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Using dialogue to contextualize culture, ecosystem services, and cultural ecosystem services

Karen E Allen, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences Furman University
Celia Castellano, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences Furman University
Sophia Pessagno, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences Furman University


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We propose an alternative methodology for engaging with multifaceted cultural ecosystem services (CES) in the Global South. We explore the use of dialogue as a tool for understanding CES in situ, while developing shared action steps toward CES conservation among stakeholders. We held six dialogue workshops in the rural Central Pacific region of Costa Rica that were designed to foster understanding of shared community values for ecosystem services and associated conservation challenges. In two of the workshops, we employed model-based reasoning through which we used maps as boundary negotiating objects to nurture dialogue on CES values, observations, and concerns. In four of the workshops, we used photovoice to elicit reflection and dialogue on CES values and changes in ecosystem services in the region. Observations and surveys of workshop participants revealed that the process engendered reflection on ecosystem service values, and community support and enthusiasm for future communal efforts. These workshops demonstrated how dialogue can elucidate local values for CES, while strengthening support across stakeholders for improved conservation actions. We propose that this methodology is applicable in various contexts for improved CES assessment across diverse stakeholders.

Key words

community engaged research; cultural ecosystem services; dialogue; photovoice

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087