The ESPA Annual Science Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya from the 17th to the 18th of November. Several members of the SPACES team were in attendance, including Tim Daw, Kate Brown, Caroline Abunge, Salomao Bandeira, Caroline Abunge, Christopher Cheupe, Julio Machele, Vera Julien, Bernard Owuor, Tomas Chaigneau, Kate Brown, and Kairo Gitundu. Tim, Kate, and Caroline also presented their recent papers. The abstracts to their papers and presentations can be found below.  

SPACES at ESPA Science Conference


After the conference, part of the SPACES team met with Sam Mwangi to discuss how to make impact with SPACES research. It was an inspiring talk with lots of positive ideas being put forward. The team is currently brainstorming of how to best used Sam’s advice to have positive impact. Here you can see members of the team discussing strategies and who to target with impact “bullets” as Sam put it.


Katrina Brown, University of Exeter

The gendered nature of ecosystem services

This paper discusses the extent to which pour conceptualisation, understanding and empirical analysis of ecosystem services are inherently gendered; in other words, how they might be biased and unbalanced in terms of their appreciation of gender differences. We do this by empirically investigating how women and men are able to benefit from ecosystem services. This highlights the different dimensions of wellbeing affected by ecosystem services, and how these are valued by men and women. But it is not just the division of ecosystem services costs and benefits that is gendered. Using the heuristic device of the ecosystem wellbeing chain proposed by Daw et al. (2016), we show how links in the chain are gendered. We conclude that this gendered understanding of ecosystem services is important not just for how ecosystem services are conceptualised, but also for the development and implementation of sustainable and equitable policy and interventions.

Click the link to view Kate’s presentation, The gendered nature of ecosystem services.

Tim Daw, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Beyond landings—how do fisheries contribute to the lives of the poor?

Fisheries are a link between marine ecosystems to the wellbeing of poor coastal communities. The importance of fisheries for livelihoods, income and nutrition is increasingly recognised, while links to cultural services through place identity, and social interactions have also been explored. Policy discourses in East Africa ocean focus on enhancing production and catch value, by rebuilding stocks, or enhancing fishing technology. Drawing from the transdisciplinary SPACES project, we integrate data on fish stocks, landings, wellbeing, cultural significance, fishing activities, incomes, fish consumption, food security and household livelihoods across contrasting peri-urban and rural sites in Kenya and N. Mozambique. We use the SPACES conceptual framework to understand how marine ecosystems, through fisheries, contribute to the wellbeing of different people on the E. African coast. This detailed mapping of the processes that link fish stocks to the wellbeing of different people idenƟfies that abundance or productivity of a fisheries resource may not be the critical determinant of its contribution to wellbeing, particularly for the poorest. Thus increasing stocks or production is not guaranteed to improve wellbeing, and other innovations or ‘policy levers’ may enhance fisheries’ contribution to the wellbeing of the poor.

Click the link to view Tim’s presentation, Beyond landings – how do fisheries contribute to the live of poor?.

Caroline Abunge, Wildlife Conservation Society, Kenya

The changing contribution of different forms of tourism to local livelihoods during a period of crisis

Nature-based tourism can make important contributions to local livelihoods, alleviating poverty and enhancing wellbeing. It can take many different forms (e.g. luxury high-end tourism or budget backpacker tourism), and these can differ in their poverty impacts. For example, forms of tourism differ in the type and scale of benefits they can provide, the factors determining access to such benefits and their resilience to different forms of shock. These phenomena have been studied in isolation in various places, but not together. In this study, we use data from the ESPA SPACES project to examine the contribution to local livelihoods of two different coral-reef based tourism value chains on the coast of Kenya, both before and during a major tourism crisis triggered by terrorist attacks. One value chain is based on relatively high-value tourism organised through vertically integrated and well capitalised companies that offer complete packages for visitors. The other is based on relatively low-value tourism organised through a large number of small scale local actors that each offer a single service to tourists. Our results demonstrate that while both forms of tourism make important contributions to local livelihoods, the low-value form is more resilient in the face of a tourism crisis.

Click the link to view Caroline’s presentation, The changing contribution of different forms of tourism to local livelihoods during a period of crisis.