Rebuilding Resilience of Coastal Populations and Aquatic Resources: habitats, biodiversity and sustainable use options (RESCOPAR)

Open water aquaculture, for example shrimp-culture in mangrove forests, generally is carried out with insufficient knowledge of the trade-offs and feedbacks between aquatic resources, fisheries and the culture based production. The changes in coastal landscapes are induced by a multitude of livelihood decisions by farmers and fishers on resource exploitation driven by their capabilities to access local resources, by trade opportunities and by information based in local, national and global governance processes. The resulting degradation and loss of resilience of aquatic resources affects livelihoods, coastal productivity and biodiversity. The RESCOPAR research programme starts by recognising that people are part of dynamic ecosystems and are dependent on the environment for societal and economic development. Therefore, resource management should be embedded in a profound understanding of ecological, social and institutional factors and feedbacks driving the processes of change.

Scope & Objectives

Developing multi-disciplinary approaches to assess and manage resilience are at the forefront of the challenge to address resource degradation in marine ecosystems. An important aim of the RESCOPAR project is to further develop methodologies and approaches that can aid in the understanding of the processes that lead to the loss of social and ecological resilience, the provision of means of access to information and the facilitation of transparent and participatory decision making. At the core will be an analysis of the position, problem definitions and decision-making of various stakeholders and the relation of decision-making with observed ecosystem dynamics and governance processes at various levels of scale. 


The RESCOPAR program focuses on understanding the ecological, social and political dynamics underlying processes of change and possible threats to the resilience of mangrove forested coastal ecosystems. It will concentrate on the interactions and feedback between decision-making processes at different socio-political and spatial levels and how these affect the use, management and conservation of living aquatic resources. This will be done through a number of focused research projects on:

  • Interactions between the coastal marine/mangrove ecosystem and fisheries with the shrimp culture practices;
  • Managing decisions affecting disease incidence in shrimp culture in the mangrove ecosystem;
  • Decision-making by local actors trying to sustain their fish-based livelihoods in these areas;
  • Governance processes understood as all regulatory and commercial processes impacting upon local livelihoods and ecosystem management at various socio-political and spatial levels.


Nine PhD students will be working under the umbrella of the RESCOPAR programme. Their subjects are:

Aquatic ecosystems:

  • Trade-offs in coastal fisheries production, mangrove structure and extent and shrimp-culture in Ca Mau province, Vietnam: a spatial modelling approach;
  • Marine protected areas, shrimp farms and coastal fisheries in the Berau Delta, East Kalimantan, Indonesia: linkages through cascading effects.  

Mari-culture systems:

  • Spatial spread and virulence development of White Spot Syndrome Virus in cultured shrimp, Ca Mau, Vietnam;
  • Disease transmission of White Spot Syndrome Virus in cultured shrimp, Ca Mau, Vietnam;
  • Mechanistic analysis and (possible) optimisation of management measures on pond level and adjacent mangrove forest in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.


  • Decision-making and change in coastal fish-based livelihoods in Ca Mau, Vietnam;
  • Decision-making and livelihoods in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Governance arrangements:

  • Global and local governance in CZM in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam;
  • Coastal governance between decentralisation and trans-national forces in Eastern Kalimantan, Indonesia.