Thanks to Ivan Jarić, from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, for inviting Yan Chen and I onto this interesting new paper out in PLOS Biology today, Expanding conservation culturomics and iEcology from terrestrial to aquatic realms. This geographically and disciplinarily diverse writing team led to many rich conversations and debates as the manuscript took shape. The idea was to differentiate the emerging field of iEcology from conservation culturomics, and advocate for their application in aquatic realms which have a dearth of data. Our work on advancing social impact assessment of hydroelectricity and dyke realignment using Instagram datasets provided one of the six key areas of application outlined in this paper.
A quick note inspired by the news that the Minecraft community is working on replicating the world at a 1:1 scale in its game. Seems like a good time to post a favourite piece by Jorge Luis Borges, On exactitude in Science, originally written in 1946 as a literary forgery, Wikipedia tells me.
…In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
This new paper has been a little while coming. The survey that we ran in relation to the Wood Turtle Strides program back in Spring 2017 was designed to help us understand whether introducing incentives for conservation into Nova Scotia would have any impact on motivations to do conservation. Already, many farmers in the region voice pretty strong support of biodiversity, using a discourse of ‘balance’. I wondered: if we start paying people to do it, will their more intrinsic motivations get ‘crowded out’? The size of the participant list involved in the program made this hard to answer definitively, but it certainly didn’t seem likely to crowd out conservation motivations for their neighbours to learn about the payments. That first paper came out last year in The Canadian Geographer.
Today, a new paper is out in Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Beyond intrinsic: a call to combine scales on motivation and environmental values in wildlife and farmland conservation research, that emerged from a bit of a surprise in that data. The statements we used to measure motivation for carrying out riparian management were based on a well-used scale, but we discovered whenever we used the word ‘wildlife’, responses correlated strongly together. Then-postdoc Wes Tourangeau took this as a challenge and developed a theoretical recommendation about how to explore motivations in such situations, arguing that motivations are entangled with environmental values such as ecocentrism and thus both should be tested.