The Social and Cultural Importance of High Andean Wetlands: Addressing the Stewardship Approach for Wetland Management

By Amy Forsgren, Sandra Pinel, Fausto Lopez-Rodriguez and Jose Ramiro Morocho Cuenca.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 8, 2015 $US5.00

The Convention on Wetlands encourages a Stewardship Approach for wetlands management, incorporating local communities in land management and conservation efforts. Understanding local interactions and perceptions of wetlands and primary causes of wetland degradation are required for any successful management plan. Plans should consider that communities or conservation areas are not homogenous and multiple user groups define conservation goals differently. This paper uses semi-structured interviews and participatory mapping to examine how ethnically diverse communities interact with a proposed Ramsar designation wetland system in Ecuador. This research sought to explore locals’ associations with the wetlands and their views of prominent conservation disturbances occurring in the area. Communities are affected by limited mobility due to the geographic nature of the region, which has previously determined their interaction and understand of the wetlands and shaping economic development in the region. Currently road development, more than any other disturbance, will determine the future of the wetland, opening to the region for economic development or creating and understanding for the need to care for the crucial water source in the region. The paper concludes with implications for additional political ecology research in dynamic mountain environments and implications for local stewardship and sustainable development initiatives.

Keywords: Wetlands, Stewardship Approach, Community-based Management

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.13-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 8, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 654.928KB)).

Amy Forsgren

University of Idaho, Idaho Falls, ID, USA

Dr. Sandra Pinel

Prometeo Scholar, Universidad Tenica Particular de Loja, Prometeo Scholar, Universidad Tenica Particular de Loja, guest Professor of Planning, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Moscow, ID, USA

Fausto Lopez-Rodriguez

Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja, Loja, Loja, Ecuador

Jose Ramiro Morocho Cuenca

Researcher, Department of Natural Science, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Loja, Loja, Ecuador