C1 Hall

Making sense of the wild: Integrated participatory mapping for understanding community relationships to dynamic mountain landscapes

(Oral and Poster)

Jonathan Carruthers-Jones
Alice Eldridge
Roger Norum


Existing research has demonstrated that capturing stakeholder attitudes to landscape may be most accurately performed in the field, in spite of the challenges this brings (Evans and Jones 2011). The use of innovative walking methods is emerging as a key tool for understanding experiences of and relationships with landscape and place. In conservation biology, these and other mobile methods have used underlying spatial data to develop a landscape typology, then spatially tagged and captured stakeholder attitudes in relation to that typology in-situ (Scott et al. 2009). This poster presentation describes our forthcoming research in Abisko, Sweden, which seeks to blend bio-acoustic methods with participatory mapping in order to comprehensively capture stakeholders’ perceptions of, knowledge about and attitudes towards dynamic Arctic environments. The use of this multi-sensory, participatory mapping methodology, which amalgamates experiential human data with empirical ecological survey data, can advance understanding of the complex interactions between society, environment and place in modern conservation approaches (Zia et al. 2015). This interdisciplinary and collaborative research project aims to engage research subjects in active, sensory roles for the co-creation of mutually beneficial knowledge. By complementing existing geophysical/ ecological surveys with insights into local community land-values using ethnographic methods, we build capacity for understanding the impact of environmental change on local communities within the Arctic, whilst developing a new methodology for broader use in the future co-production of sustainable land-management policies internationally. Furthermore, involving people in co-created conservation tools such as wildness maps may be one way of addressing the multiple conflicts currently surrounding wild land and wild species.

Cited references
Evans, J., & Jones, P. 2011. The walking interview: Methodology, mobility and place. Applied Geography, 31(2), 849-858.

Scott, A., Carter, C., Brown, K., & White, V. 2009. ‘Seeing is not everything’: Exploring the landscape experiences of different publics. Landscape Research, 34(4), 397-424.

Zia, A., Hirsch, P., Van Thang, H., Trung, T.C., O’Connor, S., McShane, T., Brosius, P. and Norton, B., 2015. Eliciting inter-temporal value trade-offs: a deliberative multi-criteria analysis of Vietnam’s Bai Tu Long National park management scenarios. Environment, 2(1), pp.41-62.