Transformations in the sociocultural values and meanings of reefs and resources on Mwoakilloa
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- Oles, B. Coral Reefs (2007) 26: 971. doi:10.1007/s00338-007-0225-y
People have been living on Mwoakilloa, a coral atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), for well over a millennium. Foreign interlopers, colonial governments, global commerce, and a host of internal and external forces have all played a role in shaping the uses, values, and meanings assigned to the atoll, its reefs, and its resources. This paper explores the changing relationships among the people and reefs of Mwoakilloa, highlighting the multiple, co-existing, and sometimes competing meanings and values assigned to atoll resources. It emphasizes the point that even in a small, ethnically homogeneous population there exists a diversity of meanings associated with reef resources that are dependent upon wider socioeconomic contexts. Identifying the sources of these cultural meanings is critical for understanding behaviors toward and uses of reef resources, the status and application of traditional ecological knowledge, and the success and failure of local management measures on Mwoakilloa.