Azura social scientist Rebecca Ingram virtually presented results of her research at the 27th Annual Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference in September. The conference theme “Ola Ka ʻĀina Momona: Managing for Abundance” translates to “The Abundant Land Thrives” and expanded on the idea that land and sea ecosystems maintain their abundant biocultural diversity and thrive through our efforts to achieve sustainability and enhance the viability of all life on Earth.
Rebecca’s research was conducted as part of the West Hawai‘i Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) project for the Ecosystems Science Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC).
Human well-being is intertwined with cultural ecosystem services, or the non-material benefits that people receive from the environment such as sense of place, spirituality, identity, and social relations. People care for and value cultural ecosystem services in diverse and complex ways. Although difficult, understanding this complexity is crucial for successful resource management. This research sought to better understand this gap in knowledge by conducting in-depth, semi-structured interviews with community members in West Hawaiʻi who are involved in marine conservation. Our results distinguished how cultural ecosystem services can be better understood and included in resource management, how they were discussed during interviews in a “bundled” manner, and the identification of place-based indicators.