The Coweeta Listening Project (CLP) seeks to translate long-term ecological science relating to (ex)urbanization and climate change within the Southern Appalachians into forms of knowledge that can have meaningful ramifications for a range of “counter-publics”. The CLP is working to address needs of individual ecological researchers and the greater community by offering a project-wide theoretical framework, methodology, and community of practice. The CLP seeks to foster the continued evolution from existing forms of Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) to Long-Term Socioecological Research (LTSER) through its partnership ranging between Co-PIs of the Coweeta LTER and the counter-publics within Southern Appalachian communities. Ultimately, the CLP seeks to improve understanding of the steps necessary for translating scientific results about ecological issues into more democratically produced forms of information that can benefit larger proportions of local communities.
The purpose of this research project is to determine to what extent conservation projects explicitly or implicitly recognize and work on trade-offs. The underlying hypothesis is that few conservation projects, if any, explicitly and adequately identify trade-offs in undertaking their conservation projects, and so in success, in terms of nature conservation and in terms of people’s appreciation, protection or sustainable management of nature is undermined. If the “Advancing Conservation in a Social Context” initiative is to be a success, then a thorough understanding of how conservation practitioners perceive trade-offs (and the challenges they present) within their projects will be critical.
Meredith Welch-Devine, CICR’s Associate Director, is currently conducting research that focuses on how the social context of conservation is perceived in different conservation organizations and how this understanding affects and is affected by the disciplines, approaches, and tools conservationists use in their work. She is particularly interested in emergent strategies, such as linking carbon markets and conservation, and how shifts towards these new strategies affect how social context is understood and which disciplines are considered relevant to the initiative.
English has emerged as a globally dominant language with major implications for the global “knowledge economy”. Though there is wide recognition that the global spread of English has played a major role in shaping relationships between actors in the North and South, the implications of this role are not well understood. For instance, ‘buzzwords’ that originate as part of scientific debate in the North often arrive as mandate in the South, where they are, in turn, used by conservation practitioners to speak back to funding institutions in the North. But what happens when these terms are translated from English to Spanish in the process of implementation?
This research project endeavors to provide a deeper understanding of the implications that this dynamic has for conservation initiatives by focusing on how categories are translated and applied across the English/Spanish language interface. It will proceed as a collaborative project between CICR and SPDA, following the design of conservation initiatives in the US to their implementation in Peru, with a potential case study of a WCS project in the Manu-Madidi Corridor (Peru-Bolivia).
This project is a collaborative effort among social scientists working with CICR and the U.S. Forest Service; we are currently engaged in a set of integrated research activities on (1) social vulnerability to climate change in urban and rural Georgia and (2) the social context of forest-based biofuel development as a component of climate change adaptation in the southeastern U.S. Building on maps and data sets that integrate climate change indicators and census-based indicators of social vulnerability, we are conducting ethnographic fieldwork in several areas identified as being high in both social vulnerability and in current and potential future climatic changes. We are also using the Integrative Framework developed by ACSC in collaboration with CICR to explore the cultural, social, economic, and ecological trade-offs that different biofuels development options present; we hope to find synergies and help identify policy and management pathways towards more sustainable and equitable social and ecological outcomes.
In October of 2008, CICR organized an “event ethnography” of the World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Barcelona, Spain. The WCC is a two week long meeting, held every four years, of conservation professionals and policy makers from around the world. During the first week, the 8,000 participants discuss trends and current issues in conservation as part of a conservation forum. The second week is devoted to debate and voting on resolutions that influence the direction of conservation within the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the next four years. Working with other partners in the ACSC initiative, CICR staff coordinated the research efforts of over 20 ethnographers at the WCC to follow conversations and trace issues during the two week event. Research focuses included biofuels, market approaches to conservation, climate change, and ocean conservation.