Linkages between changes in land cover (use) patterns, local perceptions and livelihoods in a coastal wetland system in Sri Lanka
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Senaratna Sellamuttu, Sonali; Finlayson, C. M.; Nagabhatla, N.; Diphoorn, L. 2011. Linkages between changes in land cover (use) patterns, local perceptions and livelihoods in a coastal wetland system in Sri Lanka. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 39(4):391-402.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/40461
The Muthurajawela-Negombo wetland system in Sri Lanka provides critical ecosystem services for local people. The wetland has, however, undergone considerable ecological change over the past few decades. A multi-scale, inter-disciplinary approach that combined geospatial analyses with livelihoods analyses was used to assess environmental change in the wetland and the impact of this change on local livelihoods. While a geospatial model was used to determine broad changes in land use patterns in the wetland, an in-depth case study covering one village was conducted, using local perceptions to explore the inter-linkages between environmental change and livelihood systems at the household level. The findings of this study suggest that there have been significant changes in the wetland cover/use patterns during the period under investigation and that these changes have been observed and experienced by local communities. There are differences in local perceptions on whether these changes are for the better or worse. This may be linked to whether the land cover types are directly accessed and used in the household livelihood system, and to the geographic location of the land cover types in relation to the village. The findings indicate the usefulness of adopting this type of approach where both conservation and development needs are considered to address environmental concerns and related livelihood issues in wetlands.