Stakeholder Preference, Dependence and Attitude towards Conservation of Mangrove Eco-System in South-East Coast of India
A study was undertaken to analyze the relationship between mangrove ecosystem and livelihood security of the local stakeholders in Pichavaram Mangrove Forest (PMF) in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, India. Data were collected from different types of respondents viz., i)Â Fisherman cum farmer, ii) Tourist dependents and iii) Tourist. The tourist dependents were found to be better educated and better off with their income compared to the fishermen cum farmer. Â About 75 per cent of the respondents depended mangrove area for fishing. Most of tourists were young and middle aged and also have permanent income. Educated youth showed more interest in visiting places of natural origin. People who travelled by own vehicles had higher visitation rate of 50 per cent than those travelling by hired vehicles owing to the high cost towards logistics.
Â From the analysis it was understood that the visitation rate was inelastic with respect to the travel cost. The fishermen cum farmer and tourist dependents were willing to pay an amount of Rs.688, Rs.643/annum respectively towards internalizing externalities. The catchment area, monthly income, duration of fishing and education were positively related to WTP and were significant. The average monthly per capita consumption expenditure was Rs.799 for fisherman cum farmer and Rs.859 for tourist dependent households in PMF.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â It is obvious that the people who entered into fishing and other mangrove dependent occupations had extensively improved their standard of living. Positive externalities were shoreline protection, increased fish catch and enhanced income, utilization of non â€“ timber forest products, control of soil erosion and water retention. The study comes out with a policy that both the state and central government institutions should protect the mangrove ecology and sea-shore through stringent adoption of regulatory mechanisms. The local social institutions should restrict people from over exploitation and they should provide adequate facilities to the visitors too to encourage the concept of eco-tourism; so that the mangroves would be promoted and conserved significantly.Â
Key words: Mangroves- Willingness to Pay- Contingent Valuation- Consumptive Use - Tourism- Externalities- Travel Cost- Institution.
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