Call for a collaborative management at Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, Malaysia: An assessment from local stakeholders’ view point

Columba Martinez-Espinosa*, Pieter Wolfs, Katherine Vande Velde, Behara Satyanarayana, Farid Dahdouh-Guebas, Jean Huge

*Corresponding author for this work

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Effective management of a socio-ecological system (SES) requires a good understanding of: (i) ecosystem functionality, (ii) interactions between social and ecological units, and (iii) stakeholder perceptions and activities. Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (MMFR) covering 40,200 ha in Peninsular Malaysia is under silvicultural management (with a 30-year forest rotation cycle) for charcoal and timber production since 1902. The aim of this study is to assess the perceptions of (select) local stakeholders on the ongoing mangrove management of MMFR. Earlier, Huge et al. (2016), using Q methodology, identified three main shared perceptions, called discourses: (1) Optimization- ‘keep up the good work, but keep improving’, (2) Change for the better- ‘ecotourism & participatory management for sustainability’, and (3) Continuity – ‘business as usual is the way to go’. The current study is a follow-up to Huge et al. (2016) and reports on a survey which assessed the degree of support of the local stakeholders towards those three management discourses. The core statements of each discourse were presented as questions and then ranked by the participants. Based on the findings of the survey, the local stakeholders were clustered into three main working categories: (i) charcoal and timber workers, (ii) fishermen and (iii) service providers. The interviews held with 114 stakeholders indicated that discourse (2) ‘change for the better’ is the most popular (supported by 72% of the participants) regardless of the stakeholders’ working category. This discourse voices the involvement of local people in decision making, adopts participatory management, and encourages diverse mangrove-based economic activities beyond mere charcoal and timber production. Single-use management (focusing only on maximising charcoal and timber yields) was perceived as not equitably benefiting all local stakeholders. The insights of this study can guide the managers of Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve to improve the sustainability and the local support base for the existing mangrove management regime, e.g. by promoting diverse livelihood options for the local stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117741
Number of pages14
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2020


  • Ecosystem services
  • Forest management
  • Local-population perception
  • Mangrove management
  • Socio-ecological system
  • Stakeholder involvement


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