Synthesis of Environmental Research Knowledge: The Case of Paraguayan Pantanal Tropical Wetlands

  •  Luca Eufemia    
  •  Michelle Bonatti    
  •  Stefan Sieber    


The Paraguayan Pantanal offers a valuable case of research regarding natural resource management in tropical wetlands. It is one of the world´s largest wetland of globally important ecological and cultural value that is threatened from environmental exploitations. Paradoxically, this area is rarely scientifically investigated. Therefore, in this paper, this case was chosen to identify literature indirectly related to the area and to highlight the dominant research trends and corresponding gaps. This research was conducted to cluster the available science-based research of Pantanal´s tropical wetlands in order to advocate for more environmental governance focus. Concepts used in the scientific literature of the Paraguayan Pantanal were extrapolated and summarized in category system. A cluster framework of 12 variables of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) was classified into three main search-categories: community engagement and participatory approach (CEPA), natural resources management (NRM) and framework developed (FD). The frequency of different categories demonstrates the natural science´s perspectives dominate over human sciences and humanities. Most of the Paraguayan Pantanal has been studied with regard to its ecological, biological and physical properties. The development of research interest over time and the primary focus on ecological baseline conditions are related to its designation as a Ramsar Site, an UNESCO tentative World Heritage Site and the orientation of national policies towards either environmental protection or regional economic development. A substantial research gap was identified in the FD as studies tended to link their findings to human activities but disregarded the connection between governance variables, natural resource and environmental developments. It is suggested to expand the natural science´s perspective on Paraguay´s wetlands to account for economic, social and political aspects in order to develop a holistic and environmentally sustainable production of science in and about the area.

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