Supholdhavanij, Jutha
Oleson, Kirsten
Natural Resources and Environmental Management
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This doctoral research aims to provide insight into what governance arrangements could enhance the performance of Thailand’s multiple-use marine protected areas (MPAs) by analyzing the critical features of conflict resolution mechanisms. Conflict resolution mechanisms, comprised of resource governance, applicable procedures, and institutional arrangements, are essential features of MPA governance, whose resilience is critical to marine conservation performance. Yet the role of conflict resolution mechanisms in developing governance that contributes to the performance of marine reserves is underspecified. Furthermore, more efforts are needed to explore social-fit aspects of conflict resolution mechanisms at the local level to explain the strength of the links toward MPA governance protocols. Based on the single-site case study in Thailand, this research focuses on governance aspects of conflict resolution surrounding dugong conservation management in the multiple-use MPA named the Mu Ko Libong Non-Hunting Area. The dissertation has three main research chapters, focusing on (1) the acceptance of rules, (2) the effectiveness of rulemakings, and (3) the range of third-party roles. The dissertation is structured around three main aspects of the linkages between governance and conflict resolution mechanisms, as described by social fit theory: (1) the appropriateness of resource governance to the local context (Chapter 3), (2) the alignment of applicable procedures for conflict resolution to meet the local need (Chapter 4), and (3) the adequacy of institutional arrangements for conflict resolution at the local level (Chapter 5). In the first chapter, I use the theory of self-determination to analyze people’s senses of acceptance. In the second chapter, I use environmental mediation effectiveness theory to evaluate the extent to which each indicator in a rulemaking effectiveness model exposes the achievement of proposed MPA rules and measures. The third chapter uses environmental conflict resolution theory to investigate the range of third-party roles. The research gathers data through various social science methods, including document reviews and analyses, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, and direct non-participant observations. Each research chapter purposefully selects key informants. The first chapter focuses on twenty MPA residents represented as local administrative organization staff, dugong conservation group members, and coastal resource users. The second chapter concentrates on ten participants of the rulemaking meetings the related government officials carried out to aid facilitation. The final chapter centers on two local support agent groups, including provincial government officials and local non-governmental organization (NGO) workers, as the potential advisory committee serving dugong conservation management in the Ko Libong area. All three research chapters use content analysis of detailed data to uncover the underlying issues of state-local interactions and explain specific context occurs. The first chapter reveals that the MPA rules facilitate community livelihood activities, as reflected by the perception that MPA rules are supportive and provide the opportunity to mitigate conflicts. In the second chapter, the effectiveness evaluation of rulemaking proceedings points out that meaningful responsiveness to livelihood needs with a concern of improving access to resources can decrease potential conflicts from conservation management. The third chapter determines that the institutional arrangement, through the aspect of the advisory committee possessing convening, facilitation, and mediation functions, is adequate to deal with a situation that needs an intervention. Integrating the three research chapters leads to the conclusion that three social-fit aspects of conflict resolution mechanisms at the local level have considerably contributed to developing the governance of the MPA. Particularly, locally accepted rules, effective rulemakings, and present third-party roles were crucial to pushing good governance in addressing conflicts associated with implementing conservation management, which was necessary to enhance the MPA performance. The critical chance that derives from the exploration in detail through the case is the recognition of relations with relatives as a traditional mechanism for gathering MPA residents to give their voices and taking responsibility for conservation according to MPA management. Relations with relatives enable a mechanism of ownership to build a local movement and acknowledge the community as a primary stakeholder in the planning and decision-making of MPA management initiatives. Ultimately, this dissertation grants insight for using a social-fit perspective to examine the governance of MPAs through understanding conflict resolution mechanisms’ contribution to collaborative conservation management. Collaborative interactions between officials and local people through informal and formal forms of legal proceedings can support the critical aspects of resilience governance. Analysis of the implications of the conflict resolution mechanism for MPA governance leads to understanding the bottom-line aspects of the employment of conflict resolution mechanisms in MPA governance. At the same time, the investigation of institutional arrangements for conflict resolution indicates the necessity to outgrow governance paradigms through adaptive approaches that maintain the balance of social and ecological objectives.
Natural resource management, conflict resolution mechanism, marine protected area governance, Thailand
183 pages
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