Eliciting local knowledge of ecosystem services using participatory mapping and Photovoice: A case study of Tun Mustapha Park, Malaysia

Voon Ching Lim, Eva Vivian Justine, Kamila Yusof, Wan Nur Syazana Wan Mohamad Ariffin, Hong Ching Goh, Kamal Solhaimi Fadzil

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Protected areas in Malaysia have always been managed using top-down approach that often exclude the local communities, who are the main users of ecosystem services, from the planning and management. However, a newly established multiple-use marine park in Malaysia, Tun Mustapha Park (TMP), aims for inclusivity in managing the park. This research explores different participatory approaches (i.e. participatory mapping and Photovoice) to understand the ecosystem services and the dynamics surrounding the services in TMP. Community-based organisations and a mariculture farm in TMP were invited to participate in this work. The participants mapped the ecosystem services and provided in-depth qualitative data that supported the maps, besides highlighting ecological, sociocultural and economic issues surrounding the ecosystem services. Furthermore, the participants provided suggestions and recommendations that carry political effects. Therefore, the participatory approaches employed here had provided rich visual and spatial data to enhance the ecosystem-based management of TMP besides empowering the participants to voice out for their communities. The results generated from this work were also further utilised to fill in the gaps of knowledge in a separate ecosystem service assessment matrix. However, the output from participatory approaches should not be considered as the ultimate outcome but rather as supplement to the planning and management of TMP due to potential human errors and biases. Although the participatory approaches came with limitations and challenges that may have affected the findings here, these nonetheless had provided support to the capability of local communities to provide information crucial for management of protected areas as well as room for improvement for further work.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0253740
Number of pages27
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021

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