The term ‘gender’ refers to socially determined roles and responsibilities of women and men and the relationship between them in society. The concept is widely misunderstood and seen as synonymous with women. If biodiversity is to survive, women and men both need to play a role in its management. To examine gender concerns in the use of coastal bio-resources, a study was undertaken in two villages in a typical coastal region in India. An attempt was made to identify the major changes in coastal zone biodiversity, over a period of two decades, during which great strides have occurred in marine fi sheries and aquaculture. A participatory appraisal of the positive and negative impacts of the changes on food and livelihood security revealed that development efforts in general improved the infrastructure for improving income, education and health. Sustainability issues such as the confl ict between paddy and shrimp farming, disease in coconuts, drinking water scarcity and pollution have contributed to deterioration of coastal zone bio-resources and pose challenges to basic household food security as perceived by both women and men. Biodiversity interventions help to maintain bio-resources, provide diverse occupations and ensure food security for the rural poor. Conservation of biodiversity can be achieved through the use of scientifi c innovations integrated with development schemes and linking them with self-help groups of women and men. Some successful biodiversity interventions by research institutes and development departments in the country that have been useful in educating the stakeholders on the importance of coastal zone management and maintenance of bio-resources are also discussed.

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