Challenging The “Man” In Mangroves: The Missing Role Of Women In Mangrove Conservation

Alyssa L. Bosold '13, Gettysburg College


Mangroves provide valuable ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, pollution filtration, and protection from tsunamis, tropical storms, and coastal erosion. They also supply coastal communities with important natural resources like firewood, medicine, timber, honey, and fodder for livestock. Unfortunately, the world’s mangroves are rapidly degrading due to rising coastal population, climate change, and destruction for coastal development, agriculture, and aquaculture. Considering their value for the environment and coastal communities, mangrove conservation should become a priority and effort must be invested to find new and successful methods for conserving mangrove ecosystems. As it has proven effective in other conservation contexts, a gendered perspective on mangrove conservation should be adopted. Through review and synthesis of existing literature on gender and mangrove conservation, this paper will show the extent to which gender analysis has been used to examine mangrove conservation and coastal resource management. It will describe the following trends in literature: a) a lack of research focusing on gender’s role in mangrove conservation, b) confusion about the practical applications of a gender, environment, and development (GED) conceptual framework c) little effort to evaluate the success of programs that integrate gender and mangrove conservation. It will make suggestions for future research and encourage further use of a gendered outlook on mangrove conservation and resource management.