Socioeconomic Conditions Along the World's Tropical Coasts


The world’s tropical coasts are home to over two billion people, many of whom live in poverty and depend on coastal resources such as coral reef fish for their livelihood, sustenance, and cultural traditions. This report synthesizes data from individual socioeconomic assessments to quantify and qualify regional and global dependence on coral reef resources, perceptions of resource conditions, threats to marine and coastal resources, and support for marine management strategies such as marine protected areas. Data are included from 49 studies, representing close to 14,000 household surveys conducted in hundreds of communities in 27 countries. This information provides evidence of the need to conserve global coral reef resources to ensure food security and contribute to poverty alleviation.

IN DEPTH: Learn more about the link between human health and the environment.

It is clear that declining quality of coral reefs negatively impacts those communities dependent on coral reefs for food, income, and revenue from tourism. However, new coral reef conservation initiatives such as the Micronesia Challenge, the Caribbean Challenge, the Coral Triangle Initiative, and the Indian Ocean Challenge will provide the opportunity to understand better the impacts of developing marine protected areas (MPAs) on livelihoods of people, both positively and negatively. Predominantly MPAs have been shown to bring positive consequences for the livelihoods of local people in the long-term, however it should be recognized that there are often negative impacts on some sectors of the local populations in the short term. These include the loss of access rights to habitual fishing grounds or increased risk of peril of travelling further to access alternative fishing grounds. Socioeconomic monitoring is needed to understand and mitigate negative impacts where needed, such as provision of alternative livelihoods.

Socioeconomic conditions along the world’s tropical coasts There are now six regions throughout the world which are successfully conducting socioeconomic monitoring through the SocMon Initiative: wider Caribbean; Central America; Southeast Asia; Western Indian Ocean; Pacific Islands; and South Asia. In some regions, initiatives other than SocMon have provided the bulk of the socioeconomic monitoring data, such as the Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) network which operates throughout the Pacific and in parts of Southeast Asia. The LMMA network has conducted full socioeconomic monitoring at 49 of their 342 sites. This study represents the first regional and global synthesis of SocMon data.

Download the full 2008 report:

Socioeconomic Conditions Along the World's Tropical Coasts (PDF - 1.89 MB)

Socioeconomic Conditions Along the World's Tropical Coasts Brochure (PDF - 283 KB)

      Socioeconomics; Tropical forest