turtle nesting sites on the lower Amazon floodplain

Juarez Pezzuti, Centre for Advanced Amazon Studies, University of Pará, Belém (PA), Brazil
Fábio de Castro, Centre for Latin American Studies and Documentation (CEDLA), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
David G McGrath, University of Western Para (UFOPA), Santarém, PA, Brazil and Earth Innovation Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA
Priscila Saikoski Miorando, University of Western Para, Campus Oriximiná, Pará, Brazil
Roberta Sá Leitão Barboza, ESAC (Grupo de Estudos Socioambientais Costeiros), Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA)/ Campus Bragança, Bragança, PA, Brazil
Fernanda Carneiro Romagnoli, Rural University of Pará, Campus Capitão Poço, Pará, Brazil


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Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) involves a system of local practices designed to regulate access to, and use of, natural resources through rules and norms shared by a set of users. These institutions are usually defined through rational motivations that drive collective action and well-delimited social and spatial boundaries. We discuss the shortcomings of these premises in dynamic ecological systems where the location of resource concentrations is ephemeral. We explore four cases of community-based management of river turtle nesting sites on the lower Amazon floodplain. Despite the high ecological risks, monitoring costs, and limited material benefits, community residents remain motivated to engage in this collective activity. Based on information from numerous studies carried out over a period of two decades, we discuss how motivation to develop CBNRMs has changed over time and space and how intercommunity linkages have contributed to the endurance of this local institution.

Key words

Amazon; common pool resources; conservation; hydrological cycle; turtles

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087