Abstract

To examine the observations of fishermen regarding the impact of a hurricane on a mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific, twenty-two structured interviews using an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach were conducted in four villages of the Teacapán-Agua Brava lagoon-estuarine system. The local fishermen were asked to assess the likelihood that a mangrove tree would not survive a hurricane based on three attributes: main stem condition, diameter of main stem and species. The results suggest a high degree of consistency amongst the villages and with the observations of a previous investigation using the traditional scientific data collection methods. With few exceptions, the fishermen indicated that large diameter trees were the most susceptible to hurricanes. Conversely, that black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and an intact main stem condition would indicate a better likelihood of surviving such an event. From the results of this investigation, it is suggested that the use of the AHP method can facilitate in the collection and interpretation of local ecological knowledge by scientists. Moreover, the output of this procedure, the vector of weights, can be used for comparison with scientific data collected by traditional means and for comparison with the observations of local peoples from other geographical locations.

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