The mangrove: an area to be cleared… for social scientists

  • Marie-Christine Cormier-Salem
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 145)


In the last two decades, fields of research concerned with the mangrove have been enlarged. Analysis methods and tools have been renewed. Mangroves losses and the desire for restoration have stimulated the development of integrated approaches. These approaches — comprehensive, multidisciplinary or whole-system — tend to take into account not only naturalists’ perpectives, but also those of social scientists and managers’. The purpose of this paper is to examine, firstly, the changes in the scientific representation of mangroves; secondly, the place of social sciences in research programs. Information stems on the one hand from a broad review of the literature and, on the other hand, from fieldwork, multidisciplinary workshops and publications about the West-African mangrove coast, conducted in the framework of DUM (Dynamic and Uses of Mangrove) program of Orstom (the French National Institute of Research for Development in Cooperation). This paper argues that, in spite of ecological awareness and widening knowledge, coastal marshes are always mis-understood. Up to now, social scientists’ perspectives are not considered enough, although natural scientists have called for their participation in an integrated approach. More attention should be paid particularly to the relations between mangroves and men, and thereby to the co-evolution of mangrove natural and social systems, so that long-term management can be effective.


integrated approach coastal wetlands man-nature relationships actors representation management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie-Christine Cormier-Salem
    • 1
  1. 1.IRD (ex-Orstom)/MNHNLaboratoire d’Ethnobiologie-BiogéographieParis cedex 05France

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