New Publication – An Applied Research Agenda for Navigating Diverse Livelihoods in Rural Coastal Communities in the Tropics

This paper presents an applied research agenda for use by livelihood scientists and practitioners to assist with livelihood project planning and management in tropical coastal communities.  There is a growing trend in externally supported projects in tropical coastal communities to introduce initiatives that aim to enhance and diversify livelihoods. Whilst these livelihood projects aim to address the increasing pressures and challenges facing coastal communities, they often fail to fully achieve the benefits envisaged, especially at a broader spatial scale.   A factor in explaining the lack of impact of such projects is often the single sector, small scale (e.g. household level) approach underpinning the project.  Typically, this approach is unable to account for the interactions and feedback among sectors and livelihoods, and across marine and terrestrial environments.

In this paper we develop an alternative applied research agenda to overcome some of the challenges that underpin these sectoral, small scale approaches and improve the potential benefits of livelihood projects.  This agenda emerged from a three-day workshop where an interdisciplinary team of livelihood researchers with extensive experience working in the tropics (the authors on this paper) gathered to develop a research agenda that supports a more integrated and spatially oriented approach that acknowledges the main drivers of change at multiple scales and addresses the complexity of livelihoods and their wider socio-ecological and cultural context.  It combines the philosophy of landscape-based approaches and is based on three foundational activities:

i)    a governance review and assessment

ii)   strategic partnership formation, and

iii)  a diagnostic approach supported by science and shared outcomes

We invite those involved in livelihoods research and practice to systematically implement, adapt, and develop this agenda to progress toward a more integrated, broad-scale approach to project planning and implementation, and share their lessons in doing so. In this way, we continue the path to build a collective understanding of how to tackle current limitations in the livelihoods field.

Full reference:

Diedrich A., Duce S., Eriksson H.,Govan H., Harohau D., Koczberski G., Lau J., Mills D., Minter T., Steenbergen D., Troell M. (2022). An Applied Research Agenda for Navigating Diverse Livelihoods in Rural Coastal Communities in the Tropics. One Earth 5(11), 1205-1215. DOI: