Nutrition-Sensitive Aquatic Food Systems: Have Mangroves Been Overlooked for their Potential to Support Gendered Food and Nutrition Security in Indonesia?

Project: HDR ProjectPhD

Project Details


Mangroves provide essential habitats for various aquatic foods, including finfish, invertebrates, and shellfish. Coastal communities across Indonesia are highly dependent on mangrove habitats for food, income, and cultural values. Much recent research about mangroves has focused on their conservation, management, and blue carbon but has generally excluded food services provided through various aquatic foods such as finfish, invertebrates, and shellfish. These foods are nutrient-rich, primarily in micronutrients such as vitamin A, Calcium, Zinc, and Iron. Yet, the contribution of mangrove systems to household food and nutrition security is overlooked in the literature, despite the increasing recognition of the potential for aquatic foods to boost micro and macronutrient intake. This is particularly important in low- and middle-income countries including Indonesia where micronutrient deficiencies are extremely prevalent, particularly for women and children under the age of five.

This PhD research aims to apply a mixed-method case study design to examine the pathways through which mangrove ecosystems and aquatic foods contribute to gendered food and nutrition security in Indonesia. This research has four objectives. Firstly, to examine how mangroves are utilised for food and food-related livelihoods within different coastal communities globally using a systematic scoping literature review. Secondly, to explore the indirect and direct food and nutrition security benefits of mangroves and investigate gendered mangrove-based livelihoods, dietary diversity, and food security in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Thirdly, to quantify the nutrient contribution that aquatic mangrove foods make to mangrove fishers’ household dietary requirements in West Kalimantan. The fourth objective is to investigate whether food and nutrition security or food-related livelihoods are considered in Indonesian governance and management strategies and policies concerning mangroves. The research will provide data and knowledge on mangrove livelihood pathways to gendered aspects of indirect food and nutrition security, dietary diversity, and the contribution of mangrove foods to household micro and macronutrient consumption. Understanding the contribution of mangrove systems to household food and nutrition security will provide a case study on the extent to which coastal communities are dependent on mangrove food services and the need for integrated policies in Indonesia. This project is conducted in collaboration with project partners and researchers from Tanjunpura University in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. The Indonesian NGO Blue Forests also supports

the research. She is supervised by Professor Natasha Stacey (RIEL/CDU), Associate Professor Julie Brimblecombe (Monash University), Dr Shakuntala Thilsted (CGIAR) and advisor, Dr Benjamin Brown (RIEL/CDU).
Effective start/end date25/07/2125/07/25


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