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Many Voices of the Manukau: Participatory Modelling, Ecosystem Services and Decision Making in New Zealand

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Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Author: Davies, Kathryn Kinsale
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10003
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Social Organization
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): learning
social capital
Abstract: "Ecosystem service approaches are increasingly utilised in coastal areas, often as part of an ecosystem-based management or adaptive governance framework that aims to address complex or ‘wicked’ coastal problems. The popularity of ecosystem service approaches stems in part from their potential to link human well-being to the functioning of ecosystems and provide a common language for negotiating trade-offs. This is particularly enticing in situations where there are a multiplicity of stakeholders, conflicting values, and accompanying disputes. However, at present, most ecosystem service models are driven by ecological research and are deficient in incorporating context-specific cultural services. A participatory approach to model-building can integrate social values into ecosystem service frameworks while simultaneously contributing to the generation of social capital. Elements of social capital, such as social learning and social capacity, are needed to support adaptive governance and ecosystem-based management frameworks, and to resolve wicked problems. This research draws on a case study from an urban estuary in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Manukau Harbour, the second largest harbour in the country. Manukau Harbour has a long history of environmental degradation and conflict that is inextricably linked with the cultural values of local and regional stakeholders. Using a novel participatory modelling method, the research included a diverse group of participants in a rapid process of identifying, valuing, and considering trade-offs associated with the ecosystem services of the study area. This approach revealed that the participants often shared a common interest in recreational values and other cultural services, and that participants associated a majority of their values with seascapes, rather than landscapes, in the area. These findings could have important implications for improving decision-making approaches, as an emphasis on cultural services and seascapes could contribute to benefits across multiple ecosystem services and functions in the degraded area. Additionally, the research provides important insights into how participatory modelling methods can be utilised to integrate a diverse range of social values into an ecosystem service framework while enhancing social learning, social capacity, and other elements of social capital, among participants."

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