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PeerJ. 2019 Aug 14;7:e7374. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7374. eCollection 2019.

Application of the Ostrom framework in the analysis of a social-ecological system with multiple resources in a marine protected area.

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School of Natural Resources, Universidad Marista de Merida, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.


The framework proposed by Ostrom (2009) has become one of the most utilized tools to address the complexity of social-ecological systems. Most cases use this framework to analyze the systems from the perspective of a single resource unit. However, the livelihoods in several coastal communities are diverse, so that the users interact with multiple common-pool resources, which makes their analysis difficult. In this sense, it is important to identify the key elements of management to achieve the sustainable use of the resources. In this study, we were able to do this in a coastal community where commercial fishing, ecotourism, and recreational fishing coexist. The system of interest, located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, was subdivided by resource type using a multi-method approach to data collection including surveys, interviews, and records review. A conceptual map was developed that shows how the second-tier variables are integrated through the governance and actors with the biophysical system. The actors involved in lobster fishing achieved a more complex governance system, followed by the ecotourism and recreational fishing; the complexity of the governance was related with the equity level of the actors. The analysis revealed the research gaps to develop management strategies and improve the sustainability of the system.


Coastal community; Community-based governance; Framework; Multiple resources; Social-ecological system

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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