Shrimp Farming and Mangrove Loss in Thailand

Shrimp Farming and Mangrove Loss in Thailand

Edited by Edward B. Barbier and Suthawan Sathirathai

Through in-depth case studies of local communities in four distinct coastal areas in Southern Thailand, the authors are able to assess objectively the underlying economic causes, and consequences, of mangrove deforestation due to the expansion of shrimp farms.

Chapter 8: The Effects of Mangrove Loss on the Labor Allocation of Households

Edward B. Barbier and Mark Cox

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, development studies, asian development, economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, asian environment, environmental economics, environmental sociology


Edward B. Barbier and Mark Cox INTRODUCTION Since the early 1960s the agricultural economics literature has been investigating the contribution of off-farm employment to farming households’ total income (see Huffman 1991; Lass et al. 1991 for reviews). In more recent years, similar frameworks have been applied to developing countries, where the need to supplement income from farming in low agricultural productivity areas is of paramount importance (Abdulai and Delgado 1999). The focus of this chapter is on the labor allocation decisions of rural households in coastal areas of Thailand whose economic livelihoods have traditionally depended on the surrounding mangrove ecosystems. In this application few households are involved in agriculture per se and therefore the term ‘off-farm employment’ is replaced by ‘outside employment’. Furthermore, the term ‘on-farm employment’ is used more loosely to represent any household production or incomeearning activity that is dependent on mangroves. In this case, mangrovedependent activities could consist of either direct or indirect use of mangrove resources (Barbier 1994). For example, direct use of resources from a mangrove forest may include wood collection, for fuelwood, charcoal production and other wood products, and harvesting of fish and shellfish in mangrove swamps. The household may also harvest fish from a coastal fishery, which is indirectly dependent on the mangroves as a breeding nursery habitat (Barbier and Strand 1998). The trend in farming households worldwide towards outside employment exposes them not only to fluctuations in the agricultural sector but also to changes in the wider economic climate. In developing countries...

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