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Livelihood Diversification and Sustainability: Understanding Fishing, Farming and Resource Management in the Senegal River Delta
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Over the past three decades scholars and practitioners have looked to livelihood diversification as a strategy for sustainable resource exploitation and improved wellbeing. Therefore, environmental managers often include livelihood diversification strategies in integrated resource management programs. However, as the success rate of these approaches falls short of expectations, questions about the conditions under which they generate and sustain positive outcomes have become critical. The goal of this study is to address some of these questions using the case study of three communities in the transboundary biosphere reserve of the Senegal River Delta, in Senegal and Mauritania. Specifically, it focuses on the combination of fishing, farming and resource management policies as a mechanism to facilitate the emergence of sustainable resource exploitation and improve local livelihoods. The research objectives include understanding: 1.The institutional and socioeconomic factors that help create the conditions for sustainable resource exploitation. 2. The contribution of farming in fishing livelihoods. 3. The processes that enable men and women in fishing communities to participate in farming activities. The fieldwork was conducted over a period of 11 months in 2013-2015. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered using multiple data collection methods, including household surveys, semi-structured interviews, key informant interviews and participant observations. The study demonstrates that integrated resource management plans must design institutions that create a consensus and a sense of resource ownership among resource users, and provide support for local livelihoods. It also indicates that diversification intervention that focuses on enhancing already existing livelihood strategies, rather than introducing new ones (e.g. ecotourism), can be more effective at strengthening the conditions for sustainable resource exploitation. Furthermore, the findings provide evidence that the economic contribution of women to the household influences decisions about fishery resource exploitation. Therefore greater effort should be put in place to enhance the economic contribution of women in fishing communities, taking into account gender-based limitations such as access to farm labor and organizational capacity. Furthermore, building livestock assets and improving access to land, credit and technical knowledge can also serve as mechanisms to strengthening the socio-economic conditions for sustainable resource exploitation and improve the livelihood security of fishing communities.
sustainable resource exploitation
Senegal River Delta
Sene-Harper, Aby Lat Soukabe (2016). Livelihood Diversification and Sustainability: Understanding Fishing, Farming and Resource Management in the Senegal River Delta. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from