Ethnoecology: Stakeholder Perceptions and Use of Andean Landscape Maps and Models
University of Georgia
Auburn University; Iowa State University
Virginia Nazarea; Robert Rhoades
Bryan Duncan; Cornelia Flora; Jan Flora
The ethnoecology project seeks to describe and analyze perceptions and understandings of the landscape for people in two communities in Ecuador
(Nanegal and Cotacachi) and to compare them with the scientific data relative to that landscape. On a finer level, it aims to disaggregate and compare local perceptions intraculturally, i.e., between people belonging to different classes, between men and women, and between indigenous people and newcomers to the communities. The goal is to infuse scientists’ environmental assessments and ”future scenarios” with a grounded understanding of local realities. Learning how to understand a negotiated watershed management process, and developing research and training publications to extend the experience, is the essence of this project.
This project aims to complement biological and economic research by focusing on interrelationships with significant sociocultural variables extant in the landscape. The specific objectives are: 1. To map local realities and stakeholder perceptions as input to a ''future sce- narios'' planning exercise. 2. To ''ground truth'' or double check scientific models, rules, and predictions regarding land use change compared to what is happening on the ground. 3. To put Decision Support Information to use by supporting local initiatives in biodiversity conservation emphasizing the role of local youth and women.