Mangrove Governance and Tenure: Insights for Policy and Practice from Selected Sites in Indonesia, Tanzania and a Global Review

Published in: Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference

Mangrove forest ecosystems are highly productive, rich in biodiversity and adapted to the harsh and variable interface between land and sea. Despite their crucial ecological and socioeconomic roles the world’s mangrove are on the decline. This paper presents results of a study on mangrove governance and tenure in Indonesia and Tanzania and a review of the global literature. There is a mismatch between the attributes of the mangrove resource (i.e. being both on land and sea) and the legal and institutional frameworks designed and adopted for their governance. Most mangroves are managed by single, mandated authorities such as forestry agencies which for the most part are under resourced. Where institutional design takes into account the biophysical complexity of mangroves, a coherent coordination framework is lacking. Paradoxically, mangrove governance does not demonstrate the diverse management regimes that are characteristic of terrestrial forests even though the systems and rules underpinning their management are drawn heavily from terrestrial settings. Where community rights to mangroves are expanded and formally recognized (such as in parts of Asia and Latin America) positive outcomes for resource condition and rehabilitation efforts are increasingly evident. Gender equity is not considered in any meaningful way in mangrove management.