Neglected ecosystem services: Highlighting the socio-cultural perception of mangroves in decision-making processes

Luciana de Souza Queiroz, Sergio Rossi, Laura Calvet-Mir, Isabel Ruiz-Mallén, Sara García-Betorz, Júlia Salvà-Prat, Antônio Jeovah de Andrade Meireles

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71 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Despite the increasing recognition of the need to conserve mangroves, degradation has continued during the last two decades due to ineffective and non-inclusive decision-making processes exclusively based on economic factors. The purpose of the present study is to give tools to mangrove conservation management and policy, exploring the sociocultural valuation of the ecosystem services of mangroves through a case study in northeastern Brazil, an area highly impacted by shrimp aquaculture. We used a mix of methods to complement ecosystem services identified in the academic literature with those perceived as such by local people. We analyzed these locally perceived mangrove services in relation to community livelihoods, and highlighted that local people identified four additional cultural services related to maintenance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), creation and maintenance of social relationship, personal satisfaction and mental and physical relaxation. This demonstrates that local people have a symbolic relationship with the mangrove forest, which goes beyond the material approach normally used to evaluate ecosystem services. Such findings suggest that the socio-cultural dimension of mangrove services needs to be considered by policy-makers as an indispensable criterion for confronting the key challenges in coastal ecosystems conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
JournalEcosystem Services
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Brazil
  • Cultural ecosystem services
  • Mangroves
  • Policy support
  • Shrimp aquaculture
  • Socio-cultural valuation


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