Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation



First Advisor

John R Jensen


This study was designed to gain an understanding of the linkage between development and sustainability of mangrove forest conversion in three coastal communities in Thailand. It presents a methodology that could potentially aid coastal communities in determining sustainable land use conversion approaches by considering the viewpoint of villagers. A remote sensing analysis of Landsat satellite images from 1989, 2001 and 2007 showed the results of a moderate, but sustained shrimp farming industry that only partially exploited mangrove forests. The three villages experienced a range of changes in mangrove forest area. The villagers' perceptions (collected through field surveys) did not match the results from the remote sensing analysis and varied significantly. A logit multiple regression model was utilized to study the factors influencing whether villagers' estimates agreed or disagreed with the remote sensing analysis. Results showed that the only variables statistically significant at the 0.10 level were age, occupation, and proximity to the mangrove resource. There is a widespread belief that one of the main negative effects of the development of shrimp farms is the pollution of water and, as a consequence, the reduction of wild catch. In this study, a majority of fishing households reported a reduction in wild catch, with nearly all attributing it to shrimp farms. A relatively small number of households noted positive effects from shrimp farming and listed these as an increase of income as a result of working at shrimp farms. The most common negative effects identified by the locals were water pollution, followed by a decrease in wild catch, and an increase in the number of mosquitoes. Although shrimp farm developers promised many benefits from this enterprise, very few were realized by the villagers. Integrating information from household surveys with data on land-cover change derived from remote sensing improves our understanding of the causes and processes of land cover change, and the perceptions of such changes. Integrating these two data sources illustrated that while shrimp farms did not have very many positive effects on the villagers, they were not as directly harmful to the mangrove forests as many believed.