Examining Local Experiential Knowledge Holders’ Spatial and Relational Values of Wildlife in the Chignecto Isthmus Linkage Area, Canada
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The Chignecto Isthmus is the sole terrestrial connection between the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and mainland North America, measuring approximately 17 kms in width at its narrowest. It facilitates movement of an array of wildlife yet is threatened by human infrastructure and other impacts on the landscape, including sea-level rise and flooding due to climate change. Local people’s knowledge and relational values surrounding wildlife are not well understood, but may represent an untapped resource, diversifying and complementing scientific data and models. Accordingly, 34 participants with local tacit knowledge were engaged in semi-structured, map-based, in-person interviews about wildlife presence and movement patterns. A subset of 12 participants was engaged in two subsequent workshops to refine local-consensus maps of wildlife presence and movement pathways, as derived from the interview data. Their relational values toward wildlife were also analyzed by applying Stephen Kellert’s 1996 values framework to the interview data.