During the 17th and 18th centuries, the global expansion of western societal influence introduced a new approach of “centralized” frameworks of natural resource management to much of the world, a centralized decision-making structure inherited as a consequence of medieval public policy practices and guaranteeing extracted resource revenues to colonial powers. Most traditional management practices were eliminated or weakened under colonial administrations or during the intense development eras.
As a result, colonialism often supplanted traditional decision-making structures with top-down decision frameworks that had complete power and control. Many governments in Southeast Asia instituted centralized styles of management even after they won independence, further eroding local communities’ powers.
Even in countries that were never colonies, such as Thailand, explosive population growth and development have eroded the power of traditional management. New technologies, new markets for marine commodities, and increased mobility in the job market have also allowed people to be less restricted to local economies and their particular systems of authority. Populations have also become increasingly mobile, and many peoples do not have a long history of living in particular areas.
With the new climate of technology and growth in the region, traditional management approaches at community levels alone are insufficient to manage coastal resources.