Programme > Themes




This three-day symposium focuses on mangrove socio-ecological systems (mangSES) from an interdisciplinary perspective. It will be the opportunity to confront results of the ARESMA project to similar or contrasting projects, comparing methodologies, challenges, theoretical frameworks and management issues.

There will be no parallel sessions and the audience will be highly pluridisciplinary. We thus kindly urge speakers to ensure that their communication is accessible to disciplines contributing to any of the listed themes.

  • Theme 1. Interdisciplinary study of ecosystem services or socio-ecological systems

Inter and transdisciplinary research need a common theoretical framework upon which to build a research design and confront their results. Considering mangroves as a socio-ecological system (SES) helps to conceptualise the interaction between societies and the mangrove ecosystem. This approach facilitates the study of the vulnerability or resilience of the system to different pressures and management measures. It should also ensure that the ecosystem protection, and eventually restoration, is endorsed by the local population in a consistent manner with the sustainability of its heritage. Within this framework, the use of the ecosystem services framework, or the more inclusive ‘Nature’s benefit to people’ framework, can also contribute to improving our understanding of the link and dependency of society on mangrove ecosystems. Critical to this understanding of the link and dependency of society on mangrove is the valuation of multiple ecosystem services (and potentially disservices) as well as the assessment of the availability, knowledge and perception of, demand for or access to ecosystem services. We thus aim for studies that show how the modelling of socio-ecological systems based on contributions from both pluridisciplinary academics and non-academic actors can improve our understanding of management issues; reduce the knowledge gap regarding system sustainability; help prioritize further studies of the system or identify drivers of action. We particularly encourage studies that demonstrate how the interdisciplinary assessment of mangrove ecosystem services can contribute to improving decision-making for the management and conservation of mangroves.

  • Theme 2. Pluri / interdisciplinary outlook on mangrove management

The management of mangroves by competent authorities is often complicated by the overlapping of land and marine tenures and resources. It is often a sectorial management, where forest management, water quality, marine life and even agriculture and aquaculture issues might be dealt with separately. For a lot of countries, mangrove management plans were established late. Up until then, mangroves were informally managed and still are today by coastal communities, when resources are harvested, following customary rules. The conclusive evidence that mangroves are among the most threatened global ecosystems led to develop measures for the conservation of this ecosystem. These measures include the establishment of natural reserves; the prohibition of some practices, particularly wood harvesting; the encouragement of alternative economic activities; mangrove restoration; and more transversal management. Currently, the co-management of mangroves between coastal residents and authorities is encouraged in order to share the establishment of rules of access and harvesting and to restrain pressures on the ecosystem. We seek studies discussing feedback on the evolution of mangrove forest management, its limits, conflicts and successes. Since measuring the effect of management also implies a monitoring policy, the relevance of selected indicators used for this purpose is also a point of interest.

  • Theme 3. Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research having an impact for management, conservation or restauration

As one of the most degraded coastal tropical ecosystems, mangroves are recognized as being in need of improved management and conservation efforts. This need is not only recognised by scientists but also by local managers, environmental associations and even governments. There is a growing need to improve our multiscale understanding of mangrove ecosystem functioning not only for the sake of improving general ecological knowledge but also to provide alternative solutions to simplistic replantation management actions. We encourage studies that present solutions to management, conservation or restauration issues directly based on an improved understanding of the ecosystem functioning of mangroves. The aim is to discuss BEF understanding integrated into conservation practices; assessment of the good ecological status of mangroves demonstrated through the use of biodiversity or ecosystem functioning indicators; or impact studies or restauration assessments that involve measurements of ecosystem processes or functioning.

  • Theme 4. Coastal dynamics and mangrove trajectories

Mangrove settling and the maintenance of their stability depend on the coast topography, sources of sediment and availability rates as well as changes in sea level. The short and long term dynamic of mangroves thus reflect the balance between local hydro-sedimentary processes and natural (e.g. cyclones, sea level rise) and/or anthropogenic (e.g. uses, watershed development) forcings. Mangrove mobility (extension or regression) has a knock-on effect on neighbouring coastal systems by redistributing sediments, modifying the hydro-sedimentary processes and changing the type and extent of vegetated areas. It also has an effect on local populations who need to adapt to a new coastal environment and develop new uses. We seek studies looking to improve knowledge of the geomorphological processes as a means to evaluate the state of mangroves under anthropogenic pressure and to understand future trajectories when aiming for a successful ecosystem restoration. We also encourage studies that link remote sensing tools and spatio-temporal information on mangrove ecosystem distribution, species differentiation, health status, and changes of mangrove structures. Such studies can be based on various sensors, ranging from UAV-based mapping to medium-resolution optical imagery or hyperspectral satellite data.

  • Theme 5. Art, humanities and social sciences: representations and imaginary of mangroves, uses and practices within or next to mangroves, local ecological knowledge

Research in humanities and social sciences is rather limited when it comes to mangroves. Yet, these studies are fundamental for mangrove preservation as perception of mangrove is strongly linked to the practices and uses of this ecosystem. This theme thus aims at highlighting these studies and the theoretical frameworks that guide them. Depending on the livelihood of the population and of the economy of the country, activities on mangroves can either be strongly linked to the harvesting of available resources or mangroves can be practiced as a space of prayer and offering, but also of leisure and discovery of nature. Important changes have occurred in the last decades, and the evolution of the link to mangroves can be discussed. The link to mangroves has also a strong influence on local ecological knowledge from the one learned from experiment and practice to the one acquired by education, training and nature discovery trips. These local knowledges can be in erosion, in transformation or in perpetuation depending on societal and national mutation. Ultimately, the activities and local knowledge related to mangroves will have an influence on the success of conservation policies and thus mangrove sustainability. Overall, we are particularly interested in work on social representation, perception and imaginary on mangroves from literature, coastal population and stakeholders, notably with comparisons between perceptions from different spatial scales or sources.


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