Environmental Management

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 862–875

A Participatory Assessment of Ecosystem Services and Human Wellbeing in Rural Costa Rica Using Photo-Voice

Article

Abstract

Human well-being is intricately connected to ecosystem services. A keystone contribution to the ecosystem service literature has been the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, MA, (Ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment, Island Press, Washington, DC; 2003, 2005). Much of the work on ecosystem services to date has focused on the assessment and classification of environmental functions. The need for inclusion of community perspectives in ecosystem assessments has been widely recognized in order to better understand the distribution of impacts and benefits resulting from natural resource use. Communities can offer a direct route to understanding the complex relationships between ecosystems and human well-being and how environmental management affects their livelihoods. Photovoice has been made popular as a tool for participatory needs assessment but it has had limited use in ecosystem assessments to date. The purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to present the results of a community-level assessment of environmental services in a watershed dominated by pineapple monoculture in Costa Rica; and (2) to evaluate the strengths and the limitations of photovoice as a tool for mapping the relationship between ecosystems and people. I argue that photovoice is an underutilized methodology that has the potential to complement biophysical ecosystem service assessments in the context of impoverished and resource-dependent communities, particularly, since assessing ecosystem services and acting upon that information requires integrating the knowledges of diverse stakeholders, recognizing power imbalances, and grappling with the complexity of social-ecological systems. Processes such as photovoice have the potential to catalyze community self-organization, which is a critical component for empowerment.

Keywords

Ecosystem services Community-based research Photovoice Costa Rica Pineapple monoculture Ecosystem benefits Volcan River watershed 

References

  1. Adger NW (2000) Social and ecological resilience: are they related? Progress in Human Geography 24(3):347–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balmford A, Bond W (2005) Trends in the state of nature and their implications for human well-being. Ecology Letters 8:1218–1234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonatti J, Borge C, Herrera B, Paaby P (2005) Efectos ecológicos del cultivo de la piña en la cuenca media del Río General-Térraba de Costa Rica. Technical Report Number 4, San Jose, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  4. Bosak K (2008) Nature, conflict and biodiversity conservation in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Conservation and Society 6(3):211–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boyd J, Banzhaf S (2007) What are ecosystem services? Ecological Economics 63(2–3):616–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brauman KA, Daily GC, Duarte TK, Mooney HA (2007) The nature and value of ecosystem services: an overview of highlighting hydrologic services. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 32:67–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Calvo-Alvarado JC, Arias D, Ritcher DD (2007) Early growth performance of native and introduced fast growing tree species in wet to sub-humid climates of the southern region of Costa Rica. Forest Ecology and Management 242:227–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlson ED, Engebretson J, Chamberlain RM (2006) Photovoice as a social process of critical consciousness. Qualitative Health Research 16(6):836–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlsson B (2001) Depicting experiences. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 45(2):125–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carpenter SR, Mooney HA, Agard J, Capistrano D, DeFries RS, Diaz S, and others (2009) Science for managing ecosystem services: beyond the millennium ecosystem assessment. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(5):1305–1312Google Scholar
  11. Castleden H, Garvin T, Huu-ay-aht First Nation (2008) Modifying photovoice for community-based participatory indigenous research. Social Science & Medicine 66:1393–1405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Castleden H, Garvin T, Huu-ay-aht First Nation (2009) “Hishuk Tsawak” (everything is one/connected): a Huu-ay-aht worldview for seeing forestry in British Columbia, Canada. Society & Natural Resources 22:789–804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Catalani C, Minkler M (2010) Photovoice: a review of the literature in health and public health. Health Education & Behavior 37(3):424–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chapman M (2005) Once upon a time in Volcán, Costa Rica: integrating values into watershed management and poverty alleviation. Review of Policy Research 22(6):859–880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Collier J (1967) Visual anthropology: photography as a research method. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, p 248Google Scholar
  16. Daily GC (ed) (1997) Nature’s services: societal dependence on natural ecosystems. Island Press, Washington, DC, p 392Google Scholar
  17. Daw T, Brown K, Rosendo S, Pomeroy R (2011a) Applying the ecosystem services concept to poverty alleviation: the need to disaggregate human well-being. Working Paper 30, DEV Working Paper Series, University of East Anglia. http://www.uea.ac.uk/dev/publications/workingpapers. Accessed online May 3 2011
  18. Daw T, Brown K, Rosendo S, Pomeroy R (2011b) Applying the ecosystem services concept to poverty alleviation: the need to disaggregate human well-being. Environmental Conservation 38(4):370–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dixon M, Hadjialexiou M (2005) Photovoice: promising practice in engaging young people who are homeless. Youth Studies Australia 24(2):52–56Google Scholar
  20. Duraiappah AK (1998) Poverty and environmental degradation: a review and analysis of the nexus. World Development 26(12):2169–2179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fabricius C, Folke C, Cundill G, Schultz L (2007) Powerless spectators, coping actors, and adaptive co-managers: a synthesis of the role of communities in ecosystem management. Ecology and Society 12(1):2Google Scholar
  22. Fisher B, Turner RK (2008) Ecosystem services: classification for valuation. Biological Conservation 141:1167–1169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fisher B, Turner RK, Morling P (2009) Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making. Ecological Economics 68:643–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Folke C, Fabricius G, Cundill G, Schulz L (2005) Communities, ecosystems and livelihoods. In: Capistrano D, Samper C, Lee M, Raudsepp-Hearne C (eds) Ecosystems and human well-being: multiscale assessments. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 261–277Google Scholar
  25. Freire P (1970) Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. Bergman-Ramos, trans.). The Continuum Publishing Company, New York, p 183Google Scholar
  26. Graziano KJ (2004) Oppression and resiliency in a post-apartheid South Africa: unheard voices of Black gay men and lesbians. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 10(3):302–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harper D (2002) Talking about pictures: a case for photo elicitation. Visual Studies 17(1):13–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hilje-Quirós B (1993) La colonización agrícola de Costa Rica (1840–1940). Universidad Estatal a Distancia, San JoseGoogle Scholar
  29. Hurworth R, Clark E, Martin J, Thomsen S (2005) The use of photo-interviewing: three examples from health evaluation and research. Evaluation Journal of Australasia 4(1, 2):52–62Google Scholar
  30. Hussey W (2006) Slivers of the journey: the use of photovoice and story telling to examine female to male transexuals’ experience of health care access. Journal of Homosexuality 51(1):129–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) (2009) Cifras básicas sobre pobreza e ingresos. San Jose, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  32. Jurkowski JM, Paul-Ward A (2007) Photovoice with vulnerable populations: addressing disparities in health promotion among people with intellectual disabilities. Health Promotion Practice 8(4):358–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krishnaswamy J, Ritcher DD (2002) Properties of advanced weathering-stage soils in tropical forests and pastures. Soil Science Society of America Journal 66:244–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McConnell CE (2008) Iniciativas de manejo en la subcuenca del río Volcán, cuenca del río Grande de Térraba, (unpublished thesis). Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, Cartago, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  35. McIntyre A (2003) Through the eyes of women: photovoice and participatory research as tools for reimagining place. Gender, Place & Culture 10(1):47–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2003) Ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  37. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  38. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG) (1991) Aspectos técnicos sobre cuarenta y cinco cultivos agrícolas de Costa Rica. San Jose, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  39. Mooney H, Cropper A, Reid W (2005) Confronting the human dilemma: how can ecosystems provide sustainable services to benefit society? Nature 434:561–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pereira E, Queiroz C, Pereira H, Vicente L (2005) Ecosystem services and human well-being: a participatory study in a mountain community in Portugal. Ecology and Society 10(2):14Google Scholar
  41. Promotora del Comercio Exterior Costa Rica (PROCOMER) (2009) Estadísticas del comercio exterior de Costa Rica de 2008. San Jose, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  42. Raudsepp-Hearne C, Peterson GD, Bennett EM (2010a) Ecosystem service bundles for analyzing tradeoffs in diverse landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(11):5242–5247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Raudsepp-Hearne C, Peterson GD, Tengö M, Bennett EM, Holland T, Benessiah K, and others (2010b) Untangling the environmentalist’s paradox: why is human well-being increasing as ecosystem services decline? BioScience 60:579–589Google Scholar
  44. Rhodes SD, Hergenrather KC, Wilkin AM, Jolly C (2008) Visions and Voices: indigent persons living with HIV in the southern United States use photovoice to create knowledge, develop partnerships, and take action. Health Promotion Practice 9(2):159–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ribot JC, Peluso NL (2003) A theory of access. Rural Sociology 68(2):153–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rodriguez JP, Beard TD, Bennett EM, Cumming GS, Cork SJ, Agard J and others (2006) Trade-offs across space, time, and ecosystem services. Ecology and Society 11(1):28Google Scholar
  47. Samper-Kutschbach M (1993) El trabajo en la sociedad rural costarricense (1840–1940). Universidad Estatal a Distancia, San JoseGoogle Scholar
  48. Sass R (2000) Agricultural “killing fields”: the poisoning of Costa Rican banana workers. International Journal of Health Services 30(3):491–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Secretaria Ejecutiva de Planificación Sectorial Agropecuaria (SEPSA) (2009) Boletín estadístico agropecuario N19, serie cronológica 2004–2008. San Jose, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  50. Short RV (2006) New ways of preventing HIV infection: thinking simply, simply thinking. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 361(1469):811–820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Solano-Salazar E (2000) La población indígena en Costa Rica según el censo 2000. In: Rosero-Bixby L (ed) Costa Rica a la luz del censo 2000. Centro Centroamericano de Población Universidad de Costa Rica, San Jose, pp 341–373Google Scholar
  52. Streng JM, Rhodes S, Ayala G, Eng E, Arceo R, Phipps S (2004) Realidad Latina: Latino adolescents, their school, and a university use photovoice to examine and address the influence of immigration. Journal of interprofessional Care 18(4):403–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. TEEB (2010) The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity: ecological and economic foundations. Earthscan, Washington, DC, p 410Google Scholar
  54. Thompson NC, Hunter EE, Murray L, Ninci L, Rolfs EM, Pallikkathayil L (2008) The experience of living with chronic mental illness: a photovoice study. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care 44(1):14–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Thrupp LA (1991) Sterilization of workers from pesticide exposure: the causes and consequences of DBCP-induced damage in Costa Rica and beyond. International Journal of Health Services 21(4):731–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Turner NJ, Gregory R, Brooks C, Failing L, Satterfield T (2008) From invisibility to transparency: identifying the implications. Ecology and Society 13(2):7Google Scholar
  57. Waltner-Toews D, Kay JJ, Neudorerffer C, Gitau T (2003) Perspective changes everything: managing ecosystems from the inside out. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1(1):23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wang C, Burris MA (1994) Empowerment through photo novella: portraits of participation. Health Education Quarterly 21(2):171–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wang C, Burris MA (1997) Photovoice: concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education & Behavior 24(3):369–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wang C, Yi WK, Tao ZW, Carovano K (1998) Photovoice as a participatory health strategy. Health Promotion International 13(1):75–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wesseling C, Castillo L, Elinder CG (1993) Pesticide poisonings in Costa Rica. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 19(4):227–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wesseling C, van Wendel de Joode B, Monge P (2001) Pesticide-related illness and injuries among banana workers in Costa Rica: a comparison between 1993 and 1996. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 7(2):90–97Google Scholar
  63. Wright J (2010) Biomonitoring with aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates in Southern Costa Rica in support of community based watershed monitoring, (unpublished thesis). York University, Toronto, CanadaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Environmental StudiesYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Instituto Regional de Estudios en Sustancias TóxicasUniversidad NacionalHerediaCosta Rica

Personalised recommendations