Bringing social and cultural considerations into environmental management for vulnerable coastal communities: Responses to environmental change in Xuan Thuy National Park, Nam Dinh Province, Vietnam

Leslie Mabon, Song Tung Nguyen, Thi Kim Dung Nguyen, Thi Tram Pham, Thi Thanh Nga Cao, Thu Quynh Le, Thanh Trung Dang, Thi Huyen Thu Nguyen, Thi Bich Nguyet Nguyen, Hong Ngoc Le, Thi Cam Tu Bui, Ngoc Anh Tran, Mueller Hirth Natascha, Yuill Chris

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3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper elaborates the importance of considering social and cultural factors within management responses to environmental change in coastal areas. The case study taken is Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh Province, Vietnam. This is a marginalised coastal area where rising sea levels, increasing storm surges and saltwater intrusion place pressure on coastal ecosystems, yet where communities continue to rely on these same ecosystems for agriculture- and aquaculture-related livelihoods. We interview stakeholders in Xuan Thuy National Park, connecting these with a narrative review of existing research into social and environmental change in the park to understand research gaps and challenges for vulnerable coastal areas like the Nam Dinh coast. Based on our findings, we suggest that whilst the effects of a changing environment on physical health and economic activity are increasingly well understood, effects on wellbeing and social relations can be even more immediate and profound in daily living. In turn, we argue environmental management has a crucial role to play not only for ecosystem-based adaptation, but also in sustaining wellbeing and allowing culturally meaningful practices to continue – especially in coastal regions where changes can be even more intense and immediate. However, we caution that whilst techno-scientific solutions grounded in environmental management do have significant potential in reducing impacts of extreme events and slower-onset environmental changes, they must not divert attention away from structural issues that can make some people or areas more vulnerable in the first instance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-44
Number of pages13
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Early online date19 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018



  • Climate change adaptation
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Wellbeing
  • Xuan Thuy National Park

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