Community Resource Management

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Community Resource Management

The governance of natural resources, such as water and land, occurs at multiple scales from international environmental agreements to local customs. Community resource management is a process tailored to the needs and traditions of local groups, which aims to create equitable and sustained access to natural resources, while minimizing damage to ecosystems on which they depend.

The creation of management plans that value community voices is a complex process that requires understanding the intersections of policy, ecosystem dynamics and cultural customs at multiple scales. SFS programs provide an immersive experience that allows this depth of understanding and the opportunity to help develop management plans for the long-term sustainability of natural resources near our Centers.



Students examine the role of NGOs in restoration, research, and monitoring of ecosystems and threatened species. Our research provides scientific data to help the community and local decision makers involved in rainforest restoration and management and the development of sustainable communities and industries. We have assisted community members with propagating, planting, and maintaining more than 15,000 trees over the last few years to restore degraded forests, improve water quality, and sequester carbon.


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Community rights are examined in relation to conservation projects, as students consider community rights to participate in conservation and the ethics and governance of community-based approaches. Students study conservation issues that are closely linked to community rights such as land grabbing and land-use planning without community consultation. Students visit conservation projects with community involvement, visit community-based ecotourism projects, and meet community members who discuss communal land-rights issues.


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Assessing the feasibility and ecological viability of community resource management and habitat conservation options, including their associated socioeconomic implications, brings students face-to-face with the real-life dilemmas that challenge residents of South Caicos. We explore the social, economic, cultural, and ecological costs and benefits of various approaches to marine management, including in relation to the governance of protected areas.


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