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Sea otters, social justice, and ecosystem-service perceptions in Clayoquot Sound, Canada

Levine, Jordan, Muthukrishna, Michael ORCID: 0000-0002-7079-5166, Chain, Kai and Satterfield, Terre (2017) Sea otters, social justice, and ecosystem-service perceptions in Clayoquot Sound, Canada. Conservation Biology, 31 (2). pp. 343-352. ISSN 0888-8892

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Identification Number: 10.1111/cobi.12795


In this paper, we take a first step towards better integrating social concerns into empirical ecosystem services (ES) work. We do this by adapting cognitive anthropological techniques to study the Clayoquot Sound social-ecological system, on Canada‘s Pacific coast. There, we used freelisting and ranking exercises to elicit measures of locals‘ ES values, and preferred food species, analyzing the data with ANTHROPAC. We consider the results in light of an ongoing ‗trophic cascade,‘ caused by the reintroduction and spread of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) along the island‘s coast. We find that, one, the standard academic ES typology is not well reflected in the mental categories participants (including trained ecologists) use to think about ES. Two, we find that based on current ecological models it is First Nations individuals, and women, specifically, who are most likely to perceive the most immediate ES losses from the trophic cascade, with the most certainty. The inverse holds true for non-First Nations, and men. This suggests current conservation practice in the region may be inadvertently perpetuating an experience of social injustice amongst historically marginalized demographic groups.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2016 Society for Conservation Biology
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 13:55
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:23
Projects: 6456, 861-2009-1106; 820-2006-0040; 820-2008-3026; 435-2013-2017, 365144-08
Funders: University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Canada

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