Images of nature and maps: Translating people's perception of biodiversity and scientific knowledge.
Jax, Kurt*,1, 2, Berghöfer, Uta1, 2, Schüttler, Elke1, Fistric, Sanja1, Rozzi, Ricardo2, 3, 1 UFZ-Environmental Research Centre Leipzig-Halle, Leipzig, Germany2 Omora Foundation, Puerto Williams, Chile3 University of North Texas, Denton, USA
ABSTRACT- Images of nature are expressions of people′s perception of nature in which facts and values, experiences and cognitive knowledge are still closely connected. For this reason they can form an interface for interdisciplinary and participatory work on the evaluation of biodiversity. Since July 2003, these issues are investigated in the course of a German-Chilean research project (BIOKONCHIL) in the very south of Chile (Cape Horn region). This region is one of the few not fragmented temperate forests of the world and is characterized by high biological diversity and naturalness and also a high cultural diversity. On the other hand time economic pressures, such as salmon farming or intensive tourism are recently threatening biodiversity in the region. The project uses ecological theory and the analysis of images of nature to connect scientific knowledge and people′s perception of biodiversity with the ultimate aim to provide supportive information for the decision process of the region′s development. The paper will present the methodological approach and first results of the project. Data on the knowledge of nature were derived by means of semistrutured interviews. The different aspects of biodiversity and the levels the on which biodiversity is perceived by local people were visualized and translated into scientific representations. This serves to clarify the consequences of differring interests and experiences on the conceptualization of biodiversity and ecosystems and to identify some roots of possible conflicts in connection with biodiversity conservation. Also scientific results and their visualizations are used to further the discussion process on the value of biodiversity.
Key words: Biodiversity, Ecological theory, Local knowledge, conservation
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