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Janne Rohe

Institution: Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
Room: ZMT, room 2212
Phone: +49 421 23800 - 115
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Other webpage(s): Janne's ZMT web page
Janne Rohe

PhD project:

Global drivers, local solutions and national support? Inquiring marine tenure systems in Melanesia

The inhabitants of Melanesia have extensive records of close interaction with their natural environment. Customary marine tenure systems to manage use, access, and transfer of marine resources have evolved a long time ago and have been passed on for generations. However, coastal and marine social-ecological systems are changing. Global drivers as well as local stressors are threatening ecosystem health and fish abundance, representing a serious risk for local food security – especially for future generations.

On the other hand socio-economic developments are shifting socio-cultural relations at the local level and challenging customary governance approaches. Enforcement and compliance denote an increasing challenge for communities and their marine tenure practices. Moreover, as legal recognition of and support from the national level for these practices vary, the question about the role and potential of a nexus between local marine governance and the national level marine governance framework arises.

Drawing on a qualitative case study approach, this study will examine sites in the Melanesian countries Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. It seeks to analyze:
  1. Main features, drivers of and changes within marine tenure rules at the local level
  2. (Perceived) outcomes of (changing) local marine tenure practices, particularly with regard to compliance
  3. How local level marine tenure (LMT) practices (dis-)connect to national level marine governance arrangements and which potentials for aligning both governance systems exist - in order to contribute to a more sustainable use and management of marine resources
  4. How roles within and perceptions of LMT systems differ between women and men and how this translates into different behaviour (gender perspective).
This study draws from an analytical framework for social-ecological systems as well as from theories on institutions, governance and legal pluralism. It aims to contribute to ongoing marine governance debates and, in a broader context, to discussions about achieving sustainable human-nature relations, or social-ecological dynamics, in the long run.

Understanding marine governance arrangements and their social and ecological effects can contribute to ensuring long-term food security for fishing-dependent coastal communities in Melanesia as well as to maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. This research will help to identify main potentials and challenges of marine governance at the local, if applicable provincial and national level.

Research methods
Research draws from social sciences methods and mainly consists of qualitative, semi-structured interviews (with resources users at the local level as well as with key stakeholders, i.e. from government and civil society, involved in marine governance at the national and, if applicable, at the provincial level) and focus groups. Secondary data and documents (e.g., national laws and policies, action plans, local management plans) serve as additional source of information.

Thesis committee:

Prof. Dr. Achim SchlüterJacobs University and Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
Dr. Sebastian FerseLeibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
PD Dr. Marion GlaserLeibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
Dr. Annette BreckwoldtLeibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen
GLOMAR Research Theme D