From restoration to adaptation: the changing discourse of invasive species management in coastal New England under global environmental change
Scholars have focused on militaristic metaphors of invasion for more than a decade, but few if any studies look to the on-the-ground language of restoration practitioners to determine how they talk about invasive species. Here we demonstrate the absence of militaristic metaphors in one subset of restoration managers in coastal Rhode Island who manage for introduced Phragmites australis, the highly invasive common reed. Instead, these managers frame their discussions of Phragmites in terms of indicators of condition, ecosystem services, and resilience, which might indicate a shift away from command-and-control models of invasive species management. We suggest that qualitative research, including interviews with restoration managers, can offer a useful, in depth view onto issues of management and decision making and that it is crucially important to attend to the language of invasion science and management in an era of global change. Ecological changes in coastal ecosystems seem to impact managers’ language choices, while these language choices, in turn, can have far-reaching impacts on decision making in coastal systems.
KeywordsClimate change Ecosystem services Frames Language Managers Metaphor Phragmites Resilience Restoration Rhetoric Rhode Island Salt marsh Wetlands
First we thank our interviewees, whose experiences and efforts form the basis of this paper. We thank our anonymous reviewers and Marisa Mazzotta, Walter Berry, Kate Mulvaney, Tim Gleason, Wayne Munns, and John Darling for strengthening our manuscript through their generous feedback. This research was funded in part by the US Environmental Protection Agency through the ORISE research fellowship program, but this paper has not been subjected to US Environmental Protection Agency review. Therefore, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency. This contribution is identified by tracking number ORD-013067 of the Atlantic Ecology Division, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency.
- Bazerman C, Prior P (eds) (2003) What writing does and how it does it: an introduction to analyzing texts and textual practices. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Goffman E (1974) Frame analysis: an essay on the organization of experience. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Krippendorff K (1989) Content analysis. In: Barnouw E, Gerbner G, Schramm W, Worth TL, Gross L (eds) International encyclopedia of communication, vol 1. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 403–407Google Scholar
- Lindlof TR, Taylor BC (2011) Qualitative communication research methods, 3rd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
- Meyerson, LA, Cronin JT, Pyšek P (2016) Phragmites as a model organism for plant invasions. Biol Invasions (in press)Google Scholar
- Patton MQ (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
- Rosenzweig ML (2001) The four questions: What does the introduction of exotic species do to diversity? Evol Ecol Res 3:361–367Google Scholar
- Sagoff M (1999) What’s wrong with exotic species? Report From the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland 19: 16–23Google Scholar
- Saltonstall K, Lambert A, Meyerson LA (2010) Genetics and reproduction of common (Phragmites australis) and giant reed (Arundo donax). Invasive Plant Sci Manag 3:495–505Google Scholar
- Slobodkin LB (2001) The good, the bad and the reified. Evol Ecol Res 3:1–13Google Scholar
- Walker B, Salt D (2006) Resilience thinking: sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar