Human Ecology

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 449–462 | Cite as

Examining Private Landowners’ Knowledge Systems for an Invasive Species

  • Anna R. Santo
  • Kathleen Guillozet
  • Michael G. SoriceEmail author
  • Timothy D. Baird
  • Steven Gray
  • C. Josh Donlan
  • Christopher B. Anderson


Shared ecological knowledge about the impacts of biological invasions can facilitate the collective action necessary to achieve desired management outcomes. Since its introduction to an island archipelago in South America, the North American beaver has caused major changes to the ecosystem. We examined landowners’ mental models of how beavers impact ecosystem services in riparian areas to understand the potential to implement a large-scale eradication program. We used ethnographic interviews to characterize individual landowners’ perceptions about beaver-caused changes to ecosystems and landowners’ wellbeing, and examined the degree to which they are shared. While the eradication initiative focuses on ecosystem integrity, landowners considered impacts on provisioning services to be most salient. Landowners did not have a highly shared causal model of beaver impacts, which indicates a diverse knowledge system. This lack of consensus on how beavers impact riparian areas provides some optimism for garnering support for eradication, and also offers insights into challenges with mental modeling methodologies.


North American beaver (Castor Canadensis) concept mapping local ecological knowledge mental models private lands network analysis Tierra del Fuego 



We thank the participating landowners as well as the following institutions and people who provided additional support: Asociación de Ganaderos de Magallanes, Asociación de Ganaderos de Tierra del Fuego, Asociación Rural de Tierra del Fuego, B. Garcia, Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas, M. Cvitanic Mekiavic, K. Guillozet, Institución de Investigación Agropecuaria de Chile, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria de Argentina, S. Martínez Mora, G. Martínez-Pastur, F. Patagonia, Patagonia Wildlife Ltda., Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero, S. Vojnovic, R. Vukasovic, Wildlife Conservation Society Chile Chapter.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program (GEO-1211877), and in part by the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture McIntire-Stennis Program project 1007271.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10745_2017_9920_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 24.8 kb)
10745_2017_9920_MOESM2_ESM.docx (738 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 737 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna R. Santo
    • 1
  • Kathleen Guillozet
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael G. Sorice
    • 1
    Email author
  • Timothy D. Baird
    • 3
  • Steven Gray
    • 4
  • C. Josh Donlan
    • 5
    • 6
  • Christopher B. Anderson
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Forest Resources & Environmental ConservationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Marylhurst UniversityMarylhurstUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  4. 4.Department of Community SustainabilityMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  5. 5.Advanced Conservation StrategiesMidwayUSA
  6. 6.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  7. 7.Institute of Polar Sciences, Environment & Natural ResourcesNational University of Tierra del FuegoUshuaiaArgentina
  8. 8.Austral Center for Scientific Research (CADIC-CONICET)UshuaiaArgentina

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