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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Identifying Conservation Priorities Through Participatory Ecosystem Services Mapping in Coastal Zones

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AUTHORS: Zeynab Jouzi*, Lindsey S. Smart, Erin O. Sills, Jelena Vukomanovic – North Carolina State University.

ABSTRACT: Land-use change resulting from urbanization are changing coastal landscapes and impacting socio-ecological systems through rapid population growth, rising cost of living, habitat destruction and fragmentation. As pressure increases, the need to find a balance between development and conservation becomes more urgent. While there is widespread recognition of the need to protect vulnerable coastal landscapes, there are differing views on which elements of those landscapes and which ecosystem services are the highest priority to conserve. In particular, local perspectives are often overlooked in favor of expert knowledge. Through a series of workshops, we asked long-term residents to identify, describe, and locate valuable natural and cultural resources in the lowcountry of South Carolina. For example, these included fishing and hunting spots, sites of historic and/or cultural importance, locations of community events, and recreational spaces. This iterative, participatory effort allowed us to determine which resources are valued by local stakeholders. In this study, we compare stakeholders’ values to official conservation plans, such as the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan, Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Plan for the State of South Carolina, Comprehensive Green belt plan and the Johns Island Community Greenways Plan. We call attention to mismatches between the areas identified as important by local stakeholders and those currently protected under existing protection plans. Our research demonstrates an approach to incorporate local community perspectives in conservation planning, which could potentially help to engage local people more effectively and to conserve cultural ecosystem services. These “missed” values could highlight conservation opportunities for NGOs that are likely to have community support.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

Attendees (4)