Title: Wetland Social Characterization and Management
Author(s): April Karen Baptiste
Affiliation: State University of New York
Presented At: STiS 2008
Primary Topic Area: Water Policy
Wetlands are the most important and most threatened ecosystems on a global basis. There is a need for effective management of these fragile ecosystems in order to allow for increased sustainability of these resources. Within the Caribbean region, wetland management is slowly gaining priority on governmental agendas. Several steps have been put in place in several countries that act as a model for effective wetland management in the region. This paper provides a case study analysis of the use and management of the Nariva Swamp, Trinidad. The Nariva Swamp, which is the largest freshwater swamp on the island of Trinidad and the first Ramsar site within the insular Caribbean region, has been the center of wetland management projects. Using interviews and focus groups to characterize the use of this wetland, the results indicate a high dependence on the swamp system for livelihoods by the surrounding communities. In addition, through the use of content analysis and extensive reviews; several laws, policies, regulations and projects, have been identified that are directly related to wetland management in the country. Finally, the article provides an analysis of how wetland management can be improved, not only in Trinidad and Tobago but also in the wider Caribbean region.