Rapid declines in mangrove habitat have led the Indonesian government to initiate mangrove restoration and replantation projects across the Indonesian archipelago. However, the swift promotion of these efforts often fails to consider the established historical land use practices of diverse local communities and the project’s restriction of local access to valuable natural resources. In response to this problem my research sought to better understand local communities’ historical use and management of their coastal environment through the investigation of changing property rights regimes and historic mangrove management strategies. The project focused on coastal management strategies in communities in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Qualitative and ethnographic data was collected through the use of archival research, semi-structured interviews and participatory observation. Ultimately, this research sheds light on the intricate web of social, political, and environmental interactions within resource-reliant coastal communities. Furthermore, it provides evidence of the impacts and inadequacies of large-scale environmental management approaches on the unique and diverse needs of local coastal communities and their respective complex natural environments.