Implications of natural boundaries for placemaking as a collaborative practice between humans and animals

Taylor, Marley, author
Thomsen, Bastian, advisor
Knight, David, committee member
Kogan, Lori, committee member
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Living beings (flora and fauna) coexist within natural environments, sharing physical locations both temporally and spatially. When applied beyond the human scope, "place" takes on new meaning as humans and nonhuman animals each take part in their own placemaking practices. This study evaluates the practice of placemaking as it relates to long-term wildlife-human cohabitation and coexistence. Here, placemaking refers to the practice of attributing meaning to geographic locations or physical objects. Integrating compassionate conservation and multispecies livelihoods, researchers employed a patchwork ethnography methodology to identify patterns in collaborative placemaking. They also drew from a Multispecies Livelihoods framework, including compassionate conservation, which aims to conserve biodiversity and planetary climate at the individual rather than species level. Through ethnographic semi-structured interviews, archival research, and participant observation methodology, 16 researchers from Colorado State University's (CSU's) Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department and CSU's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program partnered with three wildlife rehabilitation centers and a veterinary teaching hospital in Costa Rica. The research team interviewed participants, conducted observations, and gathered data to analyze the effects of natural barriers to human activity in Costa Rica on collective placemaking practices. This research is based on a three-week pilot study in January 2022 titled, 'Wildlife Rehabilitation for Conservation', led by Dr. Bastian Thomsen. This initial pilot project aimed to inform future studies on the use of natural barriers, rather than constructed barriers, to foster animal welfare, wildlife-human coexistence, and more sustainable animal-human relationships. Findings suggest that collaborative placemaking, which is heavily influenced by natural boundaries, is a viable strategy for encouraging positive wildlife-human interactions and successful coexistence.
2023 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.
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