Wilmot, Fiona Coralie (2014-05). Making Mangroves: Ecologies of Mangrove Restoration in El Salvador, 2011-2013. Doctoral Dissertation. | Thesis individual record
abstract

Mangrove restoration for climate mitigation based in adaptation is a national
environmental policy in the Republic of El Salvador. Rural, resource-reliant
communities are considered especially vulnerable to extreme weather events associated
with global climate change, and mitigation based in adaptation is an intervention
intended to reduce vulnerability and enhance ecological service provision from
mangrove systems. The Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation
(REDD+) program of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) is supposed to provide guidance towards funding sources. Critical scholars
from Geography and other branches of the social sciences have suggested that due to its
similarities to other market-based payments-for-ecosystem-services (PES), REDD+
deepens socioeconomic inequalities in rural communities and promotes poverty, while it
does nothing to mitigate climate extremes. Some scholars have called this \"carbon
colonialism\".

This research examines those claims through a mixed-methods case study based
on fieldwork in El Salvador. It engages the literatures of restoration ecology and the
\"new carbon economy\", and uses a governmentality framework provided by
anthropologist Tania Murray Li to analyze processes whereby ecological mangrove
restoration became adopted, adapted and appropriated in the Lower Lempa region of El
Salvador. Ecological processes include restoration ecology (manipulating nature to reach
a desired state), cultural ecology (use of resources by people), and political ecology (the
ways power relations determine access to resources).

The results show that throughout the mangrove restoration governance network,
people adapt and appropriate knowledge and techniques in order to reconcile state
restoration policy with their own ideological, social and material interests. Within the
context of climate change in a globalized world, I found no evidence to support the
claim that poor, resource-reliant rural Salvadorans were being subjected to coercive
pressure to relinquish territory, or had access to critical resources restricted by the state,
or had been deprived of voice, autonomy and agency in the process of laboring for the
state, as would be predicted by claims of neocolonialism. Although the restoration
workers remained poor and subject to climate extremes, they were not excluded from
benefiting from the restoration process.

etd chair
publication date
2014