Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

What Can Photo-Elicitation Tell Us About How Maritime Farmers Perceive Wetlands as Climate Changes?

  • Article
  • Published:
Wetlands Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Wetlands provide numerous public and private benefits, cushioning our vulnerability to climate change, yet wetlands are increasingly subject to land-use conversion. In Nova Scotia, land drainage has become as much a cultural practice as a production activity in the almost four centuries since Acadians started draining coastal marshes for farming. Nonetheless, many farmers have begun reintroducing and restoring wetlands. We undertook an exploratory photo-elicitation study with livestock farmers in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, to understand what their farm landscape values suggested about their perceptions of wetlands and climate change without disclosing these specific interests. Farm landscapes evoked three general themes for farmers: pragmatic and immediate issues related to short-term economic viability; longer-term stewardship of ecosystem services, albeit an incomplete set of them; and, sense of place and identity. Many farmers clearly valued wetlands—and were having them constructed—largely to improve and regulate water quality. Climate change was not, however, a significant component of any narratives, much less those related to wetlands, potentially because of the visual methods employed to elicit them.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Amezaga JM, Santamaría L, Green AJ (2002) Biotic wetland connectivity—supporting a new approach for wetland policy. Acta Oecologica 23:213–222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Atari DOA, Yiridoe EK, Smale S, Duinker PN (2008) What motivates farmers to participate in the Nova Scotia environmental farm plan program? Evidence and environmental policy implications. Journal of Environmental Management 90:1269–1279

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Austen E, Hanson A (2007) An analysis of wetland policy in Atlantic Canada. Canadian Water Resources Journal 32:163–178

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bain PG, Hornsey MJ, Bongiorno R, Jeffries C (2012) Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers. Nature Climate Change 2:600–603

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barr N, Cary J (2000) Influencing Improved Natural Resource Management on Farms. Australian Government Bureau of Rural Sciences, Kingston, ACT, p 44

  • Beckley TM, Stedman RC, Wallace SM, Ambard M (2007) Snapshots of what matters most: using resident-employed photography to articulate attachment to place. Society and Natural Resources 20:913–929

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beilin R (2005) Photo-elicitation and the agricultural landscape: ‘seeing’ and ‘telling’ about farming, community and place. Visual Studies 20:56–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bleakney JS (2004) Sods, soil, and spades: the Acadians at Grand Pré and their Dykeland Legacy. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, QC

    Google Scholar 

  • Bootsma A, Gameda S, McKenney DW (2005) Impacts of potential climate change on selected agroclimatic indices in Atlantic Canada. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 85:329–343

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowker GC, Starr SL (1999) Sorting things out: classification and its consequences. MIT Press Boston, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Boyd J, Wainger L (2002) The economics of wetland ecosystem restoration and mitigation: landscape indicators of ecosystem service benefits. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 84:1371–1378

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brauman KA, Daily GC, Duarte TK, Mooney HA (2007) The nature and value of ecosystem services: an overview highlighting hydrologic services. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 32:67–98

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brinson MM, Malvárez AI (2002) Temperate freshwater wetlands: types, status, and threats. Environmental Conservation 29:115–133

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brosofske KD, Chen J, Naiman RJ, Franklin JF (1997) Harvesting effects on microclimatic gradients from small streams to uplands in western Washington. Ecological Applications 7:1188–1200

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bryant CR, Smit B, Brklacich M, Johnston TR, Smithers J, Chjotti Q, Singh B (2000) Adaptation in canadian agriculture to climatic variability and change. Climatic Change 45:181–201

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Secretariat (2011) Municipal Climate Change Action Plan Guidebook. Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Halifax NS, and online at http://www.nsinfrastructure.ca/uploads/MCCAP%20Guidebook-final%20draft%202011.pdf

  • Castelle AJ, Johnson AW, Conolly C (1994) Wetland and stream buffer size requirements—a review. Journal of Environmental Quality 23:878–882

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Castleden H, Garvin T, Huu-ay-aht First Nation (2008) Modifying photovoice for community-based participatory indigenous research. Social Science & Medicine 66:1393–1405

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Climate Change Nova Scotia (2005) Adapting to a Changing Climate in Nova Scotia: Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Options. Climate Change Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS and online at http://www.climatechange.gov.ns.ca/files/02/77/Adapting_to_a_Changing_Climate_in_NS.pdf

  • Close A, Zammit C, Boshier J, Gainer K, Mednis A (2009) Ecosystem Services: Key Concepts and Applications. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra, Australia, and online at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/ecosystem-services.html

  • Collier M (2001) Approaches to analysis in visual anthropology. In: Van Leeuwen T, Jewitt C (eds) Handbook of visual analysis. SAGE Publicatoins Ltd, London, UK, pp 35–60

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper P (2009) What can we learn from old wetlands? Lessons that have been learned and some that may have been forgotten over the past 20 years. Desalination 246:11–26

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Devanney M, Reinhardt F (2010) An Overview of the Nova Scotia Agriculture and Agri-Food Industry Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, Online at http://www.gov.ns.ca/agri/AO0102-2010-NS-Ag-Overview-w-Appendices.pdf

  • Dunne EJ, Culleton N, O’Donovan G, Harrington R, Olsen AE (2005) An integrated constructed wetland to treat contaminants and nutrients from dairy farmyard dirty water. Ecological Engineering 24:219–232

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Environics Research Group (2006) National survey of farmers and ranchers: ecological goods and services. Environics Research Group Ltd., Toronto, ON

    Google Scholar 

  • Erwin K (2009) Wetlands and global climate change: the role of wetland restoration in a changing world. Wetlands Ecology and Management 17:71–84

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Euliss NH Jr, Gleason RA, Olness A, McDougal RL, Murkin HR, Robarts RD, Bourbonniere RA, Warner BG (2006) North American prairie wetlands are important nonforested land-based carbon storage sites. Science of the Total Environment 361:179–188

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Findlay CS, Houlahan J (1997) Anthropogenic correlates of species richness in southeastern Ontario wetlands. Conservation Biology 11:1000–1009

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gagné S, Fahrig L (2007) Effect of landscape context on anuran communities in breeding ponds in the National Capital Region, Canada. Landscape Ecology 22:205–215

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gerakis A, Kalburtji K (1998) Agricultural activities affecting the functions and values of Ramsar wetland sites of Greece. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 70:119–128

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gobster PH, Nassauer JI, Daniel TC, Fry G (2007) The shared landscape: what does aesthetics have to do with ecology? Landscape Ecology 22:959–972

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Government of Nova Scotia (2000) Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act. Acts of the Nova Scotia Legislature Halifax, NS and online at http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/agricmar.htm

  • Graham J (2011) Communicating about Coastal Erosion with Northumberland Strait Property Owners. Ecology Action Centre, Halifax, NS, and online at http://www.ecologyaction.ca/files/images/file/Coastal_Erosion.pdf

  • Greenland-Smith S (2012) Wetlands and farming in Nova Scotia: Studying the overlap. Atlantic Farm Focus, August: 4–5

  • Gren I-M (1995) Costs and benefits of restoring wetlands: two Swedish case studies. Ecological Engineering 4:153–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harrison J, Sarre P (1975) Personal construct theory in the measurement of environmental images. Environment and Behavior 7:3–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hatvany MG (2002) The origins of the Acadian aboiteau: an environmental-historical geography of the northeast. Historical Geography 20:121–137

    Google Scholar 

  • Hauer G, Weber M, Price D (2002) Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture/Forestry Land Use Patterns: Developing and Applying an Integrated Economy-Ecosystem Response and Adaptation Impacts Assessment Model. Climate Change Action Fund, Online at http://www.adaptation.rncan.gc.ca/projdb/pdf/crosscutting1_e.pdf

  • Kessel-Taylor I (1983) An evaluation of a methodology (Snell 1981) for determining presettlement and existing wetlands in Canada. Environment Canada Land Directorate

  • Kessel-Taylor I (1984) The application of the Canada Land Data System for quantitative analysis of land use dynamics on wetlands for twenty-three urban centered regions in Canada. Application Report R003200. Environment Canada Lands Directorate

  • Klepeis P, Gill N, Chisholm L (2009) Emerging amenity landscapes: invasive weeds and land subdivision in rural Australia. Land Use Policy 26:380–392

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mackinnon K, Scott DB (1984) An evaluation of salt marshes in Atlantic Canada. Technical Report 1. Environmental Canada Lands and Integrated Programs Directorate—Atlantic Region

  • Manuel P (2003) Cultural perceptions of small urban wetlands: cases from the Halifax regional municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada. Wetlands 23:921–940

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marshall NA (2010) Understanding social resilience to climate variability in primary enterprises and industries. Global Environmental Change 20:36–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maxwell JA (2010) Using numbers in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry 16:475–482

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mensing DM, Galatowitsch SM, Tester JR (1998) Anthropogenic effects on the biodiversity of riparian wetlands of a northern temperate landscape. Journal of Environmental Management 53:349–377

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005b) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Wetlands and water World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, and online at http://www.maweb.org/documents/document.358.aspx.pdf

  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Mitsch WJ, Gosselink JG (2000) The value of wetlands: importance of scale and landscape setting. Ecological Economics 35:25–33

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newell RB (2002) Wetland and riparian edge conservation in the agricultural landscape. p. 124–126. In Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (ed), Proceedings of 5th Workshop and Coastal Forum Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership Wolfville NS

  • Nova Scotia Agricultural Land Review Committee (2010) Preservation of agricultural land in Nova Scotia. Government of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS and Online at http://www.gov.ns.ca/agri/elibrary/NSALRC-rpt.pdf

  • Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing (1987) Maritime Dykelands—The 350 Year Struggle. Province of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS and online at http://www.gov.ns.ca/agri/rs/marsh/maritime.shtml

  • Nova Scotia Department of Environment (2011) Wetland Conservation Policy. Government of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS and online at http://www.gov.ns.ca/nse/wetland/conservation.policy.asp

  • Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (2002) Nova Scotia wetland vegetation and classification inventory. Government of Nova Scotia, Kentville, NS

    Google Scholar 

  • Prosser J, Schwartz D (1998) Photographs within the sociological research process. In: Prosser J (ed) Image-based research: a sourcebook for qualitative researchers. Falmer Press, London, UK, pp 115–130

    Google Scholar 

  • Province of Nova Scotia (2009) Toward a Greener Future: Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Action Plan. Nova Scotia Department of Environment, Halifax, NS and online at http://climatechange.gov.ns.ca/doc/ccap.pdf

  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (2010) Caring for wetlands - an answer to climate change. Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland and Online at http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/wwd/10/wwd2010_aa_leaflet_e.pdf

  • Richards W, Daigle R (2011) Scenarios and Guidance for Adaptation to Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise—NS and PEI Municipalities. Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions Association (ACASA), Online at http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/ccscenarios.pdf

  • Rideout E (2012) Setbacks and Vegetated Buffers in Nova Scotia: A Review and Analysis of current practice and management options. Hydrologic Systems Research Group, Halifax, NS, and online at http://www.sterlinglab.ca/setbacks-and-vegetated-buffers-in-nova-scotia

  • Roberts B (2009) Identification and assessment of the provision of environment goods and services by the primary agriculture sector and determining societal expectations of the farm community. Ecological Goods & Services Technical Meeting. Prairie Habitat Joint Venture, Lord Elgin Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario

  • Robinson S, van Proosdij D, Kolstee H (2005) Change in Dykeland Practices in Agricultural Salt Marshes in Cobequid Bay, Bay of Fundy. The Changing Bay of Fundy: Beyond 400 Years. Proceedings of the 6th Bay of Fundy Workshop. Cornwallis, NS and online at http://docs.informatics.management.dal.ca/gsdl/collect/bofep1/pdf/WF/BOFEP6-2004-400.pdf

  • Rogge E, Nevens F, Gulinck H (2007) Perception of rural landscapes in Flanders: looking beyond aesthetics. Landscape and Urban Planning 82:159–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ryan GW, Bernard HR (2003) Techniques to identify themes. Field Methods 15:85–109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scott J (2003) Farm and Community Viability: Report on Interview Results. Genuine Progress Index Nova Scotia, Online at http://www.gpiatlantic.org/pdf/agriculture/farmviab.pdf

  • Scott J, Cameron SD, Benjamin C (2010) Opportunities and Challenges in Atlantic Agriculture. Atlantic Federations of Agriculture, Online at http://www.nsfa-fane.ca/opportunities-and-challenges-atlantic-canada

  • Seabrook L, McAlpine C, Fensham R (2008) What influences farmers to keep trees? A case study from the Brigalow Belt, Queensland, Australia. Landscape and Urban Planning 84:266–281

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Semlitsch RD, Bodie JR (2003) Biological criteria for buffer zones around wetlands and riparian habitats for amphibians and reptiles. Conservation Biology 17:1219–1228

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sherren K, Fischer J, Price R (2010) Using photography to elicit grazier values and management practices relating to tree survival and recruitment. Land Use Policy 27:1056–1067

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sherren K, Fischer J, Clayton H, Hauldren A, Dovers S (2011a) Lessons from visualising the landscape and habitat implications of tree decline—and its remediation through tree planting—in Australia’s grazing landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning 103:248–258

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sherren K, Fischer J, Pink J, Stott J, Stein J (2011b) Australian graziers value sparse trees in their pastures: a viewshed analysis of photo elicitation. Society and Natural Resources 24:412–422

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sherren K, Fischer J, Fazey I (2012a) Managing the grazing landscape: insights for agricultural adaptation from a mid-drought photo-elicitation study in the Australian sheep-wheat belt. Agricultural Systems 106:72–83

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sherren K, Yoon H-J, Clayton H, Schirmer J (2012b) Do Australian graziers have an offset mindset about their farm trees? Biodiversity and Conservation 21:363–383

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smit B, Skinner MW (2002) Adaptation options in agriculture to climate change: a typology. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 7:85–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Statistics Canada (2006) Tenure, land use, land management, 2006—Nova Scotia (18 counties). Census of Agriculture, farm data and farm operator data. Government of Canada Online via E-Stat at http://estat.statcan.gc.ca

  • Statistics Canada (2011) Farm and farm operator data, 2011—Nova Scotia (18 counties). Census of Agriculture. Government of Canada Online via www.statcan.gc.ca

  • Stedman RC, Beckley TM (2007) If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? Society and Natural Resources 20:939–943

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stedman RC, Beckley TM, Wallace SM, Ambard M (2004) A picture and 1000 words: using resident-employed photography to understand attachment to high amenity places. Journal of Leisure Research 36:580–606

    Google Scholar 

  • Stern PC (2000) Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significant behaviour. Journal of Social Issues 56:407–424

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stevens C, Diamond A, Gabor T (2002) Anuran call surveys on small wetlands in Prince Edward Island, Canada restored by dredging of sediments. Wetlands 22:90–99

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thomas DR (2006) A general inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. American Journal of Evaluation 27:237–246

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Auken PM, Frisvoll SJ, Stewart SI (2010) Visualising community: using participant-driven photo-elicitation for research and application. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 15:373–388

    Google Scholar 

  • Vasseur L, Catto NR (2008) Atlantic Canada. p. 119–170. In Lemmen DS, Warren FJ, Lacroix J, Bush F (eds.), From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007. Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON and online at http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/climate-change/community-adaptation/assessments/132

  • Vouligny É, Domon G, Ruiz J (2009) An assessment of ordinary landscapes by an expert and by its residents: landscape values in areas of intensive agricultural use. Land Use Policy 26:890–900

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang C, Burris MA (1997) Photovoice: concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education & Behavior 24:369–387

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Weber M, Hauer G (2003) A regional analysis of climate change impacts on Canadian agriculture. Canadian Public Policy 29:163–180

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williams KJH, Cary J (2002) Landscape preferences, ecological quality, and biodiversity protection. Environment and Behaviour 34:257–274

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williams DR, Patterson ME (2007) Snapshots of what, exactly? A comment on methodological experimentation and conceptual foundations in place research. Society and Natural Resources 20:931–937

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilson SJ (2000) The GPI Water Quality Accounts: Nova Scotia’s water resource values and the damage costs of declining water resources and water quality. Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada, Glen Haven, NS and online at http://www.gpiatlantic.org/publications/abstracts/waterquality-ab.htm

  • Withey P, van Kooten GC (2011) The effect of climate change on optimal wetlands and waterfowl management in Western Canada. Ecological Economics 70:798–805

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Woltemade CJ (2000) Ability of restored wetlands to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in agricultural drainage water. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 55:303–309

    Google Scholar 

  • Woolmer G, Trombulak SC, Ray JC, Doran PJ, Anderson MG, Baldwin RF, Morgan A, Sanderson EW (2008) Rescaling the human footprint: a tool for conservation planning at an ecoregional scale. Landscape and Urban Planning 87:42–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zedler JB (2003) Wetlands at your service: reducing impacts of agriculture at the watershed scale. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1:65–72

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the SSHRC Research Development Fund at Dalhousie University (via their Institutional Grant), generously supplemented by the School for Resource and Environmental Studies. The research method was approved by the Dalhousie University Research Ethics Board in June 2011 as complying with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. Thanks to Simon Greenland-Smith for research assistance and John Brazner for discussions throughout and beyond this work. Collegial comments from Bruce Roberts, Erin Smith, Patricia Manuel and one anonymous reviewer improved the manuscript. Most importantly, however, we send enthusiastic thanks to the 20 landholders who participated in the study.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kate Sherren.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sherren, K., Verstraten, C. What Can Photo-Elicitation Tell Us About How Maritime Farmers Perceive Wetlands as Climate Changes?. Wetlands 33, 65–81 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-012-0352-2

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-012-0352-2

Keywords

Navigation