Hamer Center affiliates and collaborators Lacey Goldberg, Madeline Brown, and Tim Murtha hosted a summit on cultural and visual resource conservation at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, on July 22-23, 2019.
Attendees included employees of the National Parks Service (National Capital Region) and researchers from Penn State, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, the University of Western Georgia, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES).
Goals of the summit were to discuss research and planning methods for regional scale cultural and visual resource conservation and future directions for applicable studies.
From the AppLCC to the NCR: Landscape Scale Conservation Design and Planning for Culture and Community Resources, Timothy Murtha
Beginning in 2015, we initiated a partnership between Penn State, the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative, the Wildlife Management Institute in order to conduct a pilot study for integrating Cultural Resources early in Landscape Scale Conservation Design process. The pilot study was geographically focused on Pennsylvania and attempted to adapted principles and methods from natural resource planning to cultural resources. In the following three years we expanded the geography to refine our lessons learned from Pennsylvania to include adjacent states. Our purpose was to investigate the challenges and opportunities, while developing a plan for transferring the approaches in the pilot study across the entire Appalachian LCC geography. By early 2018 Landscape Conservation Cooperatives were no longer active, but our regional work continued with a new university partner (University of Florida). This paper will describe our process and introduce the sub-projects developed from this work. I will introduce the results of this work in order to kick off our presentations and discussions during the summit.
GIS, Geodesign, and Cultural Resources, Timothy Murtha
This presentation provides a detailed overview of the spatially explicit model we initially developed with thirteen ‘themes’ to map, analyze, and integrate information about cultural resources in landscape scale conservation design and planning. I will describe how the model has evolved through our work and how it compares to similar models used in natural resource landscape scale conservation design and planning.
Visual resources for conservation design and planning, Lacey Goldberg
Visual resources are a critical, but often overlooked type of cultural resource. Additionally, visual resources are often dealt with only at the site scale and not as part of a larger landscape or region. Building on a long history of photographic studies for landscape visual assessment, this work examines crowdsourced photography from Panoramio to identify visual resources and areas of scenic interest at larger scales. A pilot study in Pennsylvania and subsequent exploration in the National Capital Region show how publicly shared photography can aid the identification and prioritization of conservation areas by garnering information from residents and visitors, alike. Analyses of these data also show trends for the types of visual resources and landscapes that are most valued. Subsequently, other forms of data, such as impact projections, in this case from Marcellus shale gas exploration, can be compared to the photographic data to identify where future conflicts may occur.
Anthropological approaches to cultural resource classification and values: Surveys and Ethnographic Methods, Madeline Brown
How we classify and value both natural and cultural resources has major implications for their conservation and assessment. Although legal regulations for cultural resources such as the NHPA or NAGPRA offer clear guidelines for evaluating entities that fall under their jurisdiction, cultural resources cover far more than these official definitions encompass. Cultural models of cultural resources may vary across individuals from different management agencies, geographic regions, or cultural backgrounds. This in turn affects how they value and perceive cultural resources, both in their work and their daily life. Anthropological methods including ethnography, cultural domain analysis, participatory action research, and crowdsourcing can offer critical insights into how people classify and perceive cultural resources within their own cultural value system. By recognizing the variability and dynamism in cultural resource definitions and values, it is possible to develop more holistic and inclusive assessment criteria for management and conservation. Developing emic understandings of cultural resources is particularly important in contexts with diverse populations, nested management institutions, and potentially competing land-use priorities. This talk highlights two methodologies for incorporating anthropological methods into integrated landscape conservation design, surveys and ethnography. I cover both previous work with the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (e.g. applccresearch.space) and ongoing work with cultural resource specialists, concluding with directions for future work.
Anthropological Approaches: Social Media, Madeline Brown, Lacey Goldberg, and Nastaran Tebyanian
Social media offers new opportunities for assessing cultural resources across large landscapes. Here we discuss novel case studies and methodologies using Twitter and Panoramio, focusing on Pennsylvania and the National Capital Region. We will discuss the potential for resource managers to use social media for identifying public perceptions of natural and cultural resources and ultimately to inform conservation design and planning. We will also introduce methods for assessing the spatial distribution, content and sentiments of tweets across a variety of social and cultural contexts.
Modeling the ethnographic landscape for landscape scale conservation design, Timothy Murtha
Landscape scale conservation design for natural resources extends more than 20 years into the past, has developed comparative methodologies, and somewhat standardized processes. This work is founded on several decades of environmental science, and specifically advancements in spatial ecology and remote sensing. Recent initiatives, like the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives mandated the integration of cultural resources while developing landscape conservation designs. Yet, no consistent framework or methodologies exist. Moreover, the analytical foundations for this work, similar to those developed in ecology are only now emerging. What does a landscape scale conservation design process focused on cultural and natural resources look like? Is it a cultural application of natural systems modeling? Building on the theoretical perspectives of landscape archaeology, this paper describes a method for building regionally relevant integrated landscape conservation design and planning models focused on cultural resources. The method combines important anthropologically based field methods, with remote sensing, spatial analysis and design. Highlighting, some of the challenges and opportunities, a key purpose of this paper is to also present a guide that reflects on how new sources of data, new technology, and new media can drive this important work. Finally, before cultural resources can be fully integrated in landscape conservation design, this paper argues for a need for regionally relevant science efforts to build a stronger foundation for the next iteration of landscape conservation cooperatives.