Social Imaginaries as Drivers of the Co-Construction of Biotic Assemblages in Patagonia

080368d2-369d-4ca8-86de-b822d89834e4While I was conducting my internship in Tierra del Fuego, we carried out a three-part analysis using “social imaginary” as an analytical tool to study the process of biological invasions in Tierra del Fuego. To construct these imaginaries, first, we undertook a socio-historical analysis to identify shared ideas relevant to nature and to the construction of the biotic assemblage. Secondly, we identified shared actions regarding introductions or removals of exotic species to the region. In both of these analyses, we identified the key institutions related to shared actions or ideas. Finally, we completed an integrated analysis to construct and characterize the social imaginaries and their effects on the construction of Tierra del Fuego’s biotic assemblage. In total, we identified three dominant social imaginaries: Colonization (1850-1930), Development (1930-1980), and Conservation (1980-Current). We proposed that these social imaginaries be used as an analytical tool to understand the processes of biological invasion and their management today.

Jessica Archibald, undergraduate student in Environmental Sciences, Northern Arizona University

What the Environmental Crisis Teaches Us About Ourselves

Editorial published by C.B. Anderson in the Argentine newspaper Infobae:

https://www.infobae.com/opinion/2019/06/21/lo-que-la-crisis-ambiental-nos-ensena-sobre-nosotros/

 

Lo que la crisis ambiental nos enseña sobre nosotros

El reconocimiento de la “crisis ambiental” ha logrado insertar problemáticas como el cambio climático y la pérdida de biodiversidad en la agenda política. En consonancia, a fin de este año, los 196 estados miembros de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático se sesionarán en Chile para la 25° reunión de esta iniciativa, avanzando en acuerdos para mitigar el calentamiento global y adaptarnos a sus consecuencias. También, hace un mes, los 132 países que conforman la Plataforma Intergubernamental de Biodiversidad y Servicios Ecosistémicos (IPBES por sus siglas en inglés) emitieron un fuerte llamado de atención, indicando que si no actuamos, perderemos hasta un millón de especies del planeta y que el cambio climático será un factor de riesgo cada vez mayor.

Podríamos decir que existe consenso de que tenemos que actuar ante esta “crisis”, sin embargo, muchas decisiones, tanto públicas como privadas, no acompañan esta necesidad. Tales contradicciones nos invitan a re-pensar lo que la crisis ambiental nos enseña – del ambiente y de nosotros mismos.

Para tomar mejores decisiones ante esta “crisis”, nos conviene abrirnos al aprendizaje. Nuestro continente nos brinda un abanico de posibilidades; es aquí donde tenemos la diversidad ecológica y cultural más alta del planeta. Tenemos el 7 de los 17 países más biodiversos del mundo y 15% de sus idiomas. Además, con tan solo 13% de la población humana mundial, disponemos de 40% de su “biocapacidad” (o sea, la capacidad del ambiente de proveernos recursos y procesar desechos). Es así que cada habitante americano goza de 3 veces más biocapacidad que el promedio mundial.

Si le pusiéramos un valor monetario a esta riqueza biocultural, llegaría a los $24 trillones de dólares por año, es decir lo mismo que el Producto Bruto Interno de todos los países americanos. En la Argentina, esta contribución es aún mayor, donde el aporte monetario anual que hace nuestro ambiente equivale más de $30.000 dólares por persona, o más que un sueldo promedio. Por lo tanto, la justicia social no se logra solamente pagando el aguinaldo, sino también con políticas públicas que aseguran que la naturaleza sigua brindando sus beneficios para todas y todos.

La crisis ambiental nos enseña que el mundo está interconectado, incluso la Patagonia austral, a pesar de su lejanía, no está exenta al retroceso de sus glaciares, la escasez de agua, entre otros impactos que amenazan su biodiversidad y ecosistemas. Pero además ante la crisis aprendemos que el ser humano tiene diversas relaciones con el ambiente y lograr el bienestar socio-ambiental requiere incorporar estas lecciones para superar el preconcepto que estamos en conflicto con la naturaleza.

Desde Tierra del Fuego, miro al resto del mundo y reconozco nuestra posición privilegiada; en vez de ser el “fin del mundo”, en muchos sentidos somos el “norte” a seguir. Tenemos los índices de desarrollo humano más altos del país, pero también gozamos de uno de los ambientes más prístinos del mundo. Esta relación entre el bienestar social y ambiental no es casual, pero para mantenerla es necesario promover la integración de lo humano y lo natural en todas las decisiones que tomamos.

——

Dr. Christopher B. Anderson

Imaginarios Sociales de la Naturaleza y el Efecto sobre el Ensamble de Especies Exóticas en Tierra del Fuego

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La estudiante de la NAU, Jessica Archibald, mostró el trabajo que realizó durante su estadía de investigación en el CADIC.

 

Entre febrero y mayo del 2019, Jessica Archibald, estudiante de Ciencias Ambientales en la Universidad del Norte de Arizona (NAU) en Estados Unidos, realizó una pasantía de investigación sobre “El Papel de los Imaginarios Sociales en la Construcción de Ensambles Bióticos: Una Perspectiva Socio-histórica para Entender las Invasiones Biológicas en Tierra del Fuego” . 

Si bien las invasiones biológicas suelen ser estudiadas desde una perspectiva ecológica, desde la postura teórica de Jessica y del grupo de investigación, se requiere un entendimiento integral para investigar y manejarlas como un sistema socio-ecológico. Por esta razón, aplicaron un análisis socio-histórico para entender el ensamble de especies introducidas e invasoras en Tierra del Fuego como un proceso de co-construcción entre la naturaleza y la sociedad.

Bajo el marco de imaginarios sociales, exploraron las ideas principales y las instituciones asociadas que condicionaron la forma de concebir un modelo de sociedad, de país y de territorio, en distintos momentos históricos de la Patagonia. Luego, asociaron estas ideas compartidas con comportamientos comunes a determinados grupos sociales, específicamente con relación a la introducción o remoción de especies exóticas.

De esta forma identificaron tres imaginarios sociales dominantes en distintas etapas de la historia, a los que nombraron como Colonización (entre 1850 y 1930), Desarrollo (de 1930 hasta 1980) y Conservación (desde 1980 a la actualidad).

Según el estudio realizado por Archibald, bajo el imaginario de Colonización, predominó una idea de superioridad racial y un fomento a la inmigración europea. “Como consecuencia se observan no sólo el poblamiento de Tierra del Fuego -tanto argentina como chilena- por inmigrantes de Europea, sino también la introducción de nuevos animales, como las vacas, chanchos y cabras, para usos de alimento y trabajo, además liberaciones accidentales, como el caso de los ratones y ratas”, comentó Jessica.

A continuación, se postularon que a partir de un surgimiento de políticas nacionalistas, después de la Crisis Económico Global y la Segunda Guerra Mundial, la Patagonia empezó a participar de procesos de desarrollo económico industrial, incluyendo la introducción de especies peleteras –por ejemplo castor, rata almizclera y visón. “En este periodo podemos identificar una clara tendencia de pensar en Desarrollo como una forma de convertir la Argentina de un país granjero a uno industrializado, incluyendo su naturaleza y especies”, explicó la pasante.

Por último, en la década de los 80 se consolidaron nuevas institucionales desde el nivel local hasta el internacional, como las ONGs ambientales y la ciencia, incluyendo la nueva subdisciplina de ecología denominada “biología de invasiones”. Estos nuevos actores empezaron a posicionar las especies exóticas como un problema de “invasiones” que requieren manejo, llegando a influir también en la agenda pública con la priorización de estas especies para control y erradicación. “Es así que en el imaginario social de Conservación hay menos introducciones nuevas y también una priorización de esfuerzos de remover varias especies problemáticas, siendo la más emblemática el castor”, describió Archibald.

La estudiante aclaró también que “a pesar de que se describieron estos tres imaginarios en forma cronológica, es importante destacar que pueden convivir en el tiempo y el espacio. Por ejemplo, actualmente hay propuestas tanto desde el imaginario de Desarrollo como del de Conservación que favorecen o rechazan, respectivamente, la industria salmonera en el Canal Beagle”.

Finalmente, Christopher Anderson, explicó que “esta propuesta analítica es útil no sólo para el entendimiento de estas especies como un proceso socio-ecológico, sino también para que gestores puedan incorporar mejor los múltiples valores y perspectivas que distintos actores sociales pueden tener sobre la naturaleza y el ensamble de especies que se co-construye entre lo social y lo natural”.

Sustainability Internships Train Students on International and Interdisciplinary Research

During my time in Ushuaia, I had the opportunity to analyze and synthesize existing survey data on visitors’ perceptions of benefits and threats to Tierra del Fuego National Park and write a paper on my findings. I also sought to try to explain these perceptions by looking at relationships between knowledge of the national park and the perception responses. The project gave me my first experience attempting to write a paper with the intention of having it published in a peer-reviewed journal, it allowed me to explore new types of statistical analyses that I had not previously had experience with, such as general linear models, and it allowed me to have a deeper understanding of people’s relationship with a place considered the “end of the world.” In addition to my main project, I was afforded the flexibility to participate in other ventures in the field, particularly collecting data from several stream sites on Tierra del Fuego Island.

Aaron Mrotek, Northern Arizona University, Masters in Climate Science and Solutions

Mrotek, A., C.B. Anderson, A.E.J. Valenzuela, L. Manak, A. Weber, P. Van Aert, M. Malizia & E.A. Nielsen. In press. An evaluation of local, national and international perceptions of benefits and threats to nature in Tierra del Fuego National Park (Patagonia, Argentina). Environmental Conservation.

Students from the USA and Tierra del Fuego Participate in Study of Endangered Southern River Otter

P1030564During the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity and pleasure to participate in the Huillín Project. The huillín is known in English as the southern river otter and it inhabits the coastal ecosystems (despite its name) of Tierra del Fuego, including Staten Island. Our team was integrated by several Biology students from the Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego (UNTDF), a Biology student from Northern Arizona University and myself – Celina Goodall, an Environmental Science student from UNTDF. Dr. Alejandro Valenzuela was the project leader and is a professor at UNTDF, who has been working on this species for several years, and he taught us what we needed to know about this endangered otter and guided our work in this research project.

The field work we conducted do consisted of preparing and analyzing otter scat samples under an dissecting microscope to study the huillin’s diet. We also categorized and cataloged photos and videos taken with camera traps from Tierra del Fuego National Park and Staten Island. And of course the best part was doing field trips to places like Moat Ranch, where we conducted otter presence surveys. We would rotate between the different tasks, which made the work go fasters and was fun. Working with the scat was smelly at first, but you get used to it fairly quickly! While cataloging the camera trap images, we would come across with some with which you would just get in awe with the huillín; it’s such an adorable species! But definitely the most fun were the field trips, we would jump over rocks and logs along the shoreline, looking for signs of otter presence, such as scat and dens. We would also check out and install camera traps where needed, thanks to several research projects and also donations from Friends of OSARA. In summary, it was a enjoyable experience in which I got the chance to learn about a new species and I got know and work with new people.

Celina Goodall, Environmental Science student, UNTDF

 

 

 

Linking Patagonia and the World via Tourism and Seabirds

ABSTRACT. Human-wildlife dynamics exhibit novel characteristics in the Anthropocene, given the unprecedented degree of globalization that has increased the linkages between habitats and people across space and time. This is largely caused by unprecedented transnational mobility and migration, international labor and resource markets and trade. Understanding the relationship between humans and wildlife and their associated telecoupling processes helps to promote better management practices and governance for reconciling socio-economic and conservation interests. In this study, we review human-seabird interactions in the iconic Beagle Channel (BC) in southern Patagonia. Then, we adapted and employed the coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) approach and telecoupling framework to integrate disparate social and biological information and obtain a more holistic understanding of current human-seabird dynamics and trends in the BC. While our assessment includes the temporal scale of human-seabird relationships, we centered the CHANS and telecoupling analysis on the modern seabird-tourism interaction as a methodological delimitation of the system i) to permit greater understanding of ongoing conservation research and policy efforts and ii) to identify gaps in our knowledge and potentially unforeseen conservation threats. For this reason, we focused on the Argentine portion of the channel, where tourism is most heavily developed. Our synthesis in the BC telecoupled CHANS allowed us to recognize the strong historical local-to-global interactions between both human and natural subsystems and the sharp increase in distance telecoupling during the 20th century due to human mobility and tourism. Despite this globalizing trend in connecting the BC to distance place, ironically we found few human subsystem linkages between Argentina and Chile, despite both countries sharing political sovereignty over the channel. Recognizing and studying the telecouplings identified in this study could help multi-lateral efforts to incorporate the spillover systems (especially with Chile) and sending systems (i.e. transnational tourists’ countries of origin) into existing regional policies and global alternative (e.g., ecosystem services payment). Integrating these scales into our study and management of the BC would help ensure that humans continue to enjoy this unique and charismatic wildlife and at the same time reinforce responsible tourism as a local-global strategy for sustainable development and global conservation.

 

https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol22/iss4/art31/

Assessing the Effects of Urbanization on Streams in Tierra del Fuego

http://ojs.ecologiaaustral.com.ar/index.php/Ecologia_Austral/article/view/417/214

Abstract. We set out to understand how urbanization affects streams in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Paired t-tests and linear regressions were used to compare physico-chemical stream habitat variables (temperature, turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and pH) and benthic macroinvertebrate community structure (density, taxonomic richness, Shannon-Weiner diversity) and function (functional feeding groups: FFGs) in four watersheds with urban and reference sites. We then calculated indices of biotic integrity for habitat (Rapid Visual Assessment Protocol: RVAP) and benthos (Ephemeroptera, Plectopera, Tricoptera richness: EPT, Family Biotic Index: FBI, Rapid Bioassessment Protocol: RBP and Biotic Monitoring Patagonian Streams: BMPS). Results indicated that urbanization negatively impacted these streams’ underlying ecological condition, decreasing benthic biodiversity and dissolved oxygen, while increasing conductivity and turbidity. FFG assemblage was similar between both sites, but urbanization increased the existing dominance of collector-gatherers. Additionally, urban sites presented lower values in three of the benthic macroinvertebrate indices (EPT, RBP, BMPS, but not FBI) and also for habitat (RVAP). These data fill an existing gap in stream ecology for southern Patagonia and are useful to create monitoring tools. By incorporating urbanization as a driver of ecosystem change, managers and planners will be better able to confront the issue of sustainable development in this region, which is considered one of the most pristine wilderness areas remaining on the planet but whose human population is concentrated in a few densely populated urban areas.

 

Resumen. Evaluando los efectos de la urbanización en los arroyos de Tierra del Fuego. Nos propusimos la meta de entender cómo la urbanización afecta a los ríos y arroyos en Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Para lo cual, se utilizaron pruebas t pareadas y regresiones lineales con el fin de comparar variables fisicoquímicas (temperatura, turbidez, conductividad, oxígeno disuelto y pH) con la estructura y función (densidad, riqueza taxonómica, diversidad de Shannon-Weiner, Grupos Funcionales Alimentarios: FFG en inglés) de la comunidad de macroinvertebrados bentónicos en cuatro cuencas con sitios urbanos y de referencia. Luego, se calcularon los índices de integridad biótica para el hábitat (Rapid Visual Assessment Protocol: RVAP) y el bentos (riqueza de Ephemeroptera, Plectopera, Tricoptera: EPT, Family Biotic Index: FBI, Rapid Bioassensment Protocol: RBP y Biotic Monitoring Patagonian Streams: BMPS). Los resultados indicaron que la urbanización afectó negativamente la condición ecológica subyacente de estas cuencas, disminuyendo la biodiversidad bentónica y el oxígeno disuelto, mientras que la conductividad y la turbidez aumentaban. El ensamble de FFG fue similar entre ambos sitios, pero la urbanización incrementó la dominancia existente de organismos colectores-recolectores. Además, los sitios urbanos presentaron valores más bajos en tres de los índices de macroinvertebrados bentónicos (EPT, RBP, BMPS, pero no FBI) y también para el hábitat (RVAP). Estos datos llenan un vacío existente en la ecología de los arroyos para el sur de la Patagonia, y son útiles para crear herramientas de monitoreo. Mediante la incorporación de la urbanización como factor de cambio en los ecosistemas, los gestores y planificadores estarán en mejores condiciones para hacer frente a la cuestión del desarrollo sostenible en esta región, que se considera uno de los espacios naturales más prístinos que queda en el planeta, pero cuya población humana se concentra en unas pocas áreas urbanas densamente pobladas.

Continuing to provide Patagonia Research Experiences for Students in Sustainability

In the austral summer of 2018, OSARA coordinated the last official cohort of PRESS students, which interns working in such diverse topics as the study of the carbon cycle in aquatic ecosystem to the socio-cultural valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Tierra del Fuego. This brings out total to 24 undergraduate and graduate students who have benefited from this project.

However, to give long-term viability to these interactions and also promote reciprocal exchange with Latin American students and researchers, OSARA worked with Northern Arizona University (NAU) to prepare a new funding proposal to the 100,000 Strong in the America program, coordinated by the U.S. State Department. This new project would fund students and faculty to collaborate between NAU, the National University of Tucuman (UNT), the National University of Tierra del Fuego (UNTDF) and the Austral Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CADIC) in the area of sustainable energy resources and development, particularly students in geology and environmental sciences.

Plus, we are preparing a PRESS 2.0 by continuing the internship program at CADIC and UNTDF for NAU students based on a collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Global Program, where undergraduate students self-fund 6 month internships at foreign research centers.

 

Adding Value to Ecosystems

For several decades, the term “ecosystem services” has been used by environmental scientists and managers to connote the benefits people and societies receive “free” from nature. Beginning in the 1990s, there were many efforts to monetarize these services, but today it is also increasingly recognized that their socio-cultural values are as important. Since 2012, OSARA has worked with Northern Arizona University (NAU), the Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego (UNTDF) and a host of research and conservation institutions in Patagonia to implement the PRESS project, which among other things seeks to study nature from multiple social and ecological perspectives.

From January till March 2016, undergraduate students from NAU and UNTDF conducted surveys in Tierra del Fuego National Park and the town of Ushuaia. They found that residents and vistors alike had very little understanding of native species, especially aquatic biodiversity. Plus, most people highly valued nature, but mostly understood evident benefits of the national park to their quality of life, such as using it for recreation activities, and they were less aware of its intangible services.

One of the outcomes of this project has been to take those findings and place them into more apparent socio-cultural value, specifically working with an interdisciplinary team of natural scientists, communications professors and designers to not only identify the “hidden” biodiversity and services of places like Tierra del Fuego National Park, but also make them more evident to society. So, this joint project produced and financed 3 new signs for the park to highlight aquatic species (like tiny benthic macroinvertebrates or the endangered southern river otter) and also unknown ways that nature supports our well-being (like the fact that the national park protects the watersheds of Ushuaia’s 3 water sources). Click on these signs for more.

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BiodiversidadPeinin_5

Patagonia Research Experiences for Students in Sustainability (Year 2)

Students from Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the National University of Tierra del Fuego (UNTDF) are working together on a collaborative project with ecologists, anthropologists and social scientists to better understand the social perceptions and ecological realities of the protected areas of southern Patagonia. This project, financed with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S.-Argentine Fulbright Commission, the Argentine National Parks Administration and UNTDF, is one of the initiatives coordinated by OSARA to develop new and dynamic relationships in the realm of conservation, socio-ecological research and sustainability science. The students involved seek to not only master skills in the lab and gain knowledge about local biodiversity, but also seek to be trained in local environmental and cultural sensibility.

Specifically, the team involved in conducting a “social-ecological evaluation” of Tierra del Fuego National Park and its biodiversity seeks first to identify and compare ecological “realities” to human “perceptions”. The outcomes are expected to help illustrate a fundamental base of knowledge for scientists, decision-makers and locals. Such insights will then be used as a tool to optimize future efforts of ecological conservation, cultural preservation and overall recognition of well-being in respect to all inhabitants of the land and the land itself.

The student team was led by Leah Manak and Alana Weber, both Environmental Science and Spanish students at NAU). They and students from Biology at UNTDF implemented a ten-question survey of which they then asked a sample of over 500 participants (local and non-local) covering topics like: overall perceptions and knowledge of the benefits provided by the national park, the threats to the national park, the presence and disturbances of native and exotic animal species on the island of Tierra del Fuego, and finally the ethics and methods of lethal trapping as a form of introduced-species management.

According to Manak, “we had the privilege to work beside people from different educational and cultural backgrounds with abstract as well as controversial themes, and I’m truly impressed with how this team worked together to accomplish our goals. We were able to see Tierra del Fuego through a kaleidoscope of perceptions; each color constructed by the different worldviews of the people we interviewed.”

IMG_9564Likewise, “I was struck by how many tourists come to see the majestic beauty at the end of the world. The ability to work with and interview so many people from around the world was incredible. I have learned so much from my experience not only in my studies but in cultural and social aspects as well. This is only the beginning of a long cultural and scientific future ahead of me; and being apart of PRESS is such an amazing way to start my journey. I am forever appreciative,” said Weber.

The conclusions of this study will not only serve to enhance our understanding of the socio-ecological relationships in southern Patagonia, but also help prepare communication strategies for different stakeholder groups.

New Publication on the Social Dimensions of Invasive Species

cobi_left In the February edition of the journal Conservation Biology, Drs. Rodrigo Estevez, Christopher Anderson, Cristobal Pizarro and Mark Burgman published the review entitled Clarifying values, risk perceptions, and attitudes to resolve or avoid social conflicts in invasive species management.

Summary. Decision makers and researchers increasingly recognize the need to effectively confront the social dimensions and conflicts inherent to invasive species research and management. Yet, despite numerous contentious situations that have arisen, no systematic evaluation of the literature has examined the commonalities in the patterns and types of these emergent social issues. Using social and ecological keywords, we reviewed trends in the social dimensions of invasive species research and management and the sources and potential solutions to problems and conflicts that arise around invasive species. We integrated components of cognitive hierarchy theory and risk perceptions theory to provide a conceptual framework to identify, distinguish, and provide understanding of the driving factors underlying disputes associated with invasive species. In the ISI Web of Science database, 15,915 peer-reviewed publications on biological invasions were found; 124 included social dimensions of this phenomenon. Of these 124, 28 studies described specific contentious situations. Social approaches to biological invasions have emerged largely in the last decade and have focused on both environmental social sciences and resource management. Despite being distributed in a range of journals, these 124 articles were concentrated mostly in ecology and conservation-oriented outlets. The study found that conflicts surrounding invasive species arose based largely on differences in value systems and to a lesser extent stakeholder and decision maker’s risk perceptions. To confront or avoid such situations, the authors suggest integrating the plurality of environmental values into invasive species research and management via structured decision making techniques, which enhance effective risk communication that promotes trust and confidence between stakeholders and decision makers.

OSARA Facilitates Insertion of U.S. Students in Southern Patagonian Research Programs

2015-02-05 13.28.51With the support of U.S. National Science Foundation Grant (IIA 1261229) Patagonia Research Experiences for Students in Sustainability or “PRESS“, 5 undergraduate and graduate students from Northern Arizona University (NAU) arrived to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego to initiate their projects with Argentine mentors from a suite of partner institutions. In the coming years, the project will fund 7-8 students per year, and after the ending of the NSF funds the programs sustainability is ensured by being part of the Global Science and Engineering Program at NAU and internationalization efforts in Argentina. In 2015, OSARA is proud to coordinate the following projects.

Erik McCaughan, B.S. Biology, studying the trophic and population ecology of native southern river otters and invasive American mink under the guidance of Drs. Alejandro Valenzuela (Argentine National Parks Administration-APN and National University of Tierra del Fuego-UNTDF) and Laura Fasola (Austral Center for Scientific Research-CADIC). Tierra del Fuego & Santa Cruz Provinces, Argentina.

Faythe Duran, B.S. Biology, studying the soil conditions in a national observatory site for desertification under the guidance of Dr. Alicia Moretto (CADIC-UNTDF). Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina.

Montana Johnson, B.S. Environmental Sciences, studying stream macroinvertebrate assemblages associated with different habitat types in Tierra del Fuego under the guidance of Dr. Christopher Anderson (CADIC-UNTDF).  Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina.

Taylor Oster, B.S. Environmental Engineering and B.A. Spanish, studying indicators of trail sustainability in Glaciers and Tierra del Fuego National Parks under the guidance of Laura Malmierca (APN).  Tierra del Fuego & Santa Cruz Provinces, Argentina.

T.J. Schmidt, M.S. Climate Science & Solutions, studying the carbon footprint of the wool industry in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina under the guidance of Dr. Pablo Peri (National Institute of Agricultural Technology-INTA and National University of Southern Patagonia-UNPA). Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.

NSF and CONICET Support New Collaborative Project

Picture1Since 2012, Northern Arizona University and a suite of partners in southern Patagonia, coordinated by OSARA, have forged new and productive relationships in the area of conservation, socio-ecological research and sustainability science. The first fruit of this relationship was the NSF International Research Experience for Students grant, known as “PRESS“.

logoConicetNow, as these relationships have grown, a new proposal has been funded by both Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of international cooperation efforts. This new project, entitled Understanding biotic and institutional drivers that facilitate or constrain watershed restoration: a comparative study of two iconic landscapes from Patagonia and Grand Canyon will fund Drs. Christopher Anderson and Sebastian Ballari from Argentina to conduct work at NAU, while Dr. Erik Nielsen will come to collaborate in Tierra del Fuego.

Strengthening the Relationship between Science and Society

logo-cequaThe line of research of science and tourism, which is led by Ernesto Davis at the Center for Quaternary Studies (CEQUA) in Punta Arenas, Chile, has received significant new support from the Chilean Science and Technology Commission’s “Linking Science and Industry” (VCE) Program. In addition, the VCE Program highlighted Mr. Davis’ previous efforts as exemplary at the national level for the type of projects they seek to fund and institutionalize. The new grant will allow the previous experience working with the Australis Cruiseline to be used to expand training efforts throughout the region, as well as continue to strengthen citizen science training on board the boats. The ultimate goal is to formalize a strategy that integrates academics and tourism operators in a reciprocally beneficial relationship. Beyond just the traditional “outreach” model of training guides or preparing educational materials, this effort seeks to include the guides and the tourists themselves in the research, and show the value of this approach to companies.