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Title:Social-ecological systems resilience in changing rural landscapes of the Midwestern United States
Author(s):Evans, Nicole Marie
Director of Research:Stewart, William P
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):van Riper, Carena
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Davis, Mark A; Gille, Zsuzsa
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social-Ecological Systems Resilience, Sense of Place, Working Landscape, Rural Sociology, Natural Resources, Landscape Conservation Design,
Abstract:Regional conservation planning is challenged by the complexity of cross-scalar interactions and the limited sphere of influence to deliberately affect social-ecological systems. Human and natural processes are interlinked, non-linear, and emergent. This dissertation has explored the application of resilience thinking to sense of place as a conceptual basis for envisioning ideal environmental management approaches and as a tool for guiding regional conservation planning. Application of place resilience to three Midwestern sites across Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin has demonstrated how meanings for rural places were embedded within interpretations of social-ecological functioning. This work informs rural sociology, conservation planning and landscape restoration. In chapter two, I looked at stakeholder narratives about the causes of and solutions to water pollution in northeast Wisconsin. This work focused on the ways that water pollution in northeastern Wisconsin was tied to the politics of who has the right to inhabit and use rural spaces, and how these politics were mobilized through a discourse about ideal rural community life. In chapter 3, I focused on measuring place meanings for rural landscapes on the urban fringe in Illinois and Iowa and exploring their relationship to place attachment. I outline a mixed-methods approach that includes interpretive qualitative research and positivist quantitative research. Chapter 4 integrates all three study sites through a resilience framework where places are complex systems that exist within domains of attraction, able to withstand change unless pushed towards a threshold where rapid reorganization occurs. I apply these concepts to assess shifting meanings for rural places. These findings provide a way to understand interpretations of landscape change through a resilience framework and improve conceptualization of the effects of environmental management in rural places.
Issue Date:2019-06-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Nicole Evans
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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