Together, rapid population growth, increased commercialization and exploitation of aquatic resources, deforestation and pollution, and encroachments on communally owned resources by national and transnational private interests are placing the world's coastal regions under enormous pressure. One example is the Pearl Lagoon estuary, the main basin on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. This book provides detailed insight into the problems of the Pearl Lagoon and presents alternatives for more effective management of its natural resources. It documents a new approach to the study and future management of a complex resource system in a politically demanding environment. The authors argue for earlier and greater involvement of community groups. They emphasize the need for persistence and the importance of interdisciplinary research in developing sustainable solutions to natural-resource-management problems. Taking Care of What We Have will interest researchers, scholars, and students in natural resource management and development studies; donors, development organizations, and development practitioners working in the areas of natural resource management and participatory action research; and community leaders and NGOs in developing countries that work on natural-resource-management issues.