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Michigan State University
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Globalization and the Connection of Remote Communities
Home in Awas, Nicaragua
It is commonly said that the world is becoming smaller through rapid advancements in transportation and technology. This is particularly true for people living in the remote and ecologically rich regions of the world, where dependence on local natural resources is typically high. One such place is the Caribbean or Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua where I have been studying, for the past six years, the effects of rapid globalization on household economies and natural resources. Specifically, I am studying the effects of increased market access, migration, and technology adoption on household decision-making as it relates to natural resource use.
Construction of the Pearl Lagoon road
In 2008, the central government of Nicaragua completed construction of the first trans-isthmian road connecting the capital, Managua, with the small coastal village of Pearl Lagoon. The communities of the Atlantic Coast are experiencing great changes as markets open and close, migration to and from these communities increases, and various technologies such as mobile phones, power generators, GPS units, refrigerators, chainsaws, and boat motors become more widely available. Unquestionably there are new opportunities to diversify livelihoods and improve well-being. On the other hand, new markets for marine products create incentives to over-exploit already depleted fisheries, Costeno farmers face growing competition from the Pacific coast, and increased migration of Mestizos creates conflict over communally held land and traditional systems of governance. We are trying to understand these complexities and in particular why some communities and households weather these changes sustainably and others fail. Our investigations utilize household surveys, community focus groups, fisheries monitoring, wildlife camera traps, and satellite imagery.
Below, you can view a slideshow of photographs taken on the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua or visit the project website.