Ecosystem Functions and Services and Sustainable Livelihood of the Wetlands Communities
Sustainable development is closely associated with sustainable livelihoods. For development to be sustainable, it must create and preserve sustainable livelihoods. Sustainable Livelihood is an approach to leading fulfilling, productive and environmentally responsible lives; by balancing our economic, cultural and environmental needs, to meet the needs of all generations. But a prerequisite to sustainable livelihoods is the absence of poverty. Poverty is prevalent among the Malaysia wetlands communities, the major factor being weaknesses in human, social, physical, natural, and financial capitals. Many parts of the ecologically sensitive areas are being converted to urban areas, industrial, tourism and aquaculture; causing damages and disruption to the ecosystem functions and services. Under such a scenario how would these communities sustain their livelihood? How best can the community adopts the “sustainable living” concept? An economic valuation of the natural resources available in Setiu Wetlands revealed that the services provided by the ecosystem do not contribute to the economic wellbeing of the local communities. Therefore other strategies must be used to ensure a sustainable livelihood of the ecology based communities. The Sustainable Livelihood Framework can be employed in order to reduce poverty in the wetlands.
Keywords: Wetlands, Economic Valuation, Sustainable Livelihood Framework
Dr. Nik Fuad b. Nik Mohd Kamil
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu