The Big Meadow Bog on Brier Island, at the end of Long Neck in Nova Scotia, was ditched and drained in the 1950s. This has had substantial ecological consequences, causing pest gulls but also threatening the endangered Eastern Mountain Avens. There have also been substantial social impacts. The area is now locally considered wasteland, but was once used for flower, berry and egg collecting, skating, hunting and also as an occasional source of ice and wood. The restoration of this bog has now been funded, and I am working with Nick Hill from Fernhill Conservation Consultancy on some baseline vegetation mapping work.
I am interested, however, in following the impact of this restoration on local relationships with the Bog as the restoration proceeds. Longitudinal social research is uncommon in natural resource settings, but important if we are to understand the long term impacts of decisions. First, very few beliefs and values people hold about the environment are independent of place, and the specific experiences and attachments associated with it. Cross-sectional research elsewhere is thus inadequate for understanding the values and relationships at play in a particular setting, or when general concepts (i.e. appreciation for wetlands) become local issues. Any students interested in this interface between restoration and local values should get in touch with me.
Goodale, K. 2015. Historical changes in the Big Meadow Bog. Report prepared for Nature Conservancy Canada, 59 pp, based on 2013 interviews with Brier Island elders by Gulf of Maine Institute students.