INDIGENOUS MARINE TENURE IN A COMMON-POOL FRAMEWORK: A PHILIPPINE CASE STUDY
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Indigenous peoples have lived on and from their lands for many generations in ways that have allowed the natural resources to remain relatively intact. Concurrent with an increase in world-wide designation of protected areas, indigenous people are actively securing traditional rights to their resources. At the same time, conservation practitioners are employing community engagement as the essential conservation strategy to conserve biodiversity and counteract social and environmental injustices of the past. The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, with indigenous people comprising 15.62% of its 12 million citizens. During the Philippines’ 1991 decentralization, the national government implemented progressive environmental and social laws that encouraged recognition of indigenous people’s rights. The Philippine Tagbanua of Coron Island are a traditional, seafaring people who have experienced decentralization’s benefits—the Tagbanua were the first indigenous group to legally control their ancestral waters under new legislation. The Tagbanua are thus an ideal case study on the ability of indigenous people to manage their common-pool resources (CPR). According to Elinor Ostrom’s theory on CPR management, certain sociocultural and political institutions lend themselves to more sustainable forms of resource management. Through quantitative data and policy analysis, I will assess the Tagbanua’s common-pool resource management regime in the context of Ostrom’s framework. I will highlight cultural structures that make the Tagbanua candidates for sustainable resource management and illuminate challenges the Tagbanua face—specifically clear resource boundaries, monitoring, graduated sanctions, conflict resolution, and nested enterprises— in sustaining their marine resources.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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