Consumptive Use and Conservation of Marine Turtles in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042852/00001

Material Information

Title: Consumptive Use and Conservation of Marine Turtles in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua Implications of Taste Preferences, Local Opinions, and Cultural Knowledge
Physical Description: 1 online resource (171 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Garland, Kathryn Alice
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: caribbean -- consensus -- conservation -- consumptive -- cultural -- grounded -- knowledge -- nicaragua -- opinions -- preference -- taste -- theory -- turtles
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This dissertation examines the long-lived preference for the taste of green turtle meat and local opinions of sea turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua. Employing theory and methods from cultural (ecological) and cognitive anthropology, this study explored taste preferences and shared cultural knowledge of and attitudes toward sea turtles and sea turtle conservation efforts in the region. Caribbean Nicaragua has its own cultural logic that helps to explain the social norms, including eating habits, of coastal communities that historically relied on green turtle meat for nutrition and prefer its taste to other available meats. Following themes of cultural ecology and ecological anthropology, I provide a quantitative analysis of the relationship between protein preference and various demographic characteristics; age had a positive effect on preference for the taste of green turtle meat. Next, I employ methods from grounded theory in an ethnographic study of the meanings participants ascribe to their experiences with local sea turtle issues, including conservation and consumption of green turtles, in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua. Five major themes emerged from the data including: perceived lack of respect and support from the wealthy and powerful; corruption and human greed of politicians and external (from outside Nicaragua) organizations; lack of trust; barriers to authentic participation; and a connection to cultural identity through consumption of green turtle meat. To elucidate whether there is a single model for shared cultural knowledge in Pearl Lagoon, I conduct a cultural consensus analysis on the domain of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua. Cognitive testing revealed that residents maintain a high degree of shared knowledge on the domain of local sea turtle conservation and population status. These data strengthen the results from the taste preference study (chapter 2) and the grounded theory analysis (chapter 3). From a conservation perspective, results present common challenges to conservation efforts by external NGOs in rural areas of less developed countries. I am hopeful that the findings of my study will be used to inform the direction of future research and sea turtle conservation initiatives in Pearl Lagoon.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kathryn Alice Garland.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Carthy, Raymond R.
Local: Co-adviser: Wood, Charles H.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0042852:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0042852/00001

Material Information

Title: Consumptive Use and Conservation of Marine Turtles in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua Implications of Taste Preferences, Local Opinions, and Cultural Knowledge
Physical Description: 1 online resource (171 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Garland, Kathryn Alice
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: caribbean -- consensus -- conservation -- consumptive -- cultural -- grounded -- knowledge -- nicaragua -- opinions -- preference -- taste -- theory -- turtles
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This dissertation examines the long-lived preference for the taste of green turtle meat and local opinions of sea turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua. Employing theory and methods from cultural (ecological) and cognitive anthropology, this study explored taste preferences and shared cultural knowledge of and attitudes toward sea turtles and sea turtle conservation efforts in the region. Caribbean Nicaragua has its own cultural logic that helps to explain the social norms, including eating habits, of coastal communities that historically relied on green turtle meat for nutrition and prefer its taste to other available meats. Following themes of cultural ecology and ecological anthropology, I provide a quantitative analysis of the relationship between protein preference and various demographic characteristics; age had a positive effect on preference for the taste of green turtle meat. Next, I employ methods from grounded theory in an ethnographic study of the meanings participants ascribe to their experiences with local sea turtle issues, including conservation and consumption of green turtles, in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua. Five major themes emerged from the data including: perceived lack of respect and support from the wealthy and powerful; corruption and human greed of politicians and external (from outside Nicaragua) organizations; lack of trust; barriers to authentic participation; and a connection to cultural identity through consumption of green turtle meat. To elucidate whether there is a single model for shared cultural knowledge in Pearl Lagoon, I conduct a cultural consensus analysis on the domain of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua. Cognitive testing revealed that residents maintain a high degree of shared knowledge on the domain of local sea turtle conservation and population status. These data strengthen the results from the taste preference study (chapter 2) and the grounded theory analysis (chapter 3). From a conservation perspective, results present common challenges to conservation efforts by external NGOs in rural areas of less developed countries. I am hopeful that the findings of my study will be used to inform the direction of future research and sea turtle conservation initiatives in Pearl Lagoon.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kathryn Alice Garland.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2011.
Local: Adviser: Carthy, Raymond R.
Local: Co-adviser: Wood, Charles H.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2011
System ID: UFE0042852:00001

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2 2011 Kathryn Alice Garland


3 To my M om


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This dissertation was made possible through the support and assistance from the following people and organizations whose assistance was invaluable. First, I am forever grateful to the community of Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua, especially the participants in my study for their honesty and willingness to participat e in my dissertation research. I am also grateful to Dr. Cynthia Lagueux and Dr. Cathi Campbell, for their assistance, invaluable information sharing sessions, part time employment to extend my research season, and introduction s to community members prior to and during my field season I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my committee chair, Dr. Raymond R. Carthy, who allowed me to fully explore my international and interdisciplinary research i deas, and always had an ample supply of stress relief, often in the form of chocolate. My co advisor Dr. Charles H. Wood provided objective, yet supportive, guidance and I offer my sincere thank s to the other members of my supervisory committee, for their continued guidance and insight: Dr. Susan K. Jacobson, Dr. Perran Ross, Dr. Clarance Gravlee, Dr. Cathi L. Campbell, and Dr. Wallace J Nichols Dr. Perran Ross deserves an extra bit of gratitude for pr oviding me with wonderful office space and financial assistance in the final years of my doctorate, as well as friendship and an extra boost of confidence, making completion of my dissertation possible (and perhaps a bit enjoyable) I would like to thank t he Department of Wildlife Eco logy and Conservation for the 1 year t eaching assistantship and the 1 year fellowship (Cornett Fellowship) that allowed me to complete my program as well as the technical and administrative support and advice provided by Capri ce McRae, Elaine Culpepper, Delores Tillman, Claire Williams, and Dr. John Hayes. My PhD would not have been possible without three


5 years of teaching assistantships in the Department of Biology; the mentoring, excellent supervision of graduate students, an d sense of humor of Dr. Kent Vliet created an excellent working environment. I would also like to thank the following agencies and programs for academic and financial support along the way: the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, United St ates Geological Survey BRD, the Tropical Conservation and Development Program, the Tinker Foundation, the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, the International Sea Turtle Society, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (Doris and Earl Lowe and Verna Lowe Fellowship), the Teaching Center, My friends and family deserve my sincerest thanks and appreciation for their encouragement and for sticking with me through the difficult times, and for providing me with fu n and conversation in the relaxed and joyous times. In particular, I would like to thank my family of friends at UF : Krystal, Miriam, Maria, JG, Gaby, Forrest, Lisa, Lizzy, Gr eg, Debbie, Tim, Andrea, and especially Luke Rostant ; my cousins Megan and Nicole; my mom and Greg; my closest friend and supporter Gina; my dad, Kim and my siblings Amy, Meghan, and Eddie ; and my amazing grandmother and friend, Catherine DeSplinter I want to thank Bill Pendergraft, my other dad for pushing me to return to academia for my Ph.D. and for being such a wonderful person and friend. Finally, to my mo m: nothing I have achieved would have been possible without the wonderful guidance and love you provided me since the day I was born; thank you does not b egin to express my admiration and gratitude


6 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURE S ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 10 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 Subsis tence Use and Conservation ................................ ................................ ........ 14 Human Need and Conservation ................................ ................................ .............. 17 Sea Turtle Conservation ................................ ................................ ......................... 18 Plan of Dissertation ................................ ................................ ................................ 22 2 CHANGI NG TASTE PREFERENCES, MARKET DEMANDS, AND TRADITIONS IN PEARL LAGOON, NICARAGUA: A COMMUNITY HISTORICALLY RELIANT ON GREEN TURTLES FOR INCOME AND NUTRITION ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 26 Study Site ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 27 Social and Historical Context ................................ ................................ .................. 31 The Changing Role of Green Turtles on the Coast ................................ .......... 31 Boom and Bust Society ................................ ................................ .................... 33 Endangered Species, Regulations and Conservation Efforts ........................... 36 Increased Commoditization ................................ ................................ .............. 40 Road Impacts and Accessibility of Pearl Lagoon ................................ .............. 42 Ecological Anthropology ................................ ................................ ................... 45 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 47 Data Collect ion ................................ ................................ ................................ 47 Semi Structured Interviews ................................ ................................ .............. 48 Ranking Exercises ................................ ................................ ............................ 49 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 50 Semi Structured Interviews ................................ ................................ .............. 50 Ranking Exercises ................................ ................................ ............................ 51 Discussion and Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................... 54 Taste Preferences and the Significance of Green Turtle Meat ......................... 54 Potential Changes from Road Building and Market Integration ........................ 58 Future Studies ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 60


7 3 A GROUNDED THEORY APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING LOCAL OPINIONS TOWARD SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION IN A RURAL NICARAGUAN COMMUNITY ................................ ................................ ................. 71 Local Context ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 74 Historical Con text ................................ ................................ ............................. 75 Social Context ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 76 Grounded Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 8 0 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 84 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 84 In depth Interviews ................................ ................................ ........................... 86 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 87 Coding ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 88 Memo writing ................................ ................................ ............................. 89 Theoretical sampling ................................ ................................ .................. 90 Data Credibility and Reliability ................................ ................................ .......... 90 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 92 Perceived Lack of Respect, and Support ................................ ......................... 93 Corruption and Human Greed of Politicians and External Organizations ......... 95 Lack of Social and Institutional Trust ................................ ................................ 98 Participatory Constraints ................................ ................................ ................ 102 Cultural Identity ................................ ................................ .............................. 104 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 107 Conflict and Collaboration ................................ ................................ .............. 110 Fostering Positive Attitudes ................................ ................................ ............ 112 Closing Thoughts ................................ ................................ ........................... 113 4 CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES TOWARD SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION ISSUES IN PEARL LAGOON, NICARAGUA .......................... 117 Cultural Knowledge ................................ ................................ ............................... 118 Theoretical Perspective ................................ ................................ ........................ 119 Cultural Consensus Theory ................................ ................................ ............ 120 Informal Cultural Consensus Model ................................ ............................... 122 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 123 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ............................... 123 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ 124 Results and Discussion ................................ ................................ ......................... 127 MRFA: Knowledge of Sea Turtles and Sea Turtle Conservation .................... 127 Significance of Findings ................................ ................................ .................. 130 Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ............................ 134 Questions and Recommendations ................................ ................................ 135 Conservation through trust building ................................ ......................... 135 Interdisciplinary collaboration: a critical ingredient for conservation progress ................................ ................................ ................................ 139


8 5 CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 145 Summary of Key Findings ................................ ................................ ..................... 147 Cons ervation and Future Implications ................................ ................................ .. 149 Importance of Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 150 APPENDIX: INFORMED CONSENT FORM ................................ ............................... 153 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 155 BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 171


9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Ethnic identities and native languages represented in the community of Pearl Lagoon ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 65 2 2 Characteristics of semi structured interview participants ................................ .... 66 2 3 Ranking activity participant characteristics and mean attribute values. .............. 67 2 4 Assigned preferential ranking of meats by participants in RAAS communities in 2006 (Lagueux et al. 2006) and in Pearl Lagoon in 2008. .............................. 68 2 5 Mean age group differences in taste preference rankings based on a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post hoc comparison tests. .................. 68 2 6 Mean self reported socioeconomic status (SES) differences in taste preference rankings based on a one way analysis of variance ( ANOVA) with post hoc comparison tests. ................................ ................................ ................. 69 2 7 Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression of taste preference for turtle meat regressed on age (in years) ................................ ................................ ................ 69 2 8 Informant ranking of perceived price, and actual price ranking of available food items ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 70 3 1 Demographics of in depth interview participants ................................ .............. 116 4 1 Participant characteristics ................................ ................................ ................. 141 4 2 Minimum Residual Factor Analysis Eigenvalues for all 56 Participants ............ 142 4 3 Domain Question Items on Knowledge of Sea Turtles and Sea Turtle Conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua with Responses Agreed Upon by Community Members and P ercent Agreement ................................ ................. 143


10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 (Adapted from Maslow 1970) .............................. 25 2 1 Map of Central America; Nicaragua is located south of Honduras and north of Costa Rica. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 64 2 2 Map of the Pearl Lagoon Basin and surrounding areas, Caribbean Nicaragua .. 65 2 3 Map showing area between El Rama and the community of Pearl Lagoon ........ 66 2 4 Population of Pearl Lagoon (total 2540): number of males and females per age group ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 67 3 1 Process of Grounded Theory ................................ ................................ ............ 116 4 1 Screeplot for Minimum Residual F actor Analysis (MRFA) of Pearl Lagoon Caribbean Nicaragua ................................ ................................ ........................ 141


11 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S ANOVA Analysis of Variance BICU Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University CBC Community based Conservation CCA Cultural Consensus Analysis CCM Cultural Consensus Model CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ECSA Endangered Species Conserv ation Act ESA Endangered Species Act (of 1973) GT Grounded Theory IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature MARENA Ministerio del Ambiente y los Recursos Naturales (Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources) MRFA Minimum Residual Factor Analysis NGO Nongovernmental Organization NGCO Nongovernmental Conservation Organization OLS Ordinary Least Squares (Regression) RAAN Regin Autnoma del Atlntico Norte (Northern Autonomous Region) RAAS Regin Autnoma del Atlntico Sur (Southern Autonomous Region) SES Socio economic status SPAW Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) UNDP United Nations Development Program


12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy CONSUMPTIVE USE AND CONSERVATION OF MARINE TURTLES IN PEARL LAGOON, NICARAGUA: IMPLICATIONS OF TASTE PREFERENCES LOCAL OPINIONS, AND CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE By Kathryn A lice Garland December 2011 Chair: Raymond R. Carthy Co chair : Charles H. Wood Major: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation This dissertation examines the long lived preference for the taste of green turtle meat and local opinions of sea turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua. Employing theory and methods from cultural (ecological) and cognitive anthropology, this study explored taste preferences and shared cultural knowledge of and attitudes toward sea turtle s and sea turtle conservatio n efforts in the region. Caribbean Nicaragua has its own cultural logic that helps to explain the social norms, including eating habits, of coastal communities that historically relied on green turtle meat for nutrition and prefer its taste to other avail able meats. Following themes of cultural ecology and ecological anthropology, I provide a quantitative analysis of the relationship between protein preference and vari ous demographic characteristics; age had a positive effect on preference for the taste of green turtle meat Next, I employ methods from grounded theory in an ethnographic study of the meanings participants ascribe to their experiences with local sea turtle issues, includ ing conservation and consumption of green turtles in Pearl Lagoon, Nicar agua. Five major themes emerged from the data including : perceived lack of respect and support from


13 the wealthy and powerful; corruption and human greed of politicians and external (from outside Nicaragua) organizations; lack of trust; barriers to authenti c participation; and a connection to cultural identity through co nsumption of green turtle meat. T o elucidate whether there is a single model for shared cultural knowledge in Pearl Lagoon, I conduct a cultural consensus analysis on the domain of sea turtle s and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua Cognitive testing revealed that residents maintain a high degree of shared knowledge on the domain of lo cal sea turtle conservation and population status. These data strengthen the results from the tast e preference study (chapter 2) and the grounded theory analysis (chapter 3). From a conservation perspective, results present common challenges to conservation efforts by external NGOs in rural areas of less developed countries. I am hopeful that t he findi ngs of m y study will be used to inform the direction of future research and sea turtle conservation initiatives in Pearl Lagoon.


14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This dissertation is an ethnographic account of sea turtle conservation and consumption issues as they relate to the lives of people living in the community of Pearl Lagoon, in Caribbean Nicaragua. It focuses in particular on the challenges fa cing sea turtle conservation efforts in a region that historically relied on se a turtles for nutrition and income. In this chapter, I introduce the reader to background information that informs the research questions and the basic context in which this res earch was undertaken. Subsistence Use and Conservation The term community, when used in the context of conservation, is used to describe groups of people that are the target of initiatives or interventions (Hill 2009). Common as sumptions that communities a re similar in their spatial location, ethnicity, religion, language, or political system (Leach et al. 1999) are not necessarily true and the local access to or control over various natural resources is not often equally distributed among individuals. Ther efore, it is wise for conservation strategies to avoid assumptions that target communities are homogenous entities and to realize that individual community members have varying beliefs and needs, including incentives to support conservation action. Communi ties characterized as having a subsistence economy are those that satisfy needs for food and other basic needs for human existence through consumptive use and natural resource extraction to meet immediate needs ( L. Campbell 2003). Consumptive use in this c ase refers to the direct removal of a species or its parts, often for direct consumption (nutrition) or income (through market sale). The existence of true


15 subsistence economies is now extremely rare, due to the presence of market economies throughout the world and Ekelund et al. (1992) state that the meaning of subsistence is biological survival under conditions of accumulation of capital When focusing on conservation, the decline in species i s often attributed to the introduction of market economies and the transition away from subsistence use (Nietschmann 1979; Spring 1995) Consumption of wildlife to both provide meat for and produce income through market sale is a common pra ctice in developing nations, including those in Latin America and Afric a (King 1994; Juste et al. 1995 ). Previous studies provide evidence that the market and subsistence harvest of wildlife can result in unsustainable exploitation levels and threaten popu lations of target sp ecies (Noss 1995). Also, according to Wilkie et al. (2001), in many slow growing species, non subsistence harvest exceeds their replacement rates. Traditional narratives identify local people as the primary threat to declining wildlife populations and the conservation strategy of form ing protected areas with restricted access and limited use has resulted in questionable effectiveness in developing countries (Adams and Hulme 2001). In the p ast 20 years, there has been a paradigm shift from the establishment of protected areas to ecosystem management that places locals in leadership roles and instills within communities a sense of ownership and pride in conservation efforts (Western and Wright 1994). These c ommunity bas ed c onservation (CBC) approaches are concerned with local economic, social, and cultural context s rather than solely on the local use of the species of concern. Regardless of whether the targeted species is being extracted or


16 consumed, CBC focuses on invo lving communities in conservation and providing locals with a sense of ownership as well as a source of social and economic benefits. Many con servation organizations and non governme ntal organizations (NGO s) are adopting the CBC approach; however, they are frequently running into major obstacles in program implementation Campbell states that these obstacles are the result of not involving locals in the program design process, but rather soliciting participation to support a predetermined conservation progra m (Hackel 1999; L. Campbell 2003). M any early CBC projects were unsuccessful (Agrawal and Gibson 1999; Newmark and Hough 2000) due to the lack of local capacity to successfully participate in the conservation process (Kellert et al. 2000; Newmark and Hough 2000). To improve CBC efforts, various international conservation organizations have now invested their time in local capacity building efforts yet the efforts have yet to change a significant number of projects for the better (Berkes 2004). O ther factor s limiting the success of new CBC initiatives include lack of understanding of the cultural context and social norms by outsiders and inexperience of numerous external 1993). gain an in depth understanding of their unique social structure; without this component, it is not possible to determine appropriate and realistic conservation measures and communit y incentives (Little 1994; L. Campbell 1998). In order to manage wildlife populations and regulate harvests it is critical to understand why people eat wildlife, and the role that the wildlife plays in household income and nutrition (Apaza et al. 2002). F or example, if the reason people eat a particular animal is the lack of an


17 alternative source of protein or that it is cheaper than available alternatives local policy makers could provide incentives for having substitutes available, or raise the relative price of the wild meat (Wilkie and Godoy 2001 ) If however, the consumption of wildlife is due to a taste preference, there may not be a suitable alternative. Although nourishment is the most obvious influence on food choice, it is also influenced by ease of access, availability, and cultural norms (Rose 2001). One of the objectives of this research design is to gain a better understanding of consumptive use (based on taste preference) and conservation challenges in the rural commu nity of Pearl Lagoon, Nic aragua This understanding will then be placed in the larger context of shared cultural knowledge in the domain of sea turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon. Human Need and Conservation Successful conservation is also complicated by the fact that many commun ities located in or near ar eas of conservation concern experience high levels of poverty and are dependent upon the local natural resources for their livelihoods. This dependence often forces community members to illegally harvest resources when there are no alternative sources of affordable food or income available (Brockington 2004). The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1/day and poverty as living c Nicaragua, 49.7% of the population lives on less than $1/day and 77.9% lives on less than $2/day (Ferreira & Ravallion 2008). Finding the balance between resource use and c onservation are directly linked to alleviating poverty in developing countries (Adams et al. 2004). Coastal people living in chronic poverty are focused on meeting basic human


18 needs and are less likely to consider the long term effects of their natural res ource use, including taking of sea turtles, on the local community and the ecosystem. Meat and eggs from green turtles not only provide an individual household with food, they also provide the fisherman or butcher with economic benefits from market sales. In order for conservation initiatives, like the external NCGO based in Pearl Lagoon, to be sustainable, it is critical that they gain the support of local community members and encourage local participation in the conservation efforts (Alexander 2000; Mehta and Heinen 2001; Jacobson et al. 2006). However, according to human needs theory people fulfill basic needs (food, water, health, and security) before they become motivated to p articipate in community problem solving and collective action issues, li ke (Figure 1 1) is a modest explanation of human behavior, knowing where individuals and communities fit in the hierarchy can help conservation organizations develop appropriate initiatives to manage natural resources (Jacobson 2009). Sea Turtle Conservation have provided humans with an important food source through most of their documented history ( Thorbjarnarson et al. 2000). D eclines in sea turtle populations in the last 200 years are primarily the result of by catch in fisheries, loss or destruction of habitat, marine pollution, and human use. Regarding population status of sea turtles, there are no accurate estimates for any species, however all sea turtles are protected in the US under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and s ix of the seven extant species of sea turtles are currently categorized on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, Endang er ed, or Vulnerable (IUCN 200 8 ). This categorization is problematic as the IUCN


19 calculates endangerment based on population declines over three generations; however, sea turtles are long lived species whose population estimates are primarily based on nesti ng beach data that rarely spans more than two decades. In order to determine population declines over three generations, data from the nesting beach es have been used to project trends backwards, which may or may not accurately reflect actual trends (Semino ff 2004). The idea that nesting numbers are used as an indication of overall species population size is also problematic, as the link between populations of adult males and juveniles and nesting populations (females) is unknown (Ger r odette & Taylor 1999). The last issue with IUCN categorization is due to the Red List focusing on global population threats, whereas regional populations of sea turtles vary considerably. Currently, the international sale of sea turtles and sea turtle products is illegal among the signatory nations of the Convention on Internation al Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES ), however, the in country harvest and sale of turtles and turtle products varies considerably throughout the world. Caribbean Nicaragua. Caribbean coast of Nicaragua : green ( Chelonia mydas ) hawksbill ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ) and leatherback ( Dermochelys coriacea ) All species populations are reduced from historic levels. The sea grass pastures located foraging grounds to sea turtles, especially green turtles and hawksbills. Green turtles are large, primarily herbivorous marine reptiles that inhabit relatively warm ocean waters around the globe (Carr et al. 1978; Bjorndal 1997; Lagueux et al. 2005). Currently, the green turtle is classified as globally endangered, according to the


20 2008 IUCN (W orld Conservation Union) red list of threatened species (IUCN 2008). 1 They are listed in Annex II of the SPAW Protocol (Protocol to the Cartagena Convention Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife), listed on Appendix I of CITES, and Appendices I and II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (UNEP CEP 1990; CMS 2008; UNEP WCMC 2008). Green turtles are the largest of the hard shelled sea turtles and, like other sea turtle species, have several life history characteristics that make them susceptible to exploitation they are air breathing and therefore have to surface frequently, they forage and mate in large groups, and they migrate in predictable seasonal patterns to accomplish these stages of their life cycles. Nesting females also have to emerge onto beaches to lay eggs, leaving track marks behind them, and making them subject to consumption, poaching, and animal predation (Parsons 1962; Carr et al. 1978). The largest remaining green turtle rookery in the Atlantic Basin, and o ne of the two largest in the world, is the population that nests in Tortuguero, Costa Rica (Lagueux 1998; Treng & Rankin 2005). The monitoring and conservation of this population began in 1955 and continues to this day (Treng & Rankin 2005). The primary foraging habitats for this rookery as well as other populations, are the sea grass pastures Tortuguero), which is also the location of one of the largest legal, commercia l sea turtle fisheries in the Americas (Bjorndal 1997 ; Campbell & Lagueux 2005). years ( Carr 1954; Parsons 1962; Thorbjarnarson et al. 2000 ). Green turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua have 1 Having an IUCN red list status of endangered means that Chelonia mydas is facing a very high risk of


21 played an important role in providing nourishment, maint aining social relationships and economies based on sharing and exchange, opening up the Caribbean region for trade with Europe and ultimately, providing the means for coastal indigenous groups to acquire i ncome and material goods (Parsons 195 5 ). 2 Sea Turtle Conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua A nongovernmental conservation organization (NGCO) has been present and actively investigating the since 1993. This NGCO is also involved in conservation of other sea turtle species, including a project (initiated in 2000 ) to protect nesting hawksbills on the Pearl Cays I mplementation of the NGCOs marine turtle conservation effort in Caribbean Nicaragua was a collaborative effort with the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA Ministerio del Ambiente y Recursos N aturales). The conserva tion and research initiative in Pearl Lagoon has multiple objectives including: contributing scientific data to the evaluation of green turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) populations in the Caribbean expanding on monitoring efforts and data collection (including marine turtle catch/take numbers and catch per unit effort), and implementing a management regime (a management plan has already been published) that incorporates the viability of alternative income generation and provides a n estimate of sustainable harvest size ( Campbell 2003; Lagueux et al. 2005; Brautigam and Eckert 2006). 2 Archie Carr stated More than any other dietary factor, the green turtle supported the opening up of the Cari bbean (1956: 17). In the 1600s, the western Caribbean region, specifically the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the San Andres Archipelago, Tortuguero (Costa Rica) and Caribbean Nicaragua were united through networks of resource trade between the English and Misk it u Indians.


22 Plan of Dissertation The dissertati on is divided into five chapters that build on each other by examin ing historic preferences for the taste of green tu rtle meat, perceptions of Pearl Lagoon residents toward local leadership and conservation efforts, and shared cultural knowledge in the domain of sea turtle conservation. Chapter 2 addresses the historic taste preferences for sea turtle meat in Caribbean N icaragua, using a sample of 105 individuals from independent households in the community of Pearl Lagoon as a present day example. Taste preference is estimated through participant ranking of available foods in the community. The factors that affect this p refer ence are analyzed using an analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the impact of age on preference were analyzed using or dinary least squares regression; this analysis was completed to assess the effect of age on preference for the taste of turtle meat over other available meats by individuals in the community. The results of these analyses are used to suggest the importance of historical taste preferences for consumptive use of sea turtle s in Pearl Lagoon; highlighting one of the challenges to co nservation i n rural, developing areas Chapter 3 develops a conceptual understanding of what phenomena are occurring in the realm of sea turtle conservation for a sample of Pearl Lagoon residents. The grounded theory methodology was employed to preserve participant ex periences and develop theories resembling the reality of participant experiences with and attitudes about sea turtle conservation. The initiation of programs by conservation organizations to engage local participation are generally viewed as positive means for both gaining local support and giving locals a g reater sense of program ownership. The results of this chapter are used to compare these expectations with actual participant experiences,


23 suggest the impact of local trust and perceptions toward leaders and external organizations, and develop hypotheses f or future research to promote conservation program effectiveness The results of these analyses also suggest the potential challenges facing the external NGCO working to conserve sea turtles in Pearl Lagoon, rooted in local corruption and a history of extr eme rises and falls in the local economy. Chapter 4 employs informal cultural consensus modeling to examine shared knowledge among Pearl Lagoon residents of the domain of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua. Informal consensus m odeling uses minimum residual factor analysis to assess informants to make inferences about their differential competence in knowledge of the 31 6). The domain of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation issues in Pearl Lagoon is particularly relevant to this dissertation, as the existence of a single cultural model would imply that locals tap the same (single) socio ecological knowledge base regard ing issues surrounding local sea turtle conservation. Findings indicating a single knowledge base can be useful in supporting the reliability of results from chapter 2 and 3 (as related to the domain of local sea turtle conservation issues) and can be usef ul in the context of sea turtle conservation and management. By elucidating shared cultural knowledge, conservation challenges that emerge can be approached with specific conservation strategies. Chapter 5 serves to : integrate the previous chapters and sum marize emergent theories explain potential indications of study findings, and provide recommendations for further research and conservation in the region While this research is focused on the human dimensions of sea turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon, N icaragua, the


24 overall findings are also important in the broader context of challenges for sea turtle conservation efforts in rural communities Emergent theories may drive research in other communities with a historical reliance on wildlife for income and consumption and highlighting the importance of contextualizing cultural knowledge when implementing conservation strategies in rural areas of developing nations


25 Figure 1 (Adapted from Maslow 1970)


26 CHAPTER 2 CHANGING TASTE PREFERENCES, M ARKET DEMANDS, AND T RADITIONS IN PEARL LAGOON, NICARA GUA: A COMMUNITY HISTORICALLY RELIANT ON GREEN TURTLES FOR IN COME AND NUTRITION 1 For many people living in developing countries, sea turtles are spectacular, serene and beautiful creatures, gliding through coral reefs in warm tropical waters, instilling a sense of awe in those granted the privilege of a close encounter. However, charismatic green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) also represent challenging aspects of environmental conservation, cul tural connections to subsistence harvests, illegal international trade issues and economic struggles of poverty stricken indigenous groups and traditional societies. Communities in rural areas of developing countries are progressively bec oming exposed to and incorporated into global market systems, resulting in the alteration of long established harvest methods, use patterns, and kinship relationships. This market incorporation by indigenous groups has also been linked to adaptation of tra ditional, subsistence activities (Silvius 2004). The primary goal of this chapter is to explore the importance of cultural adaptations and taste preferences as they relate to the legal, uncontrolled harvest of green turtles in a Nicaraguan fishing communi ty. The secondary goals of this article are to elucidate the links between individual demographic characteristics (e.g., socioeconomic level, age and level of education) and taste preferences for turtle meat in Caribbean Nicaragua and to speculate whether these taste preferences have been altered following integration into the global market from 1969 to 1976 (during the operation of three turtle processing plants); to question if there are obvious conditions 1 This chapter is adapted from: Garland, K. and R. Carthy. 2010. Changing taste preferences, market demands and traditions in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua: A community reliant on green turtles for income and nutrition. Conservation and Society 8(1 ): 55 72.


27 under which these indigenous societies were trans formed by market trade relationships from subsistence based to ecologically exploitative; to describe the decreasing isolation in the Pearl Lagoon Basin and anticipate potential impacts of an increase in accessibility to indigenous and ethnic coastal commu nities for outsiders and tourists. This chapter is organiz ed as follows: first, I present background information on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua (Figure 2 1) and my study site in the Pearl Lagoon Basin, including descriptions of the indigenous groups a nd ethnic communities inhabiting the region. Using key concepts from environmental anthr opology and cultural ecology, I discuss the significance of green turtles for coastal indigenous societies and how the alteration of traditional uses of turtle meat has resulted in variou s cultural adaptations. Next, I describe how trade relationships with Europe, increasing market demands from extractive and exploitative foreign enterprises (which were also p roviding much desired wage labo r), and historical taste prefer ences for turtle meat have contributed to the current endangered status of the species, illustrating that the current problems facing green turtles have historical connections and link age s to outside markets. I then explicate the results of my study on the community of Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua, focusing on present day taste preferences and demographic factors that contribute to local preference for turtle over other available meats. It is also important to consider the addition of a road in this previously i solated region, suggesting potential effects of the road on cultural and social structure. I conclude with a discussion of potential future research. Study Site My case study focuses on communities of mixed Miskitu and Creole ethnicity based in the 5200 km 2 Pearl Lagoon Basin (RAAS), located approximately 40 km north


28 of Bluefields, Nicaragua (Figure 2 2). Twelve communities, most of which have less than 500 inhabitants 2 are located around the Pearl Lagoon Basin. According to recent population estimates, th e basin has a total population of 8,802 inhabitants (in 1,830 households), 57% (5,017) of which are males and 43% (3,785) female. The majority of the population (61% of males and 84% of females) are between 0 and 30 years of age. The most densely populated communities (1000+ inhabitants each) are Pearl Lagoon (2,540), Haulover (1,897), Tasbapaunie (1,445) and Orinoco (1,010) (Beer & Vanegas 2007). The primary indigenous and ethnic groups represented in the Pearl Lagoon Basin are Miskitu Creole, Garifuna a nd Mestizo. 3 Coastal people identifying themselves as ethnically Creole comprise 52% of the basin population. They are followed by 33% Miskitu 14% Garifuna and 1.5% Mestizo (Riverstone 2003; Beer & Vanegas 2007). The primary language, spoken by 83% of basin inhabitants, is Creole English, though many communities also have bilingual Creole Miskitu Creole Spanish, or Miskitu Spanish residents (Table 2 1). 4 2 Various publications refer to the 13 (or more) communities in the Pearl Lagoon Basin, often including the village of Pueblo Nuevo, which is located upstream on the Wawashang River. In this article, regional summaries include the following 12 c ommunities: Tasbapaunie, Marshall Point, Orinoco, San Vicente, La Fe, Brown Bank, Kahkabila, Pearl Lagoon, Raitipura, Awas, Haulover and Set Net Point. 3 There is some discretion regarding the correct spelling of the indigenous group (people) and language called Miskit u However, the spelling depends on what language you are writing or speaking. The English word commonly used is Miskito In Spanish, the indigenous group (people) is spelled misquito and when referring to the name of the language, the wo rd is Misquito In Miskito it is spelled Miskitu and their pronunciation is MEES kee too. Although some would argue that one should use the spelling that is used by the indigenous group themselves, for the purposes of th is dissertation, I will use the spelling that is used. 4 There are also individuals in the RAAS that are trilingual (Creole English, Miskit u and Spanish). This is often the case whe n raised in a household with parents speaking different languages and a third language is learned at school. For example, in Pearl Lagoon, the local language is Creole English, but most schools teach inhabitants to read and write in Spanish, using Spanish textbooks. Also, coastal Miskit u in the RAAS speak the Miskit u language in their communities, but can also speak either Creole English or Spanish.


29 Although discussing the entire basin, this chapter focuses on two main communities: Tasbapaunie and Pearl Lagoon. This account is mainly composed of historical information (described further in the following section) on the Miskitu community of Tasbapaunie collected by Dr. Bernard Nietschmann in th e 1970s (Nietschmann 1972 a 1972 b 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1979) and present day accounts primarily from my 2008 field season in Pearl Lagoon. Ov er a seven month period (May to November) in 2008, I conducted all field research in Pearl Lagoon, located 40 km s outhwest of Tasbapaunie and 30 km north of Bluefields (Figure 2 2). The village of Pearl Lagoon is a primarily Creole community located in the southeast region of the lagoon for which it was named (Beer & Vanegas 2007). For cla rity, from this point forward I will refer to the Pearl Lagoon body of water as the Lagoon, the Pearl Lagoon Basin as the Basin and the community of Pearl Lagoon as Pearl Lagoon. The economy of Pearl Lagoon has traditionally been based on fisheries and agricultural products (Christi e 1999; Christie et al. 2000). The main fisheries products (i.e., lobster, shrimp, gill fish and sea turtles) have numerous target markets located varying distances from the community; e.g., green turtle is usually sold within the community to individuals f rom Pearl Lagoon or the neighbo ring communities (Haulover, Raitipura and Awas), whereas fish and shrimp may be sold to middlemen in Pearl Lagoon who will then sell the goods to markets in Bluefields (Hostetler 1998; Christie et al. 2000; personal observa tion). The US imports fish, shrimp and lobster from the region; in 2009, the US imported approximately 700,000 kg of shrimp from Nicaragua in the month of September (Foreign Trade Statistics 2009). Agricultural products are


30 grown primarily for local consu mption rather than for sale (Dodds 1998). Similar to other rural, disadvantaged communities in Central America, the local economy in Nicaragua is significantly supplemented by remittances (a key source of household income from family members working outsid e Nicaragua). Remittances from family members, working primarily in the United States and Costa Rica, provide a significant contribution to the economy of Pearl Lagoon and often act as the primary source of household income (Orozco 2003). The People of Ca ribbean Nicaragua The Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (Figure 2 1) is divided from the western part of the country not only by rugged mountains, tropical rainforest and extensive agricultural lands, but also by historical and cultural differences. Since the Caribbean lowlands were a British protectorate beginning in the seventeenth century, but were never part of the Spanish empire, the inhabitants of this region are more likely to speak English (or an indigenous language) than Spanish in everyday conversati on (Hale & Gordon 1987). Often referred to as the Miskitu (or Mosquito) Coast, named after the indigenous Miskit u Indians inhabiting the region, the Eastern half of Nicaragua is divided into the R o San Juan Department and two autonomous regions Regin Autnoma del Atlntico Sur (RAAS) and Regin Autnoma del Atl ntico Norte (RAAN). The Miskitu Coast territory more accurately consists of a narrow strip of land along the Caribbean Sea extending from Cape Cameron in eastern Honduras to San Juan de Nicaragu a in southeastern Nicaragua (Beer & Vanegas 2007). Outside the primary commercial centers in the RAAS, Bluefields and Corn Island, inhabitants of the Caribbean coast live in a variety of indigenous and ethnic


31 communities. Ethnicity in these communities is not only based on ancestry, but also on linguistic, economic and cultural characteristics (Gordon 1998; Riverstone 2003; Dennis 2004). RAAS communities are comprised of individuals in the following indigenous and ethnic groups: Miskitu Indian, Rama Indian Sumu Indian, Garifuna (Carib), Mestizo (Spanish indigenous), Creole (Afro Caribbean) and Miskitu /Creole mix (Hale & Gordon 1987; CACRC 1998; Riverstone 2003; Lagueux et al. 2005). 5 The population of Pearl Lagoon is primarily Creol e; however is neighbo r ed by two Miskitu communities: Raitipura and Awas. Social and Histor ical Context The Changing Role of Green Turtles on the Coast (Lagueux et al. 2005). Green turtles in Caribbea n Nicaragua have played an important role in providing nourishment, maintaining social relationships and economies based on sharing and exchange, opening up the Caribbean region for trade with Europe and ultimately, providing the means for coastal indigeno us groups to acquire income and material goods (Parsons 195 5 ). 6 Historically, the Miskitu Indians of Nicaragua and Honduras developed settlements based on the spatial and temporal distribution of green turtles along the Caribbean coast (Nietschmann 1972a, 1973). In traditional Miskitu society, social relationships and an economic system based on exchange were one and the same; every action or 5 Miskit u Indian, Rama Indian and Sumu Indian are all indigenous groups, whereas Garifuna (Carib), Mestizo ( Spanish indigenous) Creole (Afro Caribbean) and Miskit u /Creole mix are ethnic groups. 6 Archie Carr stated More than any other dietary factor, the green turtle supported the opening up of the Caribbean (1956: 17). In the 1600s, the western Caribbean region, specifically the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the San Andres Archipelago, Tortuguero (Costa Rica) and Caribbean Nicaragua were united through networks of resource trade between the English and Miskit u I ndians.


32 exchange, especially of turtle meat, included both an economic aspect and a social context (Helms 1969, 1971). Prio r to the introduction of cash based market activities, green turtle meat was one of the primary items exchanged and given in this system as a crucial marker of kinship and solidarity relations (Nietschmann 1973). Sea turtle meat was a dietary staple and an integral aspect of consumption and repayment in Miskitu culture. Consumption is defined as the use of goods and services in which the objects being used (or usage activity) are not only material items, but also items or activities in which humans construc t their social and cultural understandings (Robbins 2002). For the purpose of this article, I am referring to consumption of sea turtles as the act of eating (using) sea turtle meat as a protein source The shared cultural act of eating is performed by all humans through the transformation of raw natural resources (food) into meals and cooked dishes that vary by society (Rose 2001; Apaza et al. 2002). Consumption of wildlife is, according to some theories, based on strong traditions and deep seated cultural taste preferences (Apaza et al. 2002). Green turtle meat was a common form of repayment in the Miskitu system of social responsibility based on exchange and reciprocity (of both goods and services). This system ensured that no family member or other membe r or society would go without meat for long. Community members held themselves equally responsible for the care of elders, children, ill individuals and other people unable to administer their own care (Helms 1969). Green turtles were therefore embedded i n the Miskitu ethic of subsistence which regulated natural resource use through debts and obligations to relatives or other community members that could be paid/re paid in the form of turtle


33 meat or other resources (Helms 1971; Nietschmann 1972a, 1973, 1974, 1975; Lagueux 1998). need for money in the indigenous com munities since there were no local opportunit ies to earn or spend it. After the English opened their first trade company in Caribbean Nicaragua around 1634, outside contact and trade became part of Miskitu society and significantly altered the traditional culture, subsistence livelihoods and natural resources (Helms 1971). 7 Cash based market systems began to divert turtle meat from the traditional intra village exchange system to other individuals and outsiders, placing substantial strain on familial ties and kinship relationships (Kindblad 2001). Onc e trade became a way of life, resources, especially sea turtles, became a means to secure material goods at trading stations (Nietschmann 1973). Boom and Bust Society In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Caribbean Nicaragua was sporadically trading with both French and English explorers (and pirates), resulting in alterations to local subsistence oriented natural resource uses, including the emergence of income driven exploitation (Roberts 1827; Helms 1969). The coast was then subject to a series of boom and bust industries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (and lasting through the twentieth century) after the British set up trade relations with the coastal Miskitu (Nietschmann 1974, 1975; Christie 1999). The first commercial 7 Mary Helms (1971: 228) also said the Miskit u existence as an identifiable ethnic group with a distinctive way of life is a direct result of trade with the West. Although the Miskit u culture did not undergo a complete change once trade relation s were in place, they did alter their existing system of exchange to incorporate trade in a cash based market economy.


34 operations to employ a significant number of Miskitu Indians 8 were focused on both mahogany and rubber extraction, followed by the introduction of banana companies (Nietschmann 1972a). The Banana Era lasted through the 1930s, intensifying natural resource destruction, providing the coastal people with opportunities for wage labor and replacing the traditional, selective natural resource extraction practices that had previously dominated (Parsons 1955; Robb 2005). During what locals refer to as the Golden Years or t he Company Period (1890 1930), members of local communities were employed in the extraction of other goods as well, including non timber forest products (rubber), gold, cotton, sugar, and seafood especially sea turtles (Conzemius 1932; Helms 1971; Nietsch mann 1973, 1974, 1975; Dozier 1985; Hale 1994; Christie 1999). These initial relationships were mutually beneficial, allowing the Miskitu access to foreign goods and arms, and creating opportunities for British traders to employ skilled local fishermen, an d providing them with fearsome warriors in territorial battles against the Spanish (Nietschmann 1979). However, the relationship between the Miskitu and the environment was changing drastically and the environment was beginning to suffer from the exploitat ive nature of these intensified extractions (Nietschmann 1973). During this period of time, individuals from coastal Miskitu and Creole communities were employed as wage laborers by many of the extractive industries (Helms 1971). In his article, When the T urtle Collapses, the World Ends Nietschmann ( 1974: 161) states that as the coast experienced these 8 These operations also used many Creoles for manual labor. The Miskitu Coastal Creole came to be following the shipwreck of African slav es on the Miskitu Coast as early as 1640 along with British settlers bringing Africans from Jamaica as slave laborers to Caribbean Nicaragua (Nietschmann 1972a).


35 economic booms, resources became a commodity with a price tag, market exploitation a livelihood and foreign wages and goods a necessity Exportation of tu rtle meat and calipee, a cartilaginous substance found between the upper and lower shell that is a key ingredient in turtle soup, resulted in a 228% increase in green turtle exploitation from 1969 to 1971 in Tasbapaunie alone (Nietschmann 1972). The relati onship between the British and coastal Nicaraguans was based on sea turtles for over 200 years, leading to changes in cultural uses and the significance of these uses of turtles (Nietschmann 1974). Due to the rapid development and industrialization of th e turtle industry in the 1960s and 1970s, sea turtles became an intensively harvested commodity in the area and forever altered the traditional relationship between the Miskitu people, the ir local ecosystem and sea turtles. The level of harvesting activit ies and resource extraction once driven by daily food needs and kinship obligations (based on reciprocity, generosity and communal exchange), were now intensified and fuelled by a common desire for cash and associated material goods. bust period, beginning in the late 1800s (Nietschmann 1973; Lagueux 1998). The boom and bust characterization that many give to this region continues today, leaving coastal inhabitants with a continued desire for income and material goods, and with un reliable access to employment and/or goods. Nietschmann (1974: 161) described the Miskitu in the 1970s as being, left with an ethic of poverty, but they still had the subsistence skills that maintained their still capable of providing reliable resources for local consumption. Traditional subsistence culture no longer dominates;


36 resource s now have monetary values and manual labo r requires wage compensation. Relative isolation and lack of political control over the larger economic context upon which they are dependent, contributes to the current vulnerability of these coastal societies in the global market economy. In other words, forei gn led exploitation and trade of local ecosystems, cultures and practices (Nietschmann 1997). Endangered Species, Regulations and Conservation Efforts In 1969, the United States Congress amended the Endangered Species Conservation Act (ECSA, a predecessor to the Endangered Species Act of 1973) to protect species and ecosystems nationally. This amendment to the ESCA also called for an international meeting to adopt an endangered species conservation treaty, resulting in the 1973 creation of CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Countries voluntarily participated in CITES, which ultimat ely subjected all international trade in specimens or products originating from species listed as threatened or endangered (including sea turtles) to certain restrictions and permitting systems. In 1969, the same year that the ESCA was amended, the first s ea turtle processing operation opened in Bluefields, Nicaragua (another plant was built in the northern commercial center of Puerto Cabezas the previous year ). These operations resulted in the exportation of up to 10,000 green turtles annually th r ough 1976 and the previously detailed monetization of the traditional subsistence sector (Nietschmann 1973, 1979; Lagueux 1998 ). Once sea turtles became a valuable commodity on the coast, market intensification, exploitative fisheries, dependence on foreign goods, and conflicts between kinship obligations and the desire for monetary income altered the traditional self sufficient life of subsistence. I n 1977, however,


37 Nicaragua became a signatory of CITES, as an indirect result of pressure from the United States and the increased protection of green turtles in Caribbean Costa Rica through the establishment of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (1959) and the Tortuguero National Park (1970) Once a signatory, Nicaraguan turtle factories were permanently closed (Nie tschmann 1979). By this point, following years of green turtle exploitation and export, even the most skilled traditional turtle fishermen could no longer catch enough to feed their families (Nietschmann 1979) 9 From 1981 to 1990, Nicaragua experienced a c ivil war that indirectly resulted in the coastal sea turtle harvests decreasing to an average 2,780 turtles annually from 1985 t o 1990 (Montenegro Jimnez 1992 ). According to Lagueux (1998), this reduction in the green turtle harvest levels may have provid ed enough time for populations to increase, allowing the increase in take levels seen in the 1990s and 2000s. Between 1994 and 1999, Lagueux ( 2009 ) reports harvests ranging from 9,400 to over 11,000 green turtles annually According to population studies b y Campbell ( C. Campbell 2003), in order for the Nicaragua green turtle harvest to be sustainable, the maximum allowable annual take was estimated to be approximately 2,900 turtles/year 10 This 9 In the late 1970s, the legal harvest of green turtles by indigenous and ethnic communities on able to make a living by selling turtles to the companies and local households and villages felt the economic impact of this change. In response to p rotective legislature (i.e., the Ley de Pesca y Acuicultura N 489, 2004 and the Decreto Ejecutivo Relativo a la Veda de Tortugas en el Ocano Atlntico N 204 DRN, 1972), factory closings and decreased population of green turtles at traditional fishing gr ounds, the Miskit u shifted their hunting efforts to wildlife that was not protected and began opening small stores and operations to earn income. The migration rates of coastal Nicaraguans also increased from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, in response to the war and many seeking new income generating activities. 10 This approximation of 2,900 turtles is a recommendation among a range of estimated sustainable levels generated from several models. For further details on models generated and the range of potential sustainable levels, see C. Campbell 2003.


38 study suggests that minimum take levels reported by Lagueux (2009) were 124 % greater than is estimated (max level) to be sustainable Efforts to protect recover, and manage populations of threatened sea turtles have become a central issue in international marine conservation projects, with many incorporating commu nity based conservation initiatives. The concept of community based conservation focuses conservation design and implementation at the local community level, rather than at a national or international scale, and is based on the assumption that rural commun ities and indigenous groups will opt for protecting the natural resources that they have a vested interest in, including wildlife (Chambers 1983; Western & Wright 1994). However, it has become evident in numerous case studies that indigenous groups do not always conserve their natural resources and that traditional subsistence practices are not always sustainable (Henley 1892; Colchester 1981; Johnson 1989; Alvard 1993; Dodds 1994). Whether or not indigenous practices are sustainable depends on many factors such as: traditional values and uses of natu ral resources, local population security of land tenure changing use of natural resources because of outside market pressures and the desire for foreign goods (Helms 1971; Nietschmann 1974; Herlihy 1990; Ham es 1991; Campbell 1998). According to Western & Wright (1994: 7) the deeper agenda, for most conservationists, is to make nature communities are concerned, the agenda is to regain control over natural re sources and being The constitution of Nicaragua, which recognizes Caribbean coastal communities


39 natural resource management and enviro nmental regulations. The Ley de Pesca y Agricultura N 489, adopted in 2004, provides that: subsistence fishing is defined as only providing sustenance and food for the fisher and his or her family (not used for sale in any form); the capture or killing of any green turtles other than subsistence use is prohibited; subsistence fishing is only allowed on the Atlantic c oast of the country and there are set closed seasons and regulations (that are not locally enforced) ; and there are stated penalties for tho se who do not follow these laws and regulations (Brutigam & Eckert 2006). There are various other regional laws and legal provisions f or the protection of sea turtle species present in Nicaragua including green turtles, and MARENA (the Ministry of Enviro nment and Natural Resources) calls for a closed season from March 1 to June 30 (CITES). However, the autonomous status of the Caribbean coastal regions and lack of any regional enforcement make implementation of laws and closed seasons close to impossibl e (Brutigam & Eckert 2006). Regional regulations were created to limit green turtle harvest numbers in indigenous communities in the RAAS and the RAAN, yet the quotas frequently change without explanation and are not enforced in most coastal communities. In late 2008 and early 2009, harvest limits were set at 5,000 turtles/year in the RAAN and 3,100 turtles/year in the RAAS, with a stated (though not enforced) 3 month closed season along the entire Caribbean coast ( S. Gordon, personal communication ) Regulations were also created in the RAAS to limit the size of green turtles captured, to prevent the capture of reproductive female turtles between March and October, and to prohibit the transport of turtles between the north and the south ( C. Lagueux pe rsonal communication ). In some communities, efforts to manage the green turtle fishery have


40 sometimes been met with defensiveness and even hostility, often towards research and conservation efforts (personal observation) ; however, there is some support for regulating harvest levels (C. Campbell, personal communication) Increased Commoditization Currently, indigenous groups in Caribbean Nicaragua legally continue to harvest green turtles for local consumption; however, because laws and closed seasons set to protect turtles are not enforced, unlimited harvests also continue during closed seasons and efforts are only abandoned if the weather is bad, fishermen are sick or if there is a local holiday (Lagueux 1998; Lagueux et al. 2005 ; personal observation ). Nic aragua still has the largest remaining legal green turtle fishery in the Caribbean ( Tr eng & Drews 2004) 11 In Pearl Lagoon, local people claim that the turtle fishery is part of their culture and a tradition they have the right to continue practicing for t he local consumption of a preferred protein and, more recently, income generation through local sales. However, it is interesting to note that changes have been made to fishing methods, including technological advances and the use of nets to catch green tu rtles, which has completely replaced the traditional method of harpooning (Nietschmann 1979; Lagueux 1998; C. Campbell 200 3; personal observation). High levels of green turtle harvest in the 1970s were the result of foreign operated factories dependent on Miskitu fishermen and Creole operations for their turtle fishing skills, but sales today are driven by local market deman d for meat Although turtle meat is still one of the cheapest available meats, some fishermen report that harvesting and 11 Although the Nicaraguan government has adopted legislation to limit the indigenous subsistence harvest of green turtles, there is very little enforcement of the closed season (Decreto Ejecutivo Relativ o a la Veda de Tortugas en el Ocano Atlntico N 204 DRN, originally established in 1972) and turtle fishing and selling remain attractive income generating opportunities for many coastal fishermen.


41 selling turtle s is also the quickest and easiest legal way to make money to family and to satiate their desire for material goods The minimum price of turtle in Puerto Cabezas (RAAN) ranges from USD 0.90 to USD 1.10 per pound of mixed meat (meat and organs not including the flippers, which are sold separately, or the glands and bladder, which are discarded) ( C. Campbell, personal communication ). In addition to local sales, turtle meat is occasionally transported to Managua, Pacific towns, mine towns (Bonanza Rosita and Siuna) and other inland markets for sale to individuals and restaurants (Brutigam & Eckert 2006). Market pressures encroaching on Pearl Lagoon and migration to remote communities can also affect inland consumption levels as taste preference for turtle meat and familiar dishes accompany those migrating Conservationists worry that market demands in Caribbean Nicaragua are affecting green turtle harvests to a degree that is most likely too high and no longer sustainable (Nash 1994; C. Campbell 2003; Lagueux et al. 2005). In Tortuguero, Costa Rica, however, nonparametric regression models on the green turtle rookery indicate an increase of 417% in nesting between 1971 and 2003 (Trong & Drews 2004). This increase may be due to events and policies in the mid to late 1900s, including a ban on turtle fishing vessels from the Cayman Islands, Nicaragua becoming a signatory to CITES ( Nietschmann 1973 ) the Nicaraguan Civil War period ( Lagueux 1998 ) and laws (when and if enforced) requiring all turtle harvest in the Atlantic autonomous region be for subsistenc e use only (Trong & Drews 2004). Currently, it is uncertain how population increases in the Tortuguero green turtle rookery relate to (or possibly buffer) the turtle harvest in Nicaragua, and further studies are needed to determine the


42 overarching effects (if any) of the turtle harvest on green turtle populations in the Caribbean. Today, in the Basin, meat is infrequently if ever, given or traded in traditional ways and the once prominent shared social responsibility regarding community food provision in Miskitu communities has largely been supplanted by a culture of individualism (with the individuals only being responsible for immediate family members). The role of turtles has shifted to one of commodities that are traded for income. Today turtle fishermen from Pearl Lagoon Basin catch turtles to sell in town (either to butchers or consumers if they butcher the meat themselves) and they also consume some of the meat (on the cays while fish ing). If turtles are brought into town to be butchered, some meat is set aside During my 2008 research season, there was no need for advertiseme nt of availability; word traveled quic kly to the peopl e in Pearl Lagoon if a turtle was being butchered for sale i n the morning and the meat sold almost as quickly as it could be p repared (personal observation); however, in the high season it is not uncommon for the supply to exceed demand and fishermen or butchers will carry turtle meat in a bucket or push a wheel barrel around to sell it (C. Campbell, personal communication) Income from the sale of turtle meat is then often used to purchase household goods and processed food items at a local shop. Road Impacts and Accessibility of Pearl Lagoon The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua represents one of the most isolated areas in Central America. This isolation is being reduced as new highways are added to ons between the Caribbean Coast and market systems in Western Nicaragua.


43 Until last year, Pearl Lagoon was only accessible by water, via pangas (passenger boats) from Bluefields. Bluefields is typically accessed from Managua (the capital of Nicaragua) by either small passenger planes, freight boats carrying goods and passengers, or pangas (small passenger boats) via El Rama. Travel from Managua to El Rama takes 9 10 hours by bus, followed by a 3 hour boat ride from El Ra ma to Bluefields, and another 1 hour boat trip from Bluefields to Pearl Lagoon (not including wait times). Previously, El Rama was the port town where the paved road due east from Managua ended, making water or air accesses the only option beyond this point (Figure 2 3, m ap of region prior t o road construction). However, in the summer of 2007, an unpaved road linking El Rama to Pearl Lagoon was completed. Although it is not as accessible as the national highway system, this gravel road has completed the connection between the east and west co asts of Nicaragua. A daily system of passenger buses or trucks now makes the round trip from Pearl Lagoon to El Rama (via Kukra Hill), taking approximately five hours. Locals and visitors wishing to visit Bluefields from Pearl Lagoon are still only able to make the trip by pangas (1 hour ) or ferries (8 hours). Improved access to Pearl Lagoon via the new road has brought increases in business and market influences, increased availability of much desired material goods (clothing, house wares, electronics, etc .), an increased variety of food and some road travelling tourists. Th e road has also contributed to extraction of goods and natural resources from the community and surrounding ecosystems but it is not clear without data whether there has been an increa se in exportation or simply a change in distribution methods (personal obser vation). For example, during my field work, vendors


44 from Managua and various other towns between the capital and Pearl Lagoon arrived atches they can buy them cheaply in Pearl Lagoon and re sell them at a profit in Managua. Local businesses and poorer families that are especially vulnerable to changes in household income will most likely experience the greatest negative impact from the initial changes associated with the new road. Also, Pearl Lagoon and the surrounding communities currently lack the infrastructure and social capital to deal with the many changes associate d with the road development and increased presence of external entrepreneurs. For example, the road is bringing in new immigrants (additional competition for employment) and extracting inexpensive local protein sources). With fish sales becoming scarce in the community, turtle meat is now the cheapest preferred meat available (crab is cheaper, but has limited availability and is less preferred), making it more attractive to poorer segments of the populati on. Conversely, the road has also brought more goods (including more meat options) to local markets. For the time being, however, the prices of chicken, beef and pork remain significantly higher than that of green turtle meat, and some community members s tated in casual conversation that they still prefer the taste of turtle, fish and wild meats to those fro m inlan d industrially farmed livestock From a pro turtle conservation perspective, the short term impact of the new road on the sale of turtle mea t could be interpreted as a positive one since it has increased availability of chicken and processed meats in local stores. But the ease of access to chicken has not been accompanied by more accessible prices. Chicken (over 26 cord ba s USD 1.25) remains more expensive than fish (10 to 20 cord ba s USD 0.48


45 to 0.96), turtle (approximately 17 cord ba s USD 0.82), crab, and small shrimp (with heads). If locally caught fish and shrimp continue to be trucked out to Managua in large numbers, and the price of ch icken does not decrease, sales of turtle meat could increase, as it is readily available locally, and will increasingly be the cheapest option as locally caught fish becomes scarcer in local markets. Yet, it is not known how long turtle meat will be availa ble if the fishing pressures on the species increase from the current harvest number s. Half of Pearl Lagoon residents (50%) that participated in this study stated that they do not think green turtle availabi lity has changed over the past 1 0 years, while 42 % stated they were not sure. Ecological Anthropology Cultural ecology is a materialist subfield of anthropology that seeks to link the adaptations of human societies or populations to their environments, with a particular focus on the role that social orga nization, economics and technology play in cultural reactions to the natural world (Steward 1968; Winthrop 1991). In other words, it is a strategy for understanding the interactions between behavior and environment as mediated by the human organism and it s cultural apparatus (Marvin Harris 1968: 23). Cultural ecology does not assume that all societies progress through the same stages of development (Steward et al. 1977 ). In general, cultural ecology seeks to explain the adaptations of human societies to t heir natural environment, and ecological interactions as functions of culturally mediated experiences (Seymour Smith 1986; Winthrop 1991). In response to cultural ecology, ecological anthropology was developed to concentrate the focus on the complex human nature relationships using humans and the ecological population as the unit of analysis, and culture as the primary means of adaptation (Vayda & Rappaport 1968; Vayda & McCay 1975; Rappaport 1979; Kottak


46 199 2 ). Human populations, socially organized by mea ns of particular cultures, affect the land, water, climate, plant and animal species and other humans in their environment and these in turn have reciprocal effects on people (Salzman & Attwood 1996). Eco logical anthropology directs attention to the ways in which a particular human group either intentionally or unintentionally shapes its environment and the ways in which its relationship with the environment shapes their local culture, society, economy and politics (Orlove & Custre d 1980). Miskitu village of Tasbapaunie serves as the key historical dataset on the cultural significance and practical uses of marine turtles by the Miskitu Indians in Caribbean Nicaragua. Grounded in geograph y and ecological anthropology, his research in this area began in 1969 and continued until 2000. Tasbapaunie is located in the northeast region of the Pearl Lagoon Basin, on a narrow strip of land bordered to the west by the Lagoon and to the east by the C aribbean Sea. 12 According to the 2006 government census, the population in Tasbapaunie is approximately 1,445; however, in 1969 the population consisted of less than 1,000 inhabitants (Nietschmann 1973; CACRC 1998; Beer & Vanegas 2007). Using his training i n geography, anthropology and ecology, Dr. Nietschmann conducted an empirical analysis of local subsistence use of green turtles and documented how the people of Tasbapaunie were adapting to outside market influences and changes in traditional kinship rel ationships (Nietschmann 1973, 1975, 1979). 13 His work resulted in 12 Tasbapaunie is located approximately 40 km northeast of the community of Pearl Lagoon and approximately 80 km north of Bluefields (distance given are as the crow flies as transportation along the coast is primarily by boat through winding creeks, rivers and lagoons). 13 Nietschmann referred to his approac h as ethno ecology; related to cultural ecology and ecological anthropology. In his book, Between Land and Water Nietschmann defines subsistence as acquiring food through strategies that do not interfere with or hamper the ecological integrity. Unlike mar ket systems,


47 several important publications that documented the environmental consequences associated with the increasing integration of this coastal indigenous community into the global market system. 14 A ccording to Nietschmann (1973), green turtle was the most preferred type of meat in Tasbapaunie and community members explained having a specific type of protein hunger for turtle meat, especially when it was not available. Ecological anthropology theori ses that human cultures not only shape the environment they live in and interact with, but that their local environment also shapes their culture and society based on these human ecological relationships. Using this concept as the basis for my research des ign, I set out to determine if the ro le of green turtles in Caribbean Nic araguan culture and society has affected the tas te preference for turtle meat in Pearl Lagoon. Methods Data Collection The present analysis of taste preferences and frequency of meat consumption in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua, is based on fieldwork conducted over ten months in 2006 and 2008 (May to July 2006 and May to November 2008). Local data for this dissertation were prim arily collected using ethnographic methods. Data collection consisted of observation, semi structured interviews and ranking exercises with community members systems defined as being subsistence have a primary objective of food acquisition when hunting, fishing, production consumption relationships are regulated mostly by internal h omeostatic mechanisms in closed subsistence systems and are increasingly regulated by external mechanisms in open or market systems (1973: 231). 14 In his study, Nietschmann defined culture as, a form of adaptation of human populations the adaptive lin k which unites humans with their environment and serves as a blueprint for the creation and maintenance of the human habitat (1973:5).


48 in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua. Ethnographic research is ideal for investigating how a community think s about and uses its natural resources, and how natural resource availability and cultural uses shape settlement patterns and social relationships (Russel l & Harshbarger 2003). Organized data collection described below was supplemented by observations of e veryday community activities including: variations in market prices, meat availability and consumer preferences (meats purchased most frequently when more than one option was available), butchery of sea turtles and meetings with community leaders to discu ss sea turtle harvest restrictions. Data described in this paper are drawn primarily from ranking exercises. However, as items used in those exercises were identified during in depth interviews, both research techniques are described below. Semi Structured Interviews After becoming familiar with the community, gaining the approval of local communi ty leaders, establishing a working relationship with the local conservation NGO, and verifying my role as a student researcher, I conducted semi structured intervi ews (n=50) over a period of three months in 2008. The interview guide consisted mainly of open ended questions supplemented by follow up questions when appropriate Interview questions were pre tested with a native Creole English speaking Sociology studen t at the Bluefields Indian and Creole University (BICU) to ensure terminologies used were com patible with the local dialect. Handwerker (2003: 435) states that, Useful sample designs for the study of cultures employ judgmental selection of key informan ts and critical cases; and select other cases based on their availability, either out of convenience or through a snowball procedure Rather than conduct a random sample, I selected informants purposively to


49 include variations (in lifestyle and experience s) in a specific time (2008 field season) and at a specific place (Pearl Lagoon). Purposive ( judgment ) sampling identifies cases that exhibit certain characteristics to acquire specific ethnographic information (Bernard 2006). In this study, informants wer e purposively selected for various demographic data including: gender, age, religion, level of education completed, marital status, occupation, number of children (and household size), socio economic status (and wealth), and direct association with the tur tle fishery (e.g., the sample includes turtle fishermen, butchers, fisheries enforcement officers, natural resource managers and community leaders). Interviews lasted between 30 and 120 minutes, and were digitally recorded with permission from the informa nt. Questions focused on participant diets and preferences (foods and consumption frequencies), food availability, food affordability, development of the road to Rama, and availability of occupations or income generating activities in Pearl Lagoon. 15 From these interviews, I created the list of all food items available in Pearl Lagoon to use in subsequent ranking exercises. Ranking Exercises In order to collect ordinal level data on food preferences, I developed ranking exercises that also test ed for differ ences among genders, age groups, religions, income groups and other characteristics. I created a deck of 20 laminated index cards naming all food items identified as available in Pearl Lagoon during interviews. Food items, described in local terms, were wr itten in English on one side of the card and Spanish on 15 Interview responses and participant observation regarding conservation knowledge and perceptions of conservation are not included in this chapter However, these questions were included in the semi structured interviews to determine what locals think about conservation (if they know what it is and if so, if they believe it is necessary), if they know of conservation efforts in their community and if th ey support activities to conserve the natural resources of Pearl Lagoon.


50 the other side, as many community members were taught to read in Spanish. Images were not used on the car ds. All participants were asked to complete the following activities (1) rank cards by price (1 being most expensive; 10 being least expensive), (2) rank the ten most being the item eaten most often; 10 being eaten least often), and (4) using only the meat cards, rank meats by taste meat; 10 being the participants least preferred meat). A total of 73 people completed the ranking exercise, which took between 30 and 90 minutes, and included seven illiterate partic ipants. They were afforded the reading assistance of a household member ( recognizing that this may have affected resulting ranking). Results Semi Structured Interviews Characteristics of respondents are given in Table 2 2. As Table 2 2 shows, very few inte rviewees were in the youngest age category, and the majority were between the ages of 27 and 50 years old. Food items identified as being available in the community by more than one interviewee were: chicken, beef, pork, fish, turtle, shrimp,lobster, crab, wari (wild pig), deer, duck, pelibuey (mutton), manatee, cheese, eggs, rice, beans, vegetables (including the following local starches: cassava, potatoes and dasheen) and fruits (including the following starches: plantains and banana). These items were used on the index cards for the ranking exercises. Interviewees were also asked to list meats that they consumed fairly regularly in their households; of the 50 total informants, 46 (92%; 82.6% of men and 100% of women) listed turtle as a meat regularly co nsumed


51 in their household. It is unclear from the data analysis why female interviewees report eating turtle more than males in the sample population (i.e., cultural phenomenon, income related, interviewer effect, gender roles), but this finding warrants f urther investigation. Ranking Exercises Characteristics of participants in the ranking exercise are given in Table 2 3. While not a random sample, the gender breakdown (46.6% male; 53.4% female) is comparable to the gender breakdown in the Pearl Lagoon cen sus of 2006 (51.6% male; 48.4% female). In contrast, young people (age group 18 26) are only 15% of the group of people who ranked food items, while those under the age of 31 make up 56.4% of the population in Pearl Lagoon (according to the 2006 census, Fi gure 2 4). The small percentage of younger participants may be a result of sampling, which targeted household heads that met the desired characteristics (religion, occupation, income, etc.), or an artifact of emigration by young people to find employment o r seek education. Families who can afford to send college age students to Bluefields or Managua often do, and many young adults also leave Pearl Lagoon for work in other countries or on cruise ships. Participants reported eating meat on average five days/ week (range 1 to 7 days). Many participants also stated that they would like to have some form of meat in their household every day, but that it is not affordable. Twenty one participants (28.8%) ranked turtle as their most preferred meat overall (for various reasons including taste, cost and tradition), and 59 (80.8%) ranked turtle between 1 and 10 (o ut of a total of 20 available food items) when asked to rank food items according to what is eaten most frequently in their household (only 2.7% ranked turtle as the meat eaten most frequently


52 in their household). More female respondents (94.9%) than males (64.7%) rank turtle in their top 10 foods most frequently eaten. I analyzed all survey data using the software pack age SPSS 16.0 for Mac (SPSS 2006 ). Based on mean preference rankings Pearl Lagoon respondents prefer the taste of turtle meat to all other meats, followed by chicken and fish (Table 2 4 ). A between groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to explore the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) and age (independently) on taste preference rankings Participants were div ided into four groups according to their age (Group 1: 18 26 years; Group 2: 27 35 years; Group 3: 36 50 years; Group 4: 51years and above). There was a statistically significant difference at the p<0. 0 01 level in taste preference rankings for the four age groups F (3, 73) = 40.3 p= 0.000 8 (Table 2 5) The re was a medium ef fect size (ETA squared) of 0.06 5. Post hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD test indicated the mean preference ranking s for the four age groups were significantly different from each othe r. The conclusion that can be derived from these findings is that age has a significant impact on variations of taste preference between age groups. Participants were divided into three groups according to their self reported socioeconomic status in relati on to other members of the Pearl Lagoon community (Group 1: Low/Below Average household income; Group 2: Medium/Average household income; Group 3: High/Above Average household income). There was a statistically significant difference at the p<0.01 level in taste preference rankings for the three SES groups F (2, 73) = 24.53, p= 0 .009 (Table 2 6) The effect size (ETA squared) was medium large at 0.093. Post hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD test indicated the


53 mean preference ranking s for the three SES gro ups were significantly different from each other. Substantively, these findings mean that self reported socio economic status has a significant impact on variations in reported taste preferences. Having tested the separate effects of an age and SES on vari ations in reported taste preference, I now turn to Ordinary Least Squares Regression (OLS) to analyze the e ffects of age in years on reported taste preference for turtle meat As shown in Table 2 7 a ge explained 12 .4 % of the variance in taste preference for turtle. 16 A ge made unique statistically significant contributions to the model and the b coefficient indicates that for every increase in age (by year), preference ranking decreases by 0. 48 ( a decrease in ranking value indicates a n in crease in preferen ce for the taste of turtle meat ). To this point the analysis has focused attention on the food preferences held by the respondents interviewed. A separate yet related issue concerns individual perceptions of the relative price of different food items, and whether such perceptions conform to the food market context in which they live. Answering this question involves a simple comparison of subjective rankings and the rankings of actually prices charged to consumers. The evidence shows that t he mean partici pant rankings of food items by price were very accurate compared to the mean actual prices of food items (Table 2 8 ) during the research period (calculated using bi weekly price information collected from four vendors/shops in Pearl Lagoon between May and November of 2008). A Spearman perceptions of the food price s and the actual food prices (rho =0.96; n=17; p<0.01). 16 In this equation, age is in year s rather than the four age categories previously used.


54 Lobster was the most expensive available meat, followed by li vestock; crab was the cheapest available meat followed by turtle and fish Discussion and Conclusions Taste Preference s and the Significance of Green Turtle Meat Caribbean Nicaraguan food culture ha s been altered by the commoditiz ation of green turtles, and the greater integration of coastal communities into surrounding cash based economies (and will likely continue to adap t to various effects of globaliz ation). In 1972, Nietschmann (63) noted changing taste preferences in Tasbapaunie: P opulations of gre en turtles, white lipped peccary and white tailed deer are receiving additional pressure from human populations because of their taste prefe Miskito hunters and fishermen are focusing on animals with a high market potential in the village Due to their classification as globally endangered (IUCN 2008), the legal, uncontrolled harvest of green turtles taking place year round in Nicaragua has become a concern for conservation biologists. I analy s ed meat taste preferences (and investigated various factors associated with taste preference) in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua (RAAS) using ecological anthropology as a theoretical orientation to determine one aspect of the cultural significance of green turtle s in the local diet Taste preference is influenced by both the environment and culture, including the constantly adapting relationships between Nicaraguan coastal communities and green turtles. Based on reported taste preferences turtle ranks as the most preferred meat overall and 92% of participants reported eating turtle meat in their households. However, when using age as the sole determining factor for taste preference, turtle is not as preferred as chicken (first preference) or fish by the younger ge nerations, age group 18 26 (turtle ranks third). According to Rozin (1996), conven ience and ease of


55 acquisition are regularly cited as important factor s in determining both the frequency of consuming a particular food item and the preference for that food item over others. Using the convenience argument, the youth preference for chicken and fish over turtle could be an indication that turtle meat has not been acquired as easily as in the past. Also, if ease of acquisition is a strong determining factor in t aste preference in the Pearl Lagoon sample, it is possible that the younger generation (age group 18 26) prefers chicken and fish to turtle because that is what their family consumes more often. Currently, the younger generation (age group 18 26) in Pearl Lagoon is also more prone to migrate for work (according to data collected in semi structured interviews), which may result in increased exposure to other types of meat and foods, which may contribute to different taste preferences. On the other hand, the older generations have grown up with few alternatives to turtle and fish, and may have been less likely to travel outside of Pearl Lagoon in their youth (during the last period of economic booms in the 1900s); consequently, older participants may have deve loped greater taste preference for turtle, having grown up with it as their primary meat. Since the older generation prefers the taste of sea turtle meat, they will likely continue to purchase and eat it despite potential alternatives that become available As a result of cultural changes, including the developments of technology and road building, the residents of Pearl Lagoon and neighbouring communities now have available in local stores, at a reasonable price, more food choices and more foods that can be consumed with minimal preparation (e.g., packaged lunch meat and cheese) than have ever been available in the community Frozen chicken brought in from Managua (through Bluefields) can now be purchased daily in local markets (rather than


56 needing to travel to Bluefields) for a higher price than turtle, but with greater availability and ease of access. The majority (1390 individuals or 55%) of t he population in Pearl Lagoon are under the age of 31 (Figure 2 4), with 35.7% (907) under the age of 21, so it will be interesting to see if taste preferences for turtle diminish, resulting in less turtle consumed over the next twenty or thirty years. 17 Based on self reported socioeconomic status (regardless of age group however this was not empirically tested due to the categorical nature of the participant reported socioeconomic data ), it appears that turtle meat is preferred more by the poorer members in the sample, perhaps since turtle is one of the cheaper meats available. Rozin (1996: 86) states that, when it comes to food consumption, price is a major practical determinant of what is effectively available, and hence intake If this determinant holds true for the community, it is likely that should turtle and non turtle meats become available at lower pri ces, people that classify themselves as poor may begin to purchase and consume the alternatives to turtle meat. Likewise, if those classifying themselves as poor experience increases in socioeconomic status, they may buy more of the alternative sources of meat available. It is also possible that if turtle meat remains one of the cheapest meats in Pearl Lagoon, and alternative, non turtle meats continue to be readily available, people at the upper echelons of society will view it as a an d thus prefer it less than other available meats based on cultural beliefs regarding social status. 17 However, one limitation of all age based results (and their interpretations) for Pearl Lagoon is the fact that there are fewer participants in the 18 26 age group represented in the sample; therefore further sampling of the younger generation is needed to accurately determine the validity of variations in preference based on age.


57 Which interpretation obtain ed ties into two groups. In the case of a normal good, an increase in income is associated with the purchase of additional quantities of the item. Alternatively, in the case of an inferior good, an increase in income causes people to shift to something more p referable. For example, when a family that consumes margarine acquires more income they do not buy more margarine but, instead, switch to butter. According to this conceptual distinction, the explanations above place turtle meat in the category of an infer ior good. When looking at age and socioeconomic status together as determining factors of taste preference in my sample, the older and poorer participants prefer turtle meat to the available non turtle meats. The variance in taste preferences with age and economic standing is likely linked to the social evolution of Pearl Lagoon. It is widely accepted that variations in food preference within cultures has much to do with availability and price (Rozin 1979, 1996; Shepherd 1989). For example, if turtle and ch icken were the same price and equally available, there would still be a fundamental distinction between preferences that would determine which meat Pearl Lagoon residents would purchase and eat more frequently (these distinctions include factors such as: s ensory properties, cultural approval, health consequences and familiarity) (Schutz 1989). However, the best predictors of food habits and taste preference s are distinctly social: local culture and ethnic ity (Shepherd 1989; Schultz 1989; Rozin & Fallon 1987 ; Rozin 1996). Cultural norms, knowledge and beliefs, each of which are specific to the individual and influenced by socio cultural influences in the past, are the primary determinants of food choice and taste preference (Rozin 1996). Therefore, it


58 cannot be assumed that providing cheaper better alternative meats to turtle meat in Pearl Lagoon (or other Nicaraguan communities on the Atlantic coast, for that matter) would be a viable solution to turtle consumption in Caribbean Nicaragua. Potential Changes from Road Building and Market Integration The integration of indigenous and subsistence economies into market based economies often results in increased specialization in local food production and harvest, as well as increased access to alternative foods, thereby altering cultural norms, consumption patterns and resource use (Behrens 1992). Unlike the market access that occurred in Pearl Lagoon in the 1970s and 1980s, the current increase in market access occurred at the same time that restrictions and cons ervation laws were enacted with respe ct to green turtle harvest. If national regulations making the sale of turtle meat (non subsistence use) illegal were enforced, then increased market integration would not result in concurrent detrimental effect s to the sea turtle population, as was the case before. Because the harvest limits and closed season are currently not strictly enforced, especially in communities with direct coastal access, integration with outside markets may result in increased take of both tu rtle and (legal) non turtle protein sources despite legal restrictions If there is a greater increase in emigration from Pearl Lagoon to cities (i.e., Managua) in Western Nicaragua, the new market for turtle meat may grow both as a novelty and for migra nts from the Caribbean coast who traditionally ate the meat. This increased take and export to other RAAS communities and Western Nicaragua (e.g., fish and shrimp) may result in the following : provide the community with more capital increase the illegal t rade of turtle meat via new road building and enhanced market access and potentially expose residents to alternative food sources from outside of the community. On the other hand, there is a possibility that the increased importation of


59 meat and other foo d items to Pearl Lagoon could result in a reduction in the harvesting of sea turtles. That latter would mean that the turtle population would increas e and the take of green turtles could return to a subsistence level in Caribbean Nicaragua. If coastal inh cosmopolitan (i.e., if turtle is regarded an inferior good) one can speculate that turtle meat could become nostalgic novelty meat, rather than a necessity. The open ended interview s I carried out with local participants, along with observations during my field experience, suggest that the influx of people from Western Nicaragua into Pearl Lagoon who invest in shops and small businesses has result ed in local reliance on imported good s and increased poverty and a decrease in socioeconomic status of local inhabitants. Residents of the Atlantic Coast were historically much more self sufficient; able to plant, harvest, hunt and gather, or produce their daily needs. If this characteristic is further lost and households become more dependent on imported goods, poverty levels will continue to increase and locals will be placed at a distinct disadvantage in their own community. Similar to the link between deforestation and firewood needs in poor rural areas, increased poverty levels in Pearl Lagoon have already begun to affect local environmenta l quality and natural resource use. If community members are unable to afford imported goods and cannot compete with new businesses, there will likely be an increase d local demand for the cheapest source of available (preferred) protein: turtle meat. Yet, it is unknown whether the socio cultural and environmental costs of current turtle consumption levels (loss of turtle lives) is lower than the environmental costs of exporting local resources and importing alternative meats and goods. Historical trends of economic booms and busts are thus


60 continuing, creating new situations with historical parallels that originally placed turtles (and other wildlife) at increased risk of overexploitation. Future Studies T aste preferences for green turtle meat persist in c oastal Nicaragua. The changes in cultural roles and uses of turtle meat as well as the impacts of these changes (i.e., on various dietary protein sources) are not yet well understood for Pearl Lagoon. For example, it is not known whether a change in the pr ice of chicken, beef or fish would result in an increase or decrease in the amount of turtle consumed. If the community considers another meat to be a substitute for turtle, then it is possible that if prices of the turtle substitute decrease, the consumpt ion of turtle could decrease (Wilkie & Godoy 2000). Yet it is unknown if there is (or even could be) a true cultural substitute for turtle meat and further research is needed to make this determination. According to studies on availability and price affect ing food preference, it is unlikely a n accepted substitute for turtle meat exists (Shepherd 1989; Rozin 1996). However, studies by Schenck et al. (2006) suggest that once consumers become used to an alternative meat, such as chicken, they may grow accustom ed to it and choose to eat less bushmeat or, in this case, turtle. From a policy perspective, in order to provide an alternative to turt le meat in Caribbean Nicaragua, the difference between consumer stated and actual preference for both turtle and alterna tives needs to be determined One method to determine this would be to hold taste test sessions (with turtle and alternative meats available in coastal communities, prepared in similar manners and provided in similar settings) to empirically compare partic the role of taste in determining turtle meat consumption relative to alternatives.


61 Apaza et al. (2002) implies that exploitation of wildlife for consumption can also be reduced (or eliminated) by lowering prices of livestock products. On the other hand, reductions in livestock prices and increased consumption of the associated meat products could result in increased imported meats and/or increased local livestock production, which would then lead to a need for more pasturelands. Any attempts to lower the prices of alternative sources of meat through local production must also consider the potentially deleterious effects of increased deforestation in the region (which often accompanies local livesto ck and poultry production), rather than national or foreign importation. Livestock grazing can affect water balance and the natural plant cover and their waste is an environmental hazard to humans and local biodiversity. In order for livestock rearing to b e a viable environmental alternative to harvesting sea turtle, I suggest investigation into non traditional livestock production methods, such as mini livestock (e.g., rabbit raising) or small game (Wilkie & Carpenter 1999). Even if these methods are accep table environmentally in the region, the acceptance by local inhabitants of both the meat taste and rearing methods would need to be determined prior to their application Efforts should be made to improve the socio economic status of individuals in the co mmunity by ensuring any alternative employment opportunities from acceptable livestock rearing options are given to local community members These improvements may be met through programs to properly train locals and develop skills in areas of common inter est to community members, leaving the ownership of such programs with the community itself. Despite the historical flexibility and diversity of coastal livelihood strategies practiced in Pearl Lagoon, which are not unlike other marginal environments where


62 locals take measures necessary to survive and adapt (Moran 2000), access to alternative sources of income will not necessarily reduce local dependence on natural resources. It is possible that turtle fishermen with access to alternative income will maintai n or even increase previous levels of harvest in order to supplement their new income generating activities. Hill (2009) recommends promoting the connections between livelihood str ategies and conservation goals to give fishermen incentive to use natural re sources at a more sustainable level and prevent outsiders from harvesting local resources. However, she cautions that this strategy will only be successful if community members believe the benefits of conservation (or return rates) are high enough to compe nsate for adopting new management activities (2009). Support for effective enforcement of laws preventing the sale (or trade) of turtle meat outside of coastal, indigenous communities, is critical since the current increased access to Pearl Lagoon means th ere is also greater potential to increase the illegal trade of turtle meat and products throughout the Basin In order to assess the level of both green turtle harvest and marine resource exports in future studies, a good point of reference would be the nu mber of fishermen in the Basin now compared with five and ten years from now, along with a study of their target species. Pearl Lagoon and the surrounding region present a compelling opportunity to examine the complex and dynamic interplay of resource use ( green turtle harvest), cultural preferences (choice of protein source), demography mediated evolution of preferences (community size and age structure effects), and external forces (community accessibility, emigration and immigration). Further studies alo ng the lines suggested would both inform the planning of regional conservation strategies and have broad


63 general applicability, as similar scenarios are currently playing out in the rural communities of developing nations across the globe.


64 Figure 2 1. Map of Central America; Nicaragua is located south of Honduras and north of Costa Rica. The Pearl Lagoon Basin, where this research was conducted, is located on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua.


65 Figure 2 2. Map of the Pearl Lagoon Basin and surrounding areas, Caribbean Nicaragua; this research was conducted in the community of Pearl Lagoon, on the southern end of Pearl Lagoon (the large inland body of water). Table 2 1. Ethnic identities and native languages represented in the community of Pearl Lagoon (total population estimate=2540) according to 2006 census data. Creole English is the primary language spoken in the community, with 95.7% of residents listing it as their native language (Beer & Vanegas 2007). Ethnicity Number of Individuals N (%) Native Language Number of Individuals N (%) Miskitu 90 (3.7) Miskitu 80 (3.1) Mestizo 40 (1.6) Spanish 30 (1.2) Garifuna 10 (0.4) Garifuna 0 (0) Creole 2400 (94.5) Creole English 2430 (95.7)


66 Figure 2 3. Map showing area between El Rama and the community of Pearl Lagoon, which are now connected by a road used for daily transport of people and goods. Prior to the construction of this road, people and goods were only able to reach Pearl Lagoon through boat transport. Table 2 2. Cha racteristics of semi structured in terview participants, shown as number (%). In the age range rows, percentages of men and women are calculated from the total in the age group, not the total of men and women interviewed. Total Men Women All Participants 50 23 27 Age 18 26 9 (18) 4 (4 4 ) 5 (56 ) Age 27 35 10 (20) 7 (70) 3 (30) Age 36 50 20 (40) 13 (65 ) 7 (35) Age 51 and older 11 (22) 7 (64 ) 4 (46 ) Participants that eat turtle meat 46 (92) 19 (83 ) 27 (100)


67 Table 2 3. Ranking activity participant characteristics a nd mean attribute values, shown as N (%). Total Men Women All Participants 73 34 (46.6) 39 (53.4) Age 18 26 11 ( 15.1 ) 2 ( 18.2 ) 9 ( 81.8 ) Age 27 35 15 (20 .5 ) 7 ( 46.7 ) 8 (53.3) Age 36 50 17 (23.3) 8 (47.1) 9 (52.9) Age 51 and older 30 (41.1) 16 (53.3) 14 (46.7) Mean Participant Age 44.5 46 41.3 Mean Number of Children 4 5 3 Mean Hours Worked/Week 26 2 6.6 2 5.9 Mean Reported Socio Economic Status 1.7 1.8 1.6 Mean Days/Week Consume Meat 5.1 4.7 5.4 Figure 2 4. Population of Pearl Lagoon (total 2540): number of ma les and females per age group. The majority of the population (1390 individuals, 55%) is under the age of 31 and 35.7% (907 individ uals) are under the age of 21. Data used is from the 2006 census.


68 Table 2 4. Assigned preferential ranking of meats by participants in RAAS communities in 2006 (Lagueux et al. 2006) and in Pearl Lagoon in 2008. In this chart, the lower the mean ranking assigned the higher the taste preference. In the indepen dent studies from 2006 and 2008, turtle ranked as most preferred meat. Mean Ranking Assigned 2006, RAAS Communities (N=254) (Lagueux et al. 2006) 2008, Pearl Lagoon (N=73) 1 Turtle Turtle 2 Fish Chicken 3 Deer Fish 4 Beef, Chicken, Wari (wild pig) Shrimp 5 Agouti Beef 6 Pork Lobster 7 Manatee Pork 8 Wari 9 Deer 10 Pelibuey (mutton) 11 Crab Data from 2006 represents preferences of nine RAAS communities (Awas, Haulover, Kahkabila, Pearl Lagoon, Raiti Pura, Rio Grande Bar, Sandy Bay Sirpi, Set Net Point and Tasbapaunie) sampled by Wildlife Conservation Society and Universidad de las Regiones Autnomas de la Costa Caribe Nicaragense, Bluefields (Lagueux et al. 2006). The 2006 study is not affiliated with the 2008 study and each implem ented different methodologies Table 2 5. Mean age group differences in taste preference rankings based on a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post hoc comparison tests. Participants (N=73) were divided into four age cohorts. There was a statisti cally significant (p<0.0 0 1) impact of age on taste preference ranking F (3, 73) = 40.21, p= 0.0 08 Presented as: age group (N); a preference ranking of 1 is the highest/most preferred and a preference ranking of 3 is least preferred. Meat Preferences in Di fferent Age Groups Preference Ranking 18 26 years ( 11) 27 35 years (15) 36 50 years (17) 51 and older (30) 1 Chicken (4) Turtle (5) Turtle (6) Turtle (15) 2 Fish (3) Chicken (6) Chicken (6) Chicken (7) 3 Turtle (4) Beef (4) Fish (5) Fish (8)


69 Table 2 6. Mean self reported socioeconomic status (SES) differences in taste preference rankings based on a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post hoc comparison tests. Participants (N=73) were divided into three SES groups based on their self reported household income compared to others in the community : higher than others in the community (high), roughly the same as other households (middle) or l ess than other households (low). There was a statistically significant (p<0.01) impact of SES on taste pref erence ranking F (2, 73) = 24.53, p= 0. 009 Presented as: SES group (N), a preference ranking of 1 is the highest/most preferred and a preference ranking of 3 is least preferred. Meat Preference and Self Reported SES Preference Ranking Low (32) Middle (32 ) High (9) 1 Turtle (14) Turtle (10) Shrimp (3) 2 Chicken (10) Fish (11) Chicken (4) 3 Fish (8) Chicken (11) Lobster (2) Table 2 7 Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression of taste preference for turtle meat regressed on age (in years) Independent Variables Model 1 Constant 9.48* Age 0.48* R 2 N 0.124 73 Significant at 0.01 or less.


70 Table 2 8 Informant ranking of perceived price, and actual price ranking of available food items (1=most expensive, 16 = least expensive). Price given is the mean value (in USD) of prices recorded bi weekly during the research period (May November 2008). All items were ranked by price per pound, except eggs (per 3 eggs) and milk (per gallon). Spearman rank correlation indicated a high level of positive correlation betwee n perceived and actual costs (rho =0.96; n=17; p<0.01). Available Foods Ranked by Price (per p ound) Rank Informants Perceived Price Ranking Actual Price Ranking ( Mean Price in USD) 1 Lobster Lobster (7.85) 2 Shrimp Shrimp (2.09) 3 Wari Deer & Wari (1.56) 4 Milk Cheese (1.46) 5 Beef Pork (1.45) 6 Chicken Chicken (1.41) 7 Pork Beef (1.31) 8 Deer Beans (0.94) 9 Cheese Turtle (0.89) 10 Beans Fish (0.78) 11 Turtle Milk (0.76) 12 Vegetables Rice (0.61) 13 Rice Eggs (0.48) 14 Eggs & Fish Vegetables (0.46) 15 Fruits Fruits (0.45) 16 Crab Crab (0.42)


71 CHAPTER 3 A GROUNDED THEORY AP PROACH TO UNDERSTAND ING LOCAL OPINIONS TOWARD SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION IN A RURAL NICARAGUAN COMMUNITY Every culture has a varying relationship with its local wildlife and natural resources, generally rooted in basic human needs (e.g., food, protection, medicine), values, and social norms (Manfredo et al. 2005 ). Although values do not usually change in adulthood, the values of a cultural group may change between generations as a result of changing conditions and social needs (Inglehart & Wetzel 2005). Inglehart and Wetzel (2005) proposed that modernization and its effects are driving societies to experience cultural shifts values during industrial periods to an emphasis on self expression and belongingness values in postindustrial periods The primary needs motivating people to act in non industrialized societies are basic human needs (e.g. safety, shelter, and water), but in countries where economic improvements are being made, there has been a shift away from concern for subsistence needs toward higher order needs, generating new value sets among local cultural groups (Inglehart & Baker 2000; Inglehart & Wetzel 2005). The thesis that Englehart and Wetzel advance can be thought of N discussed in Chapter 1 However, in developing countries where modernization forces have yet to completely eliminate the reliance upon wildlife as a source of food, wildlife retains its value as a material resource used for income and nutrition ; part of t he social, rather than the natural, environment.


72 The human dimensions of wildlife management and natural resource conservation are area s of expanding interest among scientists and practitioners. Notions that integrate socio ecological systems and that acco unt for the complex relationships that join social and ecological systems constitute a more appropriate approach to conservation than traditional top down management strategies (Folke 2006). As a general rule in developing countries, local governments are tasked with management and allocation of natural resources that are under their authority for the overall benefit of local people; however, the current state of ecosystems and wildlife around the world provides sufficient evidence that this is often not th e case. In response to the failure of centralized government management of natural resources, conservation NGOs external to local societies (that are the direct target of NGO conservation initiatives) have emerged in rural communities (often in developing nations) initiating programs to both protect wildlife and promote alternatives to historical livelihoods (Robinson 2007). Unfortunately, these communities often lack local infrastructure to support effective management of their natural resources and consis t of marginalized groups with different interpretations of their environment and resource use (Pfeffer et al. 2001; Watts & Peluso 2001). Due to differences in values among these cultural groups, limits placed on natural resource use by external NGOs in su bsistence societies may result in further environmental degradation and overuse of resources (Pfeffer et al. 2001). When outside organizations propose limits to local resource use, it is important to the efficacy of these conservation initiatives that they encompass factors including: access and rights to resources,


73 economic alternatives and opportunities, and local acceptance of these alternatives (Geisler 2001). Therefore, it is critical that external NGOs understand and consider local cultural values, bo th to have lasting effectiveness and to become accepted and truly involved in the society (Manfredo & Dayer 2004). The goal of the ethnography reported in this chapter was to gain in depth understanding of the variety of meanings participants ascribed to their experiences with various issues related to green turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) including the consumption and conservation of turtles in and around Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua. Experiences in this case, refer to socially important events or encounters (e.g., ecological, economic, psychological, and safety) involving: (a) sea turtles and other natural resources, (b) humans and wildlife, and (c) wildlife management or natural resource interventions by external conservation NGOs (Riley et al. 2002). My p rimary objective is to document and understand the values, attitudes, and preferences that shape the way people think of and use green turtles, and the factors that influence whether stakeholders accept the conservation messages disseminated by NGOs whose The analysis is predicated on th e idea that diverse cultures conceptualize the relationships between humans and their natural environment differently (Simmons 1993; Cronon 1996) and that understanding the subjecti vities that motivate and justify behavior plays an essential role in devising effective commu nity based conservation efforts. Given the nature of the inquiry and the absence of a prior set of expectations, a is the


74 research stra tegy appropriate to my objectives. Before describing and applying ground ed theory I first discuss the local, historical, and social contexts that have influenced the socio political construction food preferences and resource use in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua Local Context Caribbean Nicaraguans have harvested green turtles for over 400 years, as a source of nutrition, and more recently to provide income (Lagueux et al. 2005). Traditionally, the Miskitu Indians used turtle meat as both a form of payment in the ir economy of sharing and exchange and as a representation of specific kinship ties and social relationships. With the arrival of the British in 1630 cash based economies and market systems emerged and sea turtles became a means to secure goods at trading stations; this placed a substantial strain on familial ties and traditional social structure (Nietschmann 1973; Kindblad 2001). In the mid exported to Europe and the United States as a delicacy, in numbers exceeding and in 1982 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) officially classified the green turtle as an endangered species (a list ing retained in later editions of the IUCN Red List, including version 2010.4) (IUCN 2010). Today in Caribbean Nicaragua the legal harvest continues, now with various regional restrictions and regulations (e.g. harvest limits and closed seasons) that are rarely enforced. The locals have asserted their right to harvest green turtles, but have not yet acted on their right to collaboratively manage the resource.


75 The protection of endangered species requires the recognition that both socioeconomic and politica l forces are at play in most contemporary environmental issues; therefore, both forces should be considered in the development of species conservation and recovery efforts. While government and external efforts to conserve sea turtles in Caribbean Nicaragu a have social components, they are often secondary considerations, which is often the case in endangered species protection efforts initiated by external organizations or institutions devoted to conservation and scientific research (Yaffee 1982; Kellert 19 85; Russell and Harshbarger 2003). Historical Context beginning as early as the 15 th century (e.g., British influence from the 15 th 19 th centuries) and continuing through the first part of the 20 th century with United States involvement. The region has more recently experienced high rates of natural resource extraction (lumber, mining, agricultural goods, etc.) and also played a strategic military role during the Somoza and Sandinista ad ministrations. Post war Caribbean Nicaragua was also a target of the environmental conservation movement, which had a growing global presence. Proposals for forest and marine conservation and protected areas began to include the Atlantic region, particular ly in the north (e.g., BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve), but also in the south (with recent efforts to establish a marine protected area in the Pearl Cays).


76 Social Context As with any ethnographic study, it is important to take into consideration the social cont ext of the study area immediately prior to and during the research time frame. This standard holds true for my work in Pearl Lagoon and one should interpret the results of this study aware of the context in which they occurred. The context provided is a su mmary of events I directly witnessed during my seasons in the field and by information gathered through personal communication with people living in the area In mid 2006, as a means to protect his credibility and to enhance his reputation the mayor of the Pearl Lagoon Basin began a negative campaign against the sea turtle conservation NGO working in the region At that time, the mayor was illegally collecting money labeled as property taxes from private owners of 7 cays off the coast of Pearl Lagoon; h owever, these cays and the surrounding waters are also home to the Pearl Cays Hawksbill ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) Rookery which is believed to be the largest remaining nesting population in the west centra l Caribbean (Lagueux et al. 2005 ). The individual o wners of the cays had constructed (or began constructing) permanent houses and other structures, cleared or removed natural dune vegetation, introduced domestic animals (e.g., dogs and chickens) and non native plants and installed septic tanks, electric g enerators, fences, wharfs, and artificial lighting near the primary nesting beaches. The controversy over the ownership of the Pearl Cays, which began when a European businessman acquired historic titles to 7 of the Pearl Cays, is well known among local co astal residents. Most of the historic land titles to the cays


77 belonged to people who had permanently left Nicaragua or who were not aware that their ancestors once owned a cay and, therefore that they inherited ownership rights. The European businessman advertised and sold the majority of the cays on the Internet, primarily to foreign buyers, for millions of USD a piece. Coastal community members saw these sales as a threat to their livelihoods and a direct violation of their communal rights to local land s. However, local protests and attempts to regain ownership were weakened when the mayor authorized construction on the cays by the new owners (historically, the mayor of the Basin had an assumed right to license natural resource harvests in the municipali ty (Christie 2000)). The mayor defended his actions on the grounds that the sale of the cays to foreigners would bring development, create hundreds of new jobs for locals, and generate tax revenues for the local communities. The new owners of the cays were not pleased that the sea turtle NGCO conducted daily patrols their properties for hawksbill turtle nests and also monitored the human activities that threatened the turtle habitats. As a side note, the NGCO had personally requested that the owners take c ertain measures during the sea turtle nesting season (e.g., turning off outdoor lights to prevent disorientation of nesting turtles), explaining their concerns and the importance of the Pearl Cays hawksbill rookery (C. Campbell, personal communication). T he activities of NGCO thus came into conflict with the protecting his financial relationship with the people whom he authorize d to buy the properties. He attempted to do so by urging local community members to avoid any interaction with the organization and by creating feelings of animosity


78 toward the NGCO and individuals working for the NGCO. Along with this anti NGCO campaign, the former mayor spread personal rumors about NGCO staff and told community members that the NGCO was in Pearl Lagoon for selfish reasons (C. Campbell, personal communication), eventually demanding that the NGCO reveal how much money it ha d available for its work in the community and how that money was spent. When the NGCO would not release this information, the public official claimed that the NGCO and its staff were corrupt and involved in schemes to illegally take money from the community. The collision of interest s between a public official and a lo cal conservation organization is neither surprising nor rare. The drama that played itself out in the Pea r Cays is but one particular example of the difficulties that any organization faces when it attempts to influence local events in ways that are percei ved harmful to particular interests groups. Inasmuch as conservation requires changes in the way that resources have long been exploited, and around which stakeholders have coalesced, any attempt to alter the established relationship s will benefit some gro ups yet work to the detriment of others. The objective of community based conservation also to enhance their knowledge base and change their attitudes and priorities in ways that are consistent with project goals. In this case, the opposition to the conservation initiative was particularly powerful if only because it involved enemies with a great deal of local credibility with considerable political authority and with much at stake


79 The campaign to discred it the NG C O further benefitted from th e longstanding distrust of outsiders both foreign and domestic, a historical theme easily resuscitated and mobilized in the interest of a particular point of view. Since the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua has a great de al of experience with corruption and mistrust, both with local leaders and outside organizations, locals in Pearl Lagoon were easily convinced that the NGCO had ulterior motives in the community. As a direct result of campaign, a cooperative plan for eco tourism and sea turtle watching trips being designed by the NGCO and Territorial Authority (local government composed of community members) was cancelled (C. Campbell, personal communication) This brief account of events that have recently t aken place in the research site are relevant to the extent that they shaped, to one degree or another, the way people in the community think about the conservation NGO that works in their midst, and shaped their attitudes about sea turtle conservation effo rts more generally. Rather than consider these influences as aberrations or disruptions in the research site, it is more appropri ate to consider them typical of the challenges of understanding the way socio political factors influence the attitudes and pre ference at the local level that are so central to the successful implementation of conservation e fforts. Because the objective of this chapter is to document elements that ding of the world around them, I did not appr oach the task of data collection with a prior i hypotheses or expectations in mind. The goal, instead, was to prompt individuals to share with me their views


80 on a host of conservation related issue, and, on the basis of their statements, construct an unders tanding of the social context as the participants themselves would have it. Given this objective, the appropriate research strategy is Grounded Theory Grounded theory (GT) is a research method, rather than a comprehensive theory, as its name might imply. GT is useful in the development of explanatory models constructed from the ground up, which is the strategy that accounts for the name of the approach (Glaser & Strauss 1967). Rather than testing existing hypotheses, grounded theo ry employs an inductive approach that involv es systematic steps to develop theories about social processes (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Glaser 1992). The resulting theories are based primarily on participant experiences with the social process of interest, wh ether the experiences are account of a phenomenon that identifies major constructs, or categories in grounded theory terms, their relationships, and the context and process, thus providing a theory of the phenomenon that is much more than just a descriptive emerge from the data, rather than from analyzing concepts based on preconceived models hypotheses, or theories based on speculative concepts. Strauss and Corbin (1990 : 23 ) stress that grounded theory is an iterative process that is not generated a priori rather it is nductively derived from the study of the phenomenon it represents. Tha t is, discovered, developed, and provisionally


81 verified through systematic data collection and analysis of data pertaining to that phenomenon. Therefore, data collection, analysis, and theory should stand in reciprocal relationship with each other. One doe s not begin with a theory, and then prove it. Rather, one begins with an area of study and what is relevant to that area is allowed to emerge. The resulting theories and explanation are said to provide a closer resemblance to reality and real world phenom ena ( Denzin & Lincoln 2003; Charmaz 2006), thereby increasing researcher understanding and allowing the development of meaningful responses and conclusions. Research employing the grounded theory often begins with a set of basic concepts and a topic of fo cus, which provide the researcher with general direction and prompt him or her to ask certain types of questions centered on the focus topic (Charmaz 2006). Grounded theory emphasizes the use of a comparative method from the beginning of a study, rather than once the data collection is completed is not easily grasped by researchers steeped in the deductive hypothesis testing tradition. Specifically it means that the research develops provisional explanation s or theor ies in the process of collecting data and that, in the process of acquiring additional data engages in a continuous process of comparing the explanation to new insights, amending the theory or explanation accordingly. For example, once the researcher comp letes an interview, or completes several interviews the task is to abstract concepts and relationships from that information and put forth a theory or explanation The conclusion is intended to be provisional to the exten t that subsequent information will be used


82 to change the concepts and relationships, leading to a new provisional explanation. The process is repeated until the researcher is confide nt that further interviews generate only redundant data. A distinguishing feature of this approach is that, in contrast to the application of social surveys which are analyzed for statistically significant relationships only after data collection is completed the grounded theory method allows learning to take place during t he process of data collection. In effect, the results of the first interview influence the content of the second, which, in turn, influences the content of the third, and so on. I deas and concepts that begin to emerge are compared to the new data as more information is acquired. Concepts abstracted from the interviews are organized into themes and eventually theories may be developed. Grounded theorists move back and forth between the data and analysis many times in the research process (Atkinso n 1990). According to Charmaz (2006: 25), grounded theory has a general about what is happening, then develop theoretical categories to understand it In order to continually coll ect, compare, and analyze the data, grounded theorists code all interviews, then categorize (and subcategorize), making detailed notes regarding potential categories and the links that may exist between them (Glaser 1992). The connections drawn between gro ups of categories result in emerging themes that provide a basic outline for writing, which is supported and developed upon using relevant literature. Themes that recur in the data along with overarching categories that are formulated in the


83 process, form the core of the final product: a descriptive analysis of the local situation and attitudes, which local participants can recognize themselves as based on their collective input, thereby, making the research grounded in the data (Bringer et al. 2006). Grou nded theory privileges the respondent as a primary participant in the process of creating understanding from the vantage point of the individual s being discussion into relevant topics, possible. The subtle nature of GT makes it suitable for discussing topics of a sensitive nature, such as illegal hunting activities; looking not only at what people say, but also how they say it and their e xpressions, use of repeated words, or avoidance of certain topics, is an ideal path to understanding core aspects that shape human behavior. Suitability for research. The methodology of grounded theory was appropriate for my data collection and analysis gi ven that the issue of conservation in poor, rural communities reliant on natural resources can be a source of emotional sensitivity, conflict, and controversy with political groups and conservation NGOs. Grounded theory preserves the perspectives and exper iences of research participants, keeping the richness of concepts and emotions expressed in individual statements ( Bernard 2002). By living with a local family and participating in the daily life of local people in Pearl Lagoon, including meetings, special events, and national holidays, I was able to observe activities carried out by community members and the physical and social settings


84 in which the activities took place. Th e participant observation strategy facilitated both my interaction with local peopl e and the recording of detailed daily field notes to describe interactions, activities, and settings ( Merriam 2002 ). Methods Participants I used grounded theory methodology to develop a conceptual understanding of the phenomena occurring in the realm of se a turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon. Selection of participants in a grounded theory study is particularly critical to the exploration of social phenomena and requires constant attention to data. In my case participants were selected using a purposive sa mpling method, initially by convenience and quickly shaped by the emerging c ategories and themes; however, in the final stages of data collection I used discriminate sampling, to deliberately select people in positions of local leadership and individuals m entioned in other interviews to clarify emergent themes in initial interview transcripts. In the initial interviewing stage, the goal was to include participants from as wide a range of people as possible to develop diverse interview findings. In order to select a broad range of information rich participants, I employed maximum variation sampling using the emerging theory and concepts as a guide. a concept discussed i n the section This included men and women, younger adults (20 30 years old) and older individuals (60 80), members of different socioeconomic groups unemployed and employed individuals, fishermen who targeted turtles, and people living near and far from the local


85 NGO office. In the interpretation of the data, I considered participants who supported emergent ideas and those who disagreed. In the case of an outlier, participant who disagreed with emergent ideas due to personal issues or a partici pant who was obviously giving negative information based on gossip or otherwise, the interview transcript was not removed outrigh t but itself became of the unfolding story of competing perspectives, misinformatio n, and political manipulation. Participant s ampling did not end until all o f the categories were saturated. The study sample consisted of 50 individual participants from different households (Table 3 1 ), independent of the participants in Chapter 2 ; therefore, along with the 5 0 participants directly interviewed for this grounded theory study, I was able to incorporate data from 105 other participants (Garland and Carthy 2010) and over 9 months of participant observation data (from my time spent living in Pearl Lagoon). Participants were not selected at random, however to create a representative sample I purposively selected participants with socio demographic characteristics similar to the profile of the population of Pearl Lagoon. The specific community characteristics I included in my sample selecti on were (within 2% of the population profiles given here): 52% men and 48% women; 95% Creole; 50% whose highest level of school completed was some high school; (among those of working age) 18% fishermen, 15% dependents, 16% domestic workers, 17% business o wners; 66% other (including students, government employees, and NGCO staff); mean of 4 children per family; and a mean age of 39 years old with 22% age 18 31 years, 20% age 31 40 years, 11%


86 age 41 to 50 years, and 15% over 51 years old (there were no parti cipants under 18 years old). The participants completed a mean of 8.2 years of school, which is the equivalent of an elementary education. The mean number of children among ra nged from 1 to 10 (mean = 4). Thirty two participants reported being currently employed, 21 men (65.6%) and 11 women (34.4%), and the mean monthly income was $103.64 (US dollars). The vast majority of participants (N=47, 94%) reported eating turtle meat an d the mean number of days per week that turtle meat was eaten (when available in Pearl Lagoon), was 3.9. Only two participants reported never having eaten turtle meat; both were males who regularly attended the Seventh Day Adventist Church (an institution that does not promote In depth Interviews I conducted and audio recorded open ended interviews, which are basically conversations with direction or a specific focus (Lofland & Lofland 1995). An interview guide was used, with a wide coverage of interest (family experiences with local conservation NGO, understanding of term conservation, reasons for eating turtle meat, societal roles in community). In these semi structured interviews, par ticipants were invited to share their experiences, knowledge, and perceptions on the questions and topics. The participants often brought up subjects related to the interview focus spontaneously or I introduced them in an informal, conversational way. I on ly asked for clarification or additional information after a participant concluded their statements or answers. The idea was to encourage participants to elaborate on issues pertinent to their


87 experiences and thoughts on sea turtle consumption and local co nservation efforts and to introduce ideas with wh ich I was not already familiar. The typical interview took place house and some participants preferred to have our conversation in the family gathering room or at the dining room table; however, on two occasions, interviews were conducted in the local bar (during the daytime). In many cases, other family members were present, but not active in the interview process. The interviews lasted for 45 minutes to 2.2 hours. I transcribed the recorded interviews verbatim and analyzed them for themes, using MaxQDA 10 to manage the data. MaxQDA 10 is a software program that used to organize and analyze qualitative data, usually in the form of interview transcripts, publications and other forms of text. Data Analysis I analyzed the data using the methods outlined by grounded theory, which primarily involved: overview analyses to develop a theoretical sensitivity and line by line coding of interview transcripts to both identify concepts and verify conceptual relationships between concepts. Initial interview (N=10) transcripts were analyzed prior to selecting the second set of participants, in keeping with the grounded theory methodology. I then started line by line coding with open coding to identify ideas and descriptions of general thought s rela ted to conservation, sea turtles and external conservation NGO presence in the community. I then identified concepts and attitudes reflecting the substance of the individual interview data and grouped similar concepts to form conceptual categories. After forming categories, I performed axial coding which is used to


88 discover linkages between theoretical categories and then selective coding to identify core categories of the central phenomenon. The collection and analysis of data were simultaneous pro cesses that I continued to conduct until informational saturation was reached (i.e. additional data did not result in new information or ideas) (Strauss & Corbin 1990; Strauss & Corbin 1998). Coding I f ollowing the constructivist approach within the gro unded theory tradition. According to Charmaz (2000: 510) this approach multiple social realities, recognizes the mutual creation of knowledge by the s diagram (Figure 3 1 ) based on the grounded theory progression outlined by Charmaz (2006: 11) to explain my process of analysis. In Figure 3 1 the initial coding refers to the identification, categorizing, and descriptions of e xperiences and trends found in the participants interview narratives. During the initial coding process, I coded interview transcripts line by line, which refers to the process of naming each line of written data to eventually summarize data content and m eaning ( Glaser 1978). Line by line coding allowed me to remain receptive to the data and identify explicit statements with short, precise codes. I was also able to gain a greater understanding of the meaning of interview data, which allowed the condensing and comparing of significant events and meanings. The second step in coding was focused coding, a set of selective and conceptual codes that bring together larger segments of the data than the initial coding process (Glaser 1978; Charmaz 2006). Focused cod ing uses the most


89 frequent and significant earlier codes to categorize the data. This step involves making decisions about which line by line codes most appropriately and completely categorize the data (Charmaz 2006). The final step in my coding process wa s theoretical coding, which often results in the development of theories from relationships between categories that emerged in the focused codes (Charmaz 2006). Theoretical codes can allow progression of analysis toward theories grounded in the data (Glaser 1978). This step in the coding process may add clarity and explain the details (who, what, where, and why) and consequences of specific phenomena in the study. Memo writing Memo writing is an intermediate step in grounded theory that is takes place throughout the coding process to increase abstract analytical involvement (Charmaz 2006). Memos are any thoughts or analysis categories that occur to the research in the process of data collect ion. According to Charmaz (2006: 72), short, memo writing provides a space to become actively engaged in your materials, to develop your ideas, and to fine tune your subsequent dat a gathering To write memos that retained the perspectives and voices of the participants, I repeatedly returned to interview transcripts to review both context and content. I also gave each memo a specific title, defined the category I at hand included quotes from the raw data, and explained specific terms in memos using local meanings, variations used by other participants, conditions under which the term arose, and noting in the process how the memo relates to other


90 codes and categories in the intervie ws. These initial descriptions and analyses were helpful to the development of more focused, theoretical memos, as the explicit characteristics aided in discovering relationships, comparing cases, and creating potential theories that fit the logical order of categories. Overall, memos form the core of my grounded theory analysis and the memo files provide a chronological record of my research process and the progression of theory development. Theoretical sampling After I arrived at preliminary categories t hrough memo writing and an analysis of codes and memos, theoretical sampling to systematically refine my theoretical categories In the sometime s overburdened jargon of grounded theory methodology, theoretical sampling refers to the process by ca ses are selected not according to their probability of occurrence in a population, as is the case in random sampling techniques, but instead are selected according to their pertinence with respect to a theme, concept, or relationship that emerged early in the process of data collection and analysis and that required further investigation in later stages of the analysis (Goulding 1999). Because the objective of theoretical sampling is to develop these theoretical categories based on empirical data, therefore I sought out specific information, people, and events to determine the relevance of my key categories and clarify the properties of my emergent theories. Data Credibility and Reliability In the qualitative research paradigm, reliability and valid ity are conceptualized as trustworthiness, credibility, rigor, and quality of evidence


91 (Denzin 1978). Reliability (quality of evidence) is reached when similarities in phenomena categories and relationships emerge repeatedly. Credibility (trustworthiness a nd validity ) of the theories developed in this qualitative study is based on constant comparison (Strauss & Corbin 1990). In other words, the emergent theories are valid when concepts and categories arise repeatedly and are present in multiple interview tr anscripts, eventually resulting in saturation of information. Strauss and Corbin (1998: 97) emphasize that when using i t is not possible to be completely free of bias To minimize value laden question s and to avoi d a tendency to forc e of the data into preconceived categories, I relied on the participant definitions and meanings of situations, terms and events (Charmaz 2006). Th is constructivist a and analyses as created from shared experiences and relationships with participants (Charmaz 2006: 130). This approach requires researcher awareness of potential starting assumptions and frequent reflection on wording of questions and categorical interp retations. Anthropology Department at the University of Florida (with experience employing grounded theory methodology) to independently perform an open coding of three interview transcripts. Good concordance was revealed between the two sets of coding; although the labeling of a few codes were different, an examination showed the same or very similar content. The results were then verified using


92 direct quotes from participants in the study some of which are included in the results section of this chapter. Results Consistent with the emerging character of grounded theory, my research analysis produced five major themes that significance and cultur al meaning. These themes were: perceived lack of respect and support from the wealthy and powerful; corruption and human greed of politicians and organizations from outside Nicaragua ; lack of institutional and social trust; barriers to authentic participat ion ; and a connection to cultural identity. The conceptual explanations of each theme emerged from the series of categories present in each, therefore the analytic content of each theme is provided through the categories. To permit the narrative flow of th is paper, I present each theme under separate headings, but do so without imply ing that the themes are independent of one another, or suggesting that the themes are ranked according to their relative importance. In reality, the themes and categories that emerged fit together and their relationships and importance vary according to local societal meanings and situational and cultural contexts. presented, a criterio n that is subject to misinterpretation. The potential for misinterpretation may seem apparent in a research site like this one, in which there are competing and contradictory narratives at work, each embedded in a complex sociopolitical reality comprised o f numerous actors with varying interests and endowed with varying abilities to impose one view over another. The danger is to think of the research as adjudicator, as an observer whose goal it is to sort


93 took place. As the quotation marks are intended to convey, it is not possible to arrive at conclusions that meet these various criteria, even if that were the objective of the study (which it is not). These observations do not mean that the findings are therefore false or arbitrary. To the contrary, the results presented are intended to be renditions of events and interpretations of local realities that are faithful to the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs that are held by t he participants in the drama. Their attitudes may be groundless and their beliefs flawed, but those misconceptions, even if apparent, are, in effect, what comprise the socio political cultural environment t hat is the object of analysis. Moreover, as W. I. Thomas noted are real in their local NGO. Perceived Lack of Respect, and S upport Although several participants said that they had been shown support and empathy by members of the conservation NGO, it was more common to perceive a lack of support for the community of Pearl Lagoon from all individuals in power or those perceived as being wealthy Many p articipants perceived the me mbers of the conservation NGO as acting in their own interests, or working in collaboration with corrupt, local government officials, and not welcoming locals to become involved in the project Despite admitted positive conservation results or mentions of positive personal relationships with local NGCO staff, the NG C O was


94 more often perceived as working to better their organization rather than to benefit natural resource management : D ey say the office is open now bu t not for anyone if you go to de door d say come in or look inside, dey come to de door to try an keep you from comin in. Dey only work wit de turtles on d e cays cept try to boss people round dey only give 4 or 5 job a ye ar to student or some mens from d e town, but no one s else. D ey always have someone from out, like de states or somewhurr come in an work on de cay and never do training wit d e local communi ty only wit 4 or 5 people. Dat is not de community getting servic e dat is dem helping themselves ... (F134) During my research period, I observed the door to the NGCO opened daily in the late morning and closed in the afternoon (the gate was closed, but as far as I know not locked), which is common for many households and offices in the community. However, t h e accounts of these experiences were vividly remembered and expressed in terms of feelings of the community at large and specific named individuals; stating that in specific cases they were completely disregarded o r personally mistreated by the conservation NGO staff. Once this negative image of the conservation professionals was established with participants it seemed to be quite stable. Most of the particip ants felt that the NGCO, like the local government and ou tsiders visiting Pearl Lagoon, lacked respect and empathy for poor community members and saw this as one of the most significant factors behind their concerns about the organization being in the community. Moreover, many felt that the NG C O staff did not c are about them personally and did not take the needs of the community seriously: [Conservation NGO] neva do nothing in dis community. Dey work wit certain people never wit juss anyone an dey don tell us wat it is dey really do Dey don work wit local only few seleck, but mos people no work der dey don provide us wit anyting in dis


95 community neeter [conservation professionals ] stay in der fence in house an close de gate an only come on de street fo food or tings dey need from us. Some time dey is lickle girl dem selling taco in front dey house an dey take picture or whateva Sometime people need gas to visit family in dem other community, da poorest people dem, an people donate a lickle to help, but [conservation professionals] neva do dey only care about demself spen our money hurr on certain t ing s or certain way s an we no able to give donation, but d ey have it plenty they can do it but dey don care bout we Dey only is here for demself and what dem der wants (K432) These identifications of feeling devalued presented by the majority of participants ( sometimes repeated multiple times in an interview) were linked to NGCO activities such as: hiring employees from outside of Pearl Lagoon, not donating to poor individuals in the community (for undisclosed personal needs, not official charities or fundraisers), not disclosing what their work involves or ho w they receive funding and where it is allocated, being in the community to make money and leave (rather than help the locals), and the lack of participation in local events by NGCO staff. The perception of some people that the NGCO does not extend their r esources to the community, unfortunately may result not only in negative feelings toward the organization, but also complications in the implementation of conservation initiatives. Whether or not the feelings and perceptions are justified, this viewpoint c onstitutes an element of the social environment that is meaningful in its own terms. Corruption and Human G reed of Politicians and External Organizations When discussing the topic of local government offices and officials, 83% of participants refer red to c orruption as the root of local problems. This is the case for enforcement of laws as well. One participant explained that the government


96 takes what it want s whether or not it ha s the legal right to do so. This includes one case involving legally captured green turtles by an individual with permit in hand : Dey no as for permit, dey jus come an do whats dey wants d ey [police] ti efed (thieved) de six turtle nex house no ask fo permit jus come do wats dey wan, but d ey could have said, yo dem lass 5000 cord ba an dey lose it pay and how ca you go back out to fish when you cyant afford no (I294) Over half (67%) of participants associated the staff of the sea turtle conservation NGO with local government activities, and some s tated that the two work together against the local community members. This perceived association between the corrupt government and conservation NGO has led participants to believe that the NG C O is also corrupt and involved in corrupt activities that benefit both their conservation organiz ation and the local government (but negatively effect community members ) One male participant involved in the turtle fishery stated: I hear, I don d is turt le is an American what dat is de problem we is having wit dis turtle. True why we is having de problems wit [conservation professional] and wit dis turtle is because d em is American, and Am ericans de ones who make de money So [conservation professional] can come go Miami or wherever so dem wants and bring down s a lot of money, pay de government, an right here we poor people suffer on de coast. ( long pause) All dem want to know is dat dey pockets are full and dey families c professional] try to use we. D at is the biggest probl em we is having [conservation professional] (N857)


97 Although there is no evid ence that the NGCO in Pearl Lagoon is working for personal benefit the long history of corrupt leaders and external organizations extracting local resources has made local residents wary of all outside organizations working in the community. While it is n ot the first issue considered when planning conservation or development programs, greed and corruption are human factors that have effects on natural systems around the world. In an ideal setting, leaders may learn that it is in their best interest to care about the well being of others, but in reality and in societies with low social capital programs and people are often corruptly manipulated for the benefit of institutions governments and private profit (UNDP 2006). The e fforts of various international conservation and development organizations have failed in rural settings due to thi Unfortunately, due to the powerful backing by commercial and industrial groups, many well meaning organizations are defeated by corruption o r me e t with high levels of local mistrust and even hostility. To make appropriate decisions about use of time and money, international conservation NGOs need to acquire skills in the local language and cultural and social norms, and be wary of local instit potentially corrupt activities or giving the appearance of corruption In rural communities where local leaders and institutions have a history of taking advantage of local people for personal interests, as in the Pearl Lagoon community, NCGOs are met with an additional challenge of proving their intentions are honorable and gaining the trust of the community


98 Another issue that can arise with corrupt governments in rural, developing countries is lack of enforce ment of environmental laws including harvest limits. According to Bennett (2009) high corruption in local governments decreases the effectiveness of long term conservation goals by promoting over use and short term exploitation of natural resources ofte n because those in charge of enforcing environmental laws are easily bribed Corruption of local governments is especially damaging to conservation since it diminishes the effective spending of public funds and promotes overuse or high extraction rates of valuable natural resources (Smith et al. 2003) Damania (2002) also points out that if the judiciary is also corrupt or lacks strong leaders, good management is not possible and further opportunities for corruption are created. Lack of Social and Instituti onal Trust A primary issue for conservation organizations with international or national objectives attempting to elicit local participation is that they often work in regions with high levels of mistrust of outside organizations and local officials esp eci ally international institutions (Harrison et al. 1996; Macnaughten & Jacobs 1997); therefore, local residents often view conservation programs as cover s for self interest ed agendas. This mistrust often does not stem from a lack of belief that internatio nal organizations should address local environmental concerns but stems from the low expectations of any genuine response to their needs and demands. To this end, efforts by outside organizations, conservation or otherwise, that seek the participation of local people run the risk of being viewed as exploitative and authoritarian by pro spective beneficiaries, as when local


99 volunteers and workers are only recruited to handle the labor required to achieve conservation goals. One female participant (dependent housewife) stated: Wat dey do? I no haffa idea bout dem. But, I hurr dey involve wit de government an dey ack like deys here for de turtle, but some say dey really hurr to get money an den take what dey need an go. Dey don care bout we. Dey ack like dey like us an all, but you see dems house is bigga den mine an dey haffa big fence to proteck it an dey have boats an dey have generators an dey have computers, but dey neva say where dem gets da money to do dat! An we ask dem to tell dats why we kno dems not hurr fah turtle. Dems here to use we an get what dey need. (F549) It is interesting that this participant states initially that she does not know the NGCO (who they are or what they do in the community) but then goes on to expres s strong feelings based on hearsay. Her attitude is an example of the mistrust, not only outsiders, but also of individuals with material goods and seemingly greater wealth than the majority of the Pearl Lago on populat ion. If a local community member builds a nicer house than others in the community, it is also common for locals to speculate where they got the money often assuming it was through illegal activities or the discovery of illegal drugs along the coast, aban doned by Columbian drug traffickers. Since there are very few opportunities to accumulate great wealth locally, Pearl Lagoon residents base their perceptions of those with money on what they are most familiar with, which includes corrupt institutions and g overnment that often aim to take advantage of locals. The sad legacy of these left residents of the region unwilling to trust outsiders, leaders, and even other community members (perso nal observation).

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100 Levels of trust in local government and institutions responsible for community management, called institutional trust, also plays a role in local perceptions about conservation program effectiveness (Cvetkovich & Winter 2003; Jorgensen et al. 2009). If community members have high levels of trust in the institution responsible for implementing new regulations (e.g., environmental laws) usually the local government, they are generally more willing to abide by the regulations and perceive th e regulations as necessary and effective (Jones 2010). In Pearl Lagoon, law enforcement is the responsibility of national police, yet the police officers are often from western Nicaragua and viewed as outsiders in the community : Da police and govament here (pause) dem bad. If an you be in trouble and says you call dem, dey will not come to help you. Dey is jus corrupt. But say dey want to cause you problem dey is having fun wit us dem Spaniard police. Dey is all volunteer. Dem no care bout we coastal p eople. Dey only come to cause problem. Dey is all corrupt dem ,an dey don help us none. (R893) Social networks influence community member awareness of and attitudes toward conservation and environmental regulations (Wakefield et al. 2006), however the impl ications can be positive or negative depending on the network. Ultimately, t rust is key to credibility of both natural resource managers and conservation organizations (Putnam 1995) and the information the organizations provide to local communities (Earle & Cvetkovich 1995 ) Betts (1997: 2) discerned that exchanges where trust and collaboration beget more trust and collaboration, or a vicious circle where defection and betrayal lead to more of t community members perceive that external conservation NGOs are practicing

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101 their trust that the NG C O will cooperate with locals is strengthened. Level of educatio n and role in place of employment have also been linked with higher social trust, based on the argument that educated and well employed people are in better positions to evaluate potential and can therefore reduce the lack of trust when dealing with new in dividuals (Knack & Zak 2002). Since many residents in Pearl Lagoon have not completed high school (and some did not attend middle school either), this presents another challenge to the NGCO in trust building efforts. However, the participants who reported current or previous experience working with the NGCO (15%) seem ed to have a greater trust in the Perhaps if more locals were able to work in some capacity with the NGCO, even in a short term position, tr ust in the conservation NGO would gradually increase in the community. One participant in this study, who worked for NGCO in the past, stated: Fur me, dem turtle people dem doing a pretty good job. See, it real important now to proteck de turtle, cause we is having problem wit de fish and de lobsta. See now dey have sem gill net an dem fisha man bringing in all sizes of fish, even real small ones dem. Now we are runnin out of dem fish an is hard fur fisha man to catch dem. An we need to start saving some of de fish an some of de turtle dem so we have food in da futah an so my kids dem have meat to eat. (D093) overall conservation mission of NGCO, the individual was supportive of the program and displayed higher trust than participan ts less familiar wi th the objectives and local efforts

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102 Participatory Constraints For some locals, sea turtle conservation efforts and protective measures taken to conserve natural resources are seen as a means for outsiders to be accepted as members of a new Lord 1987: 105 6). Individuals who share this view see the external NG C Os involvement of local people in their conservation initiatives as nominally representative of the community. Participants claimed that there were neither equal nor frequent opportunities for community members to be involved in the NGOs initiatives either as employees or volunteers. These views imply that locals perceive the conservation approa ches in Pearl Lagoon as undermining both the potential longevity and community ownership of initiatives to conserve sea turtles locally as reflected in the following statement: Well dey work wit c ollege students sometimes and dat is good, but dey don work wit many of de local people cause dey say dose guys is n ot educated or trained to do work at dey office. But, if dey is trained and de y try to part icipate more in community t ings, den it would work bettah a nd what happen when d ese turkle ladies leav e or retire and no one here for [ NGCO ] anymore? Dey tink dey work will stay? No one will continue d e work dey started if d train local people s to take over de conservation and learn to mek da money dere too .. (W938) D espite potential to work with the NGCO doing seasonal conservation work ( temporary positions advertised annually, as described earlier), this statement suggests that people may be more willing to participate if they feel a real opportunity to influence the process and outcomes of the administrative processes. According to deLeon (1992), the process of creating or shifting to more effective participatory techniques requires three components: 1) empowerment and education of communi ty members, 2) re education of

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103 administrators (involving community participation as a citizen, rather than an outsider), and 3) enabling locals to participate in administrat ive structures and processes. Another participant brought up the lack of locals participating in the project as an issue of community owners hip, and also mentioned the potential a threat to Aftah ovah 10 year in dis community, de people here still call d e t urtle conservation project in d communit y development, participation an empowah ment, people Unfortunately when dey [conservation professionals] is gone, de projeck will be to o cause de local people do not has a sense of ownership or any need to proteck the turtle right now an when d ere is not anyone on the cays tell ing them not to eat the eggs, dey will begin to eat dem and harvest the a ksbills again When [conservation professionals] is gone, dis projeck will be gone too and we will still eat dem turtle. (F328) One of the assumptions made about conservation and development initiatives with participatory components is that the more local people that participate, the better. However, participants in this study pe rceive that only a select group of community members and residents of the Pearl Lagoon region were invited to be involved in the external NGOs activities and that these same people were hired each year because they are already trained. Other participants (23%) stated that they would rather not participate even if given the opportunity because they do not believe they have the necessary qualifications and are not confident that they could do a good job Participants (53%) felt the conservation NGO did not t ake the time to increase local participation through training and workshops, which several participants mentioned were needed in Pearl Lagoon

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104 to help locals learn how to protect their own resources. One participant, a single female with a high school educa tion, said: You gonna be suhprise cause people round here, dey not know a lot bout conservation. Dey needs to be more education, but by dem people willin to train us in dis co mmunity and do capacity buildin Dey was a workshop on sustainable tourism an de y talk bout fishermen become to ur guides, but no fishermen was dere and [conservation professional] said dat dem do n have de education to do dat well den train dem! People here dey are able to learn an d ey need someone s in dis community t o talk to dem an help train dem Is hard fur people here ta believe in da conservation issues dat [conservation NGO] bring up (X934) Cultural Identity Many indigenous groups have traditional uses of plants and animals, including shelter, food, decoration, and medicine (Bridgewater 1995). Consumption of foods considered native or customary in a particular region is an identification with, and understanding and appreciation of the culture that produ ced that particular customary action (Moller 1996). From the constructivist perspective, cultural identity is the product of both historical and social contexts Deng 2005). Since people construct their individual and collective identities through their cultures, they will also defend customs or traditional activities (Friedman 1994). On the other hand, these customary actions and traditional use of natural resources ha s brought some groups into conflict with conservation organizations that push for decreased or discontinued use of particular plants and animals (Moller 1996; IUCN Intercommission Task Force on Indigenous People 1997; Weaver 1997).

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105 have consumed green turtle meat for hundreds of years and the action continues today to varying degrees, depending on community location and the extent to which people depend on turtles as a food source Over half (58%) of the participants s aid that eating turtle meat was part of [ NGCO ] de y tell us but dat is our culture since long time and dere is no other jobs fuh de fishaman dem (E937). Another participant also stated that turtle consumption was a practice that had a long history in the region and that the meat is much cheaper than local alternatives. This participant also confirmed previous studies (Garland and Carthy 2010) that found turtle mea t is locally preferred for its taste: oor pe we c y an go right to the turtle stall get 5 pound for 75 cord ba or tek 100 cord ba and buy 6 pound can feed whole family for days. ecause you see if we kill 15 she turtle today it will sell fas and dey kill de same amount de nex day and we ca sell it again ever day people want de turtle. Dey like how d e meat dem taste s (V548) A participant who has spent a considerable amount of time working outside of Nicaragua, claimed that there are alternative meats that people in the community like the taste of and frequentl y consume. However, he said that even if these other meats were more affordable, they cannot ever completely replace the turtle because it is a long lived custom : You see people here eat turtle because what deys always eat an is c heaper dan other meat and dey tink dey want it because dey has always eat it in de pass. But dey has not been introduced to anyting else they can afford. People here love but chicken is very dear (expensive) since it come fr om Managua and turtle cord ba for a pound of turtle. An even so chicken get cheap, de

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106 change dat In some communities where traditional consumptive practices, like eating green turtle meat, are facing opposition from conservation NGOs locals are also making use of new technologies to increase trad itional harvest s; this has the potential to transform what were once ( potentially ) sustainable traditional uses into overuse and unsustainable harvests. Green turtles were traditionally harpooned off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and coastal fishermen did not have motorized vessels T oday all Pearl Lagoon fishermen use nets and have engines on their boats (as well as GPS units in some cases), reducing the effort required to catch turtles and increasing the distance fishermen are able to travel. Some pa rticipants (29%) recognize the utility of conservation of sea turtles referencing hawksbill ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) turtle populations in and around the Pearl Cays, Nicaragua. Prior to the conservation work of the international NG C O (based in Pearl Lagoo n) to protect the critically endangered hawksbill almost all of the nests laid were being harvested, and many of the adult turtles were also being taken. One participant, who has been fishing turtle off nized that the efforts of the NG C O working locally to protect turtles had been successful in conserving hawksbills: Dem [NGCO] ey fig ht for everyt ing the aksbill (hawksb ill) is worse than d e turtle (green). Because dem ketch you goin wit a ksbill ause in year s go by, you could hardly see d em small a ksbill. Once in Nicaragua dere were plenty aksbill, but we sell d e shell and it used to make lots of things. People would come to Nicaragu a and buy it e small ones, dem

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107 all sizes dey would kill an ship out. But, in dem later days, dat stop an you could not fine harly any aksbill. But now dese time you can see all size of a ksbills since them [conser vation NGO] here. Now de aksbills are all about and d ey are common like the turtles (greens). Yes, tru dese people what handling de process of dese aksbills. So on one hand dem [conservation professionals] is good. (R710) However, the same person claimed t hat fishing green turtles was part of the Nicaraguan cultural history on the Caribbean coast; that the activity had been going on for many years, and that there had not been any declines in the green turtle population. But for me de green turtle dem, we ha ve more of dem and dat is somet ing we been doing for ages. Dese green turtle dem, dey is not juss Nicaragua turtle, dey come from all over de world. One time I ketch turtle wit pin (flipper tag) d at come by way Nort America. An dey have d em all bout in d e Pacific too. An, when I was more young, like when I had 15 year, I remember good, my daddy d em used to work in fishing turtle for (international institution). Dey use to fish turtle in big boats an ever day you see dem big boats, 2 or 3 boats passin, w it up to 500, and de turtle hurr never done (R710) A female participant not directly involved with the sea turtle fishery also believed that green turtle populations are not in decline: For me de green turtle es juss fine Dey been here long time and dey be here long time more. Dey is part of we history and we future too. We Creole people always will be eatin dem here (laughs). (J473) Discussion The interviews carried out in Pearl Lagoon are revealing in ways that go to the heart of the challenges faced by any community b ased conservation effort. In the final section of this chapter I will explore the implications of the findings for project management, but before doing so it is worth revisi ting the theory and methods that I used to generate the information that is the basis o f the analysis presented here. A key consideration is the ontological status of the information

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108 that I gathered and analyzed. In keeping with the grounded theory approac h, the objective was to create a vision of the world as it is perceived and evaluated by members of the community in which the turtle conservation effort has been carried out. In contrast to the conventional survey strategy, which applies a pre constructed questionnaire to a randomly select ed sample here the main objective was to select a representative cross section of the population and allow the respondents in effect, If my sample was not random in the strict sense, I nonethe less made a concerted effort to include The interviews thus began with general questions that served to channel but, beyond that, it was up to the respondents to educate me about the way that they saw things in their community. As the interviews progressed, I repeatedly subjected the accumulating information to analysis, abstracting relevant themes and looking for relationships all the while. Provisional insights provided the inspiration in later interviews, to pose new prompts that differed from the ones that I began with. The goal was to check and re check the overall conclusions that began to emerge using all o f the methodological guidelines that grounded theory has to offer By the end of the process, I was able to extract from the welter of information I was presented with a handful of common themes and insights about the social environment that characterized the research site. conclusions that I have drawn from the data? At the risk of some repetition, it is

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109 important to underscore the idea that the perspectives that the respondents shared with me, and that I have documented here, are not to be interpreted as even though some of their statements may, in fact, be true Much as we might wish to have an objective answer to questio n s of this sort assertions was not the objective of the analysis nor, in fact, would it have been possible to accomplish was to generate an understanding of the worldviews held by the members of the community. I have done so on the assumption that the subjective perceptions represent the social context that exists in the research site. It follows that this social context is s omething that the conservation organization must necessarily understand, work with, and strive to change. The interviews and the background information on the community provide striking evidence of the way that the perceptions held by members of the local community have been shaped by broader economic, social, and political forces, as well as by deliberate attempts by particular stakeholders to discredit the very idea of turtle conservation and undermine the organization that has attempted to promote it. If nothing else, the depiction of the subjective perspectives that I have documented here reflect the extraordinary challenges that confront conservation efforts in general, as evidenced by the broader literature on the topic. Community conservation initiatives to date have received mixed reviews, reflect: the tangible benefits people receive (Arjunan et al. 2006; Wild & Mutebi

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110 1997); the extent to which their access to resources changes or livelihoods are affected (Weladji et al. 2003); the degree to which members of the communicate think that they have been involved in project development and decision making and hence, their sense of project owners hip (Alexander 2000); and the ability of external organizations to incorporate local cultural norms (Lepp & Holland 2006). Engaging local s to participate in conservation efforts is generally viewed as a positive means for both gaining local NGCO support an d giving locals a greater sense of program ownership. In revealing the different perceptions and experiences of local participants in Pearl Lagoon, it is evident that gaining support for an external conservation organization involves much more than engagin g locals. The thematic dimensions that emerged in this grounded theory study were : perceived lack of respect and support, corruption and human greed of government low levels of trus t, participatory constraints, and links to cultural identity; all of which with leadership and outsiders, which is ultimately reflected onto sea turtle conservation efforts in Pearl Lagoon. Conflict and Collaboration Conflicts between conservation NGOs and their surro unding human societies are difficult to resolve due to the many challenges in building trust and effective communication between the external organization and the rural, possibly uneducated, local human populations who often have in the past suffered at th e hands of corrupt governments and extr active operations by outsiders In the case of turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon, there was a perception among participants that external institutions are focused on

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111 institutional agendas and unresponsive to partici pant needs; implying that even if local participants are aware of conservation needs and positive biological results from the conservation NGOs efforts, they are uncertain about the ulterior motives of the external NGOs introducing participatory activities These perceptions also reveal doubt among participants in the ability of conservation organizations to address issues important to locals. These negative feelings result in unresponsiveness that may be incorrectly interpreted by conservation institutions as apathy, or a lack of understanding, when in actuality the lack of participation may also be a direct response to the degree to which locals feel able to influence their local environment and the decision making processes that shape their community (Mac naghten & Jacobs 1997). In other words, if local participants feel they are not able to influence change in their community or in their natural environment, they would rather let things continue to deteriorate than waste time participating in conser vatio n efforts. Although it presents a great challenge, conservation NGOs are in the best position to take the first steps towards establishing trust, by making some positive concessions, and connecting in some way to real, rather than symbolic or required, loc al participation in decision making about natural resource conservation and management. To do this, many c onservation NGOs will need to step back from pre determined conservation goals and hold focus groups and meetings in local communities to work coopera tively towards shared objectives. This presents a very difficult process as most conservation NGOs are tasked with outlining specific plans and project deliverables prior to securing funding for

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112 initiatives, pa rticipatory or not. P articipation as a proces s of emergent objectives also involves hiring and training locals for long term project goals rather than program spec ific short term positions; this presents a nother challen ge for international NGOs that are not necessarily allocate d funding for programs without clear cut plans of action. Collaboration is an essential aspect of natural resource conservation and management in international settings, especially in less developed nations. Outside conservation professionals may find conti nued engagement and guided collaborative emergent planning to be effective strategies. However, collaboration has associated costs that many locals and conservation professionals are not necessarily prepared for, including time and energy; long hours, week fishermen on trips, attending local festivals, and gaining an appreciation of both what locals think and how they think. There are also time and energy commitments required of local peop le to both learn about the external needs of the community with the NGOs. Collaboration between locals and international NGOs is a long term process that often is not achieved o r may takes years to produce concrete conservation or development results. The first challenge in successful coll aborative efforts is fostering positive attitudes among local stakeholders toward conservation and conservation agencies. Fostering Positive At titude s Research into promoting positive attitudes among local participants has shown that local views of conservation and conservation agencies are directly

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113 related to: their receipt of concrete benefits (Wild and Mutebi 1997); the degree to which their a ccess to resources and livelihood activities are affected (Weladji et al. 2003) ; their direct involvement and participation in development and implementation of conservation strategies (Alexander 2000); the degree to which conservation strategies and confl ict resolutions adhere to cultural norms and incorporate local knowledge systems (Lepp and Holland 2006). These findings support the idea that communities are not homogenous; therefore conservation strategies need to determine domains of shared cultural kn owledge and also address concerns of individual stakeholder groups in order to foster positive attitudes toward their agency and activities. Closing Thoughts The case of sea turtle conservation challenges in Pearl Lagoon is not new; it is one of the many s uch dramas playing themselves out across the globe. Many conservation agencies, like the NGCO working to conserve sea turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua, have implemented conservation strategies that struggle to include local stakeholders in development and pa rticipation and are frequently met with local apprehension. Due to histories of use and abuse by outside institutions and corrupt local governments, local residents are wary of external NGCO motives and perceive conservation of sea turtles as a potential v iolation of their traditional rights and cultural identities. This research illuminates the various challenges facing conservation efforts by outside organizations, including the NGCO currently working to conserve sea turtles in the region. Conservation pr ofessionals working in rural areas of developing nations should be aware of the historical context in which they are working and the potential variations in

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114 co nceptions of natural resources. If conservation agencies can incorporate these cultural differenc es in the development and implementation of local strategies, they may be able to promote participation and empower local people with resource management schemes that reflect the local cultural norms and value systems. The intention of this study is not to provide a complete set of solutions and I recognize that there is no right way to conserve natural resources and promote sustainable use. My goal is to highlight certain suggestions and ideas raised by local participants in the study. Some potential asp ects for the NGCO working toward sea turtle conservation goals in Pearl Lagoon to focus on include: Creating a sense of local ownership of local conservation efforts Gaining the support of the local government Increasing opportunities for employment Creat ing an environment that welcomes local participation in development and in iti a tion of conservation strategies Promoting local trust and building relationships with local people from various socio demographic groups and those with various connections to the target resource or fishery Giving communities greater incentives to protect sea turtles The findings of this study indicate that the current context in Pearl Lagoon is not conductive to sustainable use or conservation of sea turtles (or other wildlife populations). Important changes are needed to promote an effective conservation strategy, and this provides an immense challenge to the NGCO working in the region.

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115 Perhaps the most critical need to move forward with conservation initiatives and address the potential focal points listed above is enabling of local people to understand and evaluate the issues by providing accurate information in all areas of concern. There is a serious information deficit in Pearl Lag oon that is negatively affected by rampant gossip and misinformation ; the lack of a reliable information source and honest leadership as well as the low level of education among most residents make this deficit even worse. Providing locals with information and being honest about conservation challe nges not only gives them a better understanding of local issues, but it also empowers them to impact change. As most conservation agencies are already aware, management (or conservation) of wildlife in rural, developing countries with histories of corrupt leadership requires a serious commitment at local, national and international levels and significant investments of time, money, and personal commitment to conservation goals.

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116 Figure 3 1. Process of Grounded Theory (Adapted from: Charmaz 2006: 11) Table 3 1 Demographics of in depth interview participants (N=50) shown as N (%). In the age range rows, percentages of men and women are calculated from the total in the age group, not the total of men and women i nterviewed. Total Men Women All Participants 50 26 24 Mean Age 38.8 43 36 Mean Number of Children 4 4.5 3.5 Mean Number of Children in Home 3 3 3 Currently Employed 32 (64) 21 (65.6) 11 (34.4) Mean Monthly Income (in USD) 103.64 131.40 75.89 Eat Turtle Meat 47 (94) 21 (44.7) 26 (55.3)

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117 CHAPTER 4 CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE A ND ATTITUDES TOWARD SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION ISSUES IN PEARL LAGOON, NIC ARAGUA Sustai ning wildlife populations in developing nations of Latin America is essential to the well being of many people especially those in rural communities w hose livelihoods depend on natural re sources ; fish often provide coastal families with low cost, high quality protein (Nietschmann 1972 ; Christie 1999 ) In Caribbean Nicaragua green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) have historically been one of the primary fishery targets H owever, green turtles are now classified as globally endangered (IUCN 2009) and conservation biologists have begun developing ma nagement plans with the goal of keeping harvests a t sustainable levels. E fforts to manage the green turtle fishery in Nicaragua often f ace challenges due to distrust of outsiders and individuals in positions of power, as well as high levels of regional poverty and the lack of accepted alternative income generating activities in the region. public support for conservation in principle, but a pronounced lack of support for the external institutions responsible for the implementation of to a multitude of issues including constraints on resource use, cultural differences and outside decision maker presence, community members often hold negative attitudes toward conservation organization staff (Newmark et al. 1 993; Fiallo and Jacobson 1995). These negative attitudes can result in poor relations with park staff and lack of support for conservation programs and protected areas (Fiallo and Jacobson 1995). Given the strong human component in conservation of wildlife and natural resources (Niemcyznowicz 1999) non governmental conservation organizations (NGCO) are now recognizing the need to investigate the impact of cultural knowledge

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118 ( Reyes Garcia et al. 2007 ) on levels of community support for conservation and mana gement. For example, cultural knowledge and attitudes toward political groups may affect opinions of community members toward external organizations including NGCOs Cultural consensus (agreement) in the case of my study in Pearl Lagoon refers to the beliefs and perceptions of sea turtle conservation and management. The analyses presented in Chapter 3 set out to uncover the key issues, themes, and relationships among concepts that comprise the cultural context in the Pearl Lagoon community. The analysis implicitly assumed that, underlying those themes, lay a more or l ess consistent agreement among the people interviewed regarding their understanding of the status of sea turtles as a resource and about their perspectives on conservation programs; in this chapter, I set out to empirically address this assumption I used cultural consensus analysis (CCA) agreement a single cultural model of shared beliefs, among a set of informants to and also to reveal features of that social realit y that suggest additional lines of inquiry. Cultural Knowledge Cultural knowledge is a set of shared and learned beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions of a group of people (Romney et al. 1986; Weller et al. 1986; Weller 2007). Cultural domains, defined by Fu rrow (2003) as a group of cognitively associated cultural knowledge. Cultural knowledge, including knowledge of wildlife populations and management needs, varies between and within social groups (Wallace 1961; Reyes Garcia et al. 2007). Many personal characteristics have been connected to variations in individual knowledge, including gender (Voeks 2007), age (Begossi 2002), religion

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119 (Voeks and Leony 2004), socio economic statu s (Pilgrim et al. 2008), education (Zarger 2002b), and livelihood strategies (Pilgrim et al. 2007). Cultural knowledge or cultural beliefs ( shared values and opinions ) whether positive or negative, can affect cooperation and environment al stewardship (Pretty 2003). Ethnoecological knowledge a subset of cultural knowledge (and correlated to the field of environmental anthropology), is local, emic knowledge used by human groups to understand, utilize, and adapt to their environment and na tural resources (Purcell 1998; Gragson and Blount 1999). Posey et al. (1984: 97) broadly biological world and plant animal cultural variation in ethnoecological knowledge exists within and between domains (e.g., medicinal plants, wildlife for consumption, non timber forest products) and the results from studies focused on a domain are usually unique to that domain (Reyes Garcia et al. 2007). The uniqueness of results can be attributed to variations in an individual therefore researchers need to specify their focal domain and report on any potential stu dy limitations of comparing domains (Reyes Garcia et al. 2007). Theoretical Perspective Cognitive anthropology focuses on the aspects of culture in the human mind, which are seen as socially distributed individual units; therefore, it is especially appropr iate when looking at intra cultural variations in knowledge ( ). C ognitive anthropologists have also developed their concept of culture to contain intra cultural variation among individuals while maintaining characteristic aspects of sharing embodied in groups (Handwerker 200 5 ); therefore, to a cognitive anthropologist, culture

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120 consists of knowledge, and shared information or representations (Romney and Moore 1998). Theoretical perspectives from cognitive anthropology were used in this study t o identify cultural similarities and individual differences in the degree to which members of the community agree among themselves about the population status of green turtles and sea turtle conservation. Weller (2007: 339) defines culture as the set of l earned and shared beliefs and behaviors of a group and cultural beliefs as the normative beliefs of a group Since culture consists primarily of knowledge, it can be learned, created, shared, utilized, received, and lost (Romney and Moore 1998). Also, i t is not possible for one individual to have all cultural knowledge, as with any other knowledge there is too much content (Weller 1987:35). Handwerker (2002) explains the ability of group cultures to evolve through the evolution of individual cultures cha nging in experiences and interactions. Lastly, individuals are not exclusive participants in one culture but rather various cultures (Sapir 1932). Cultural Consensus Theory Cultural consensus theory (CCT) includes various methods of analysis and models us ed to estimate beliefs of a culture i n specific domains (when the beliefs are unknown, as in the ethnographic context) and individual levels of knowledge and reporting regarding these cultural beliefs (Weller 2007). The CCT can then estimate the culturally appropriate (correct) answers to a set of questions and, if desired by the researcher, provide estimate s of individual participant accuracy and level of agreement among participants When using CCT, participant responses are not recoded, transformed, or c hanged in any way as they are in knowledge tests and attitudinal studies because in order to estimate the culturally correct answers, original responses need to be used.

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121 Although Boster (1986) is identified as the first researcher to state the significance of consensus in determining cultural knowledge in groups, Romney et al. (1986) are credited with further developing this idea into the mathematical approach to CCT: cultural consensus modeling (CCM). The three major assumptions of CCM are: 1) there is a p collection of local knowledge in the domain; 2) respondents in cultural consensus studies give their answers independently of other participants; and 3) an individual parti give the correct information regarding the cultural domain being studied (Romney et al. 1986; Furlow 2003). The two common approaches to CCT are the formal cultural consen sus model (CCM; Romney et al. 1986) and an informal version of the CCM (Romney et al. 1987). The formal CCM (Romney et al. 1986) is used to model the process of asking and answering questions and is designed for categorical, true false, or yes no questions with short, unbiased responses. This method first calculates the proportion of matches between all pairs of participants, adjusts for the likelihood that participants could agree by chance guessing, and then runs a factor analysis on the participant by pa rticipant similarity matrix to determine if there is a single factor solution (Romney et al. 1986). By rule of thumb guidelines, a single factor solution is said to exist if : 1) the first factor explains a large share of variance in participant agreement, 2) the eigenvalue of the first factor is at least three times larger than the second, 3) mean individual knowledge is 0 .50), and 4) there are no or few negative loadin gs on the first factor. Under these circumstances, the first factor is interpreted as shared knowledge and loadings on

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122 the first factor are individual knowledge scores (Romney et al. 1986). Therefore, studies using CCM enable a researcher to determine if t here is a single knowledge base or cultural code about the topic of interest and, if there is a single, shared knowledge base, what responses are culturally correct and how knowledge about the model is distributed within a group Informal Cultural Consensu s Model The formal CCM is a process model which makes assumptions about the process of asking and answering questions in a structured knowledge test. The informal model, by contrast, is a data analytic model which makes fewer assumptions and offers a set of data analysis procedures for estimating cultural consensus and intracultural variation (Romney et al. 1987). The informal model is a minimum residual factor analysis (MRFA) of individuals that is appropriate for a wider ranger of data types, including ratings, rankings, and int erval level data (Weller 2007). Cultural knowledge, shared values, and community member opinions, whether positive or negative, can affect cooperation and environmental stewardship (Pretty 2003). If consensus exists among resident s of Pearl Lagoon regarding the degree to which members of the community agree among themselves about the status of green turtles with respect to conservation efforts, the emergent themes presented in chapter 3, focused on lack of trust and perceptions of corruption present critical challenges for conservation in the region. The in formal cultural consensus model was used in this study to determine if there is one common culture of attitudes toward local sea turtle conservation efforts and knowledge of gree n turtle status in Caribbean Nicaragua. I used CCM to measure cultural knowledge in this research because it is a reputable statistical model for measuring the degree of shared knowledge (Romney et al. 1986).

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123 The amount of agreement between participant res ponses is not overestimated, and the CCM analysis provides an accurate estimate of the culturally correct responses (answers) to the set of items presented to study participants (Romney et al. 1986). Methods For this analysis I dr e w on data from research i n the previous chapters to design a s urvey with items from the domain of knowledge about sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua Based on the grounded theory results ( C hapter 3), semi structured interviews ( C hapter 2), casual discussion with community members and participant observation, I developed a list of 2 3 items to measure knowledge about sea turtles (local population status and legislation) and sea turtle conservation relative to Pearl Lagoon, Caribbea n Nicaragua. Data Collection One on one interviews were conducted with 56 new participants (each participant was over 18 years of age, from different household s, and no participants in this study took part in research from previous chapters) Participants were purposively selected, using a quota design and asked to provide socio demographic information and then to respond to 2 3 knowledge questions read to them from the quantitative surve y. I t the survey was meant to determine individual opinions. Participants were also encouraged to volunteer additional information on any of the questions or subject matter covered, and any supplemental information was recorded in field notes and transcribed. All interviews were conducted in English, since the primary language in Pearl Lagoon is Creole English. Information was collected between September and November of 2008 from adult participants in the community of Pearl Lagoon.

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124 Socio demographic characteris tics of p articipants The 56 purposively selected participants were selected such that the distribution of key socio demographic characteristics among participants matches the population of Pearl Lagoon to within 2% of population profiles (Table 4 1): 52% men and 48% women; 50% whose highest level of school completed was some high school; (among those of working age) 18% fishermen, 15% dependents, 16% domestic workers, 17% business owners; 66% other (including students, government employees, and NGCO s taff); and 22% age 18 31 years, 20% age 31 40 years, 11% age 41 to 50 years, and 15% over 51 years old (there were no participants under 18 years old). Reported occupations are positions that participants either currently held or identified as their previo us employment if they were currently unemployed (for reasons including seasonal or temporary employment type and being let go from an employment position). The majority of participants (23%) reported monthly household income of $20 $90 USD, but 21% repor ted having no ranked socioeconomic status (labeled simply as below the average household in Pearl Lagoon, average or the same as other households in Pearl Lagoon, and above the average household in P earl Lagoon), 18% reported status above average for the community, 37% reported having average socioeconomic status, and 45% reported status below average for the community. Data Analysis To test whether there was cultural consensus (knowledge agreement) r egarding two domains ( green turtle status and local sea turtle conservation efforts in Caribbean Nicaragua ) I used factor analysis in SPSS Version 16.0 for Mac. This routine allows the user to perform a minimum residual factor analysis ( MR FA ), and uses th e participants

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125 as variables and items (question responses ) as cases to calculate the degree of agreement among participants. This analysis determines whether there is a single factor along which participants cluster, which would support the assumption that there is a single, shared cultural model of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation. To measure each domain model, I used two main metrics. First, a measure of the overall fit, or the ratio between individual loadings on the first and second components, w as used to assess whether or not a consensus exists. According to Weller and Baer (2002), a ratio of greater than 3 between the first and second factor eigenvalues indicates that a shared cultural model exists (one dimensional solution) ; however, this rule of thumb and the criteria provided earlier from Romney et al. 1986, are guidelines only Second, I the correct response (i.e., more than 60% of participants agree). The 2 1 questions about knowledge of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua coded as follows: CmEnd : Are green turtles endangered CmProt : Are there laws to protect green turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua? STEnd : Are all species of sea t urtle found in Caribbean Nicaragua endangered? STProt : Are there laws to protect all species of sea turtle found in Caribbean Nicaragua? LegalFishCm : Is it legal to fish for green turtles? PermitCm : Do you need a permit to harvest green turtles? VedaCm : Is there a closed season in the green turtle fishery? LessST : Has the number of green turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua increased, decreased or stayed the same in the past 10 years? PNR Mean

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126 NecessPNR : Is PLProtect : Are there programs or organizations that protect or manage the local natural resources in Pearl Lagoon? STProtect : Is it important to protect or conserve green turt les in Caribbean Nicaragua? Know[NGCO name] dependent on whether they correctly identified what the NGO name stood for.) [NGCO]workPL : Does [NGCO] work in the community of Pearl Lagoon? [NGCO] LocalJ obs : Do es [NGCO name] provide any jobs for community members? woulduwork [NGCO] : Would you ever work for [NGCO]? uSupp[NGCO] : Do you support the sea turtle conservation efforts of [NGCO] CommPNRnecess : Does the community believe it is important to protect t he local natural resources? CommPSTnecess : Does the community believe it is important to protect or conserve sea turtles? CommSupp[NGCO] : Does the community support the sea turtle conservation efforts of [NGCO]? CommlikeStaff : Does the community like the staff of [NGCO]? One limitation to the items I included in my 21 question survey is that there are questions that concern beliefs and opinions, rather than knowledge questions, and therefore not strictly appropriate for CCM. Ho wever, this informal CCM still offers a useful way to assess the degree of agreement among informants regarding sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua. Although the items may not all be ideal measures of knowledge about the cultural domain, they provide a n informal assessment of cultural agreement.

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127 Results and Discussion MRFA : Knowledge of Sea Turtles and Sea Turtle Conservation My main interest in looking at 56 participant responses to the 23 item survey on knowledge of sea tur t l es and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua was to illustrate the level of cultural agreement in Pearl Lag oon community members. The 56 participants were analyzed by the minimum residuals method (MRFA) as implemented in SPSS option PA 2 (Principal Axis Factoring). I do not mean to imply that knowledge of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation pertains to other areas of culture in Pearl Lagoon. It probably does not generalize to other areas of culture, and is only meant to illustrate agreement amon g community members with regards to knowledge of sea turtle issues and conservation In fact, there is likely high variability in what community members know about various cultural domains and I would expect there is greater consensus among informants in s ome areas than others (Romney et al. 1986). MRFA revealed that the first factor had all positive values and accounts for over three times as much variance as the next factor and that all other factors are small (comparatively) and decrease in size. Accordi ng to Rom n ey et al. (1986), this is a strict enough criterion for guaranteeing the assumption that the first factor provides an estimate of competence among informants. The eigenvalues for each of the first four factors in the knowledge of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation are 15.89, 2.43, 1.26, and 1.02 and account for 66. 32 %, 7.02 %, 5.65 %, and 5.05 % of the variance respectively (Table 4 2 ). The screeplot (Figure 4 1) revealed a clear break after the second factor and the first factor was not only positive, but also over 9 times as large as the second factor (and the remaining factors are all smaller, slowly declining values).

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128 The ratio of 9.45 between eigenvalues of the first and second factors meets one of the cr iteri a for existence of a single cultural model. The first factor alone explain s 69.985% of the total variance in the There were no negative loadings on the first factor and the mean individual knowledge was 0.71 (standard deviation =0.18) The empirical results confirm an important feature of the social environment in Pearl Lagoon. Members of the community share a common understanding of the status of turtles, as reflected in their understandings of : eating turtle meat, endangerment o f green turtles and other species of sea turtle found in Nicaragua, needing a permit to harvest green turtles, the existence of a closed season in the green turtle fishery, and the population decline of green turtles in the past 10 years. Given the histori cal importance of sea turtles in their lives and culture, the observed level of subjective consensus may not seem surprising, yet clear evidence of the high degree of inter the status of sea turtles is consistent with the understanding of other members of his or h er community. From the standpoint of conservation initiatives, the results are positive inasmuch as they imply that it is warranted to assume t hat the commun ity does share a common vision. Table 4 3 show s the degree of agreement for the 21 individual survey items related to sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua ; these include shared beliefs among members of the Pearl Lagoon community that green turtles ( Cm,

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129 Chelonia mydas ) are not endangered (65.36%), nor are all other species of sea turtle (ST) found in Caribbean Nicaragua (82.14%) ; both green turtles (86.4%) and all other species (70.7%) are protected in Nicaragua Also, there was agreement that it is lega l to fish green turtles (94.25); however one needs a permit to harvest t hem (67.14%) and there are less green turtles now compared to 10 years ago (61.82%), and there is a closed season (veda) in the green turtle fishery (66.07%). Participants agreed that people know the meaning of protecting the local natural resources (91.1% ) and think it is important that protect the natural resources (92.9%), yet they do not think there are organizations or activities in Pearl Lagoon aimed at protecting the natural resources (70.7%). Despite the community belief that natu ral resource s should have protection ( 87.1%) residents do not believe it is important to protect or conserve green turtles (67.9%), and neither does the community (74.2%), which may indicate that community members do not view green turtles as a natural re source (however this is just speculative). Over half the study participants (61.8%) did not know the name of the conservation NGO that has been operating in their community for over 10 years (and living and working on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua for o ver 15 years), although The majority of participants state that the NGCO does not work in the community of Pearl Lagoon ( 62.5 %) and does not provide jobs for local residents (69.9%) From the conservation perspective, it is unfortunate that community member s state that the y do not like the staff (68.0%) ; would not work with the organization (69.6%) ; do not support the

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130 and do not think that other community members suppo rt the efforts of NGCO (63.7%). Signi ficance of Findings The results of the cognitive tests empirically demonstrate that Pearl Lagoon residents have a fairly high degree of shared knowledge (consensus) in the degree to which they agree among themselve s about the status of green turtles with respect to conservation efforts. The cultural consensus analyses (CCA) is an appropriate and sophisticated method to measure shared knowledge; in this case, the CCA showed that knowledge is widely shared and indicat ed a single model of cultural agreement with tl es). Given the history of turtle consumption in the Caribbean region of Nicaragua, and the centrality of green turtles to the culture of th e Pearl Lagoon Basin, the observed consensus is not surprising; however the demonstration of a cultural consensus using an empirical analysis, rather than logical assumptions, is important for establishing the fact that community members do have a shared v ision of sea turtles. By virtue of demonstrating the existence of a cultural consensus, these findings speak directly to the implicit assumptions that supported my analyses in previous chapters, in particular Chapter 3. My use of grounded theory to discove r themes and connections between various emergent themes that comprise the social reality of Pearl Lagoon more or less assumed a shared community vision, however the analysis did not shared vision s trengthen the grounded theory results, as well as those in the taste preference study (Chapter 2) by empirically confirming the implicitly assumed cultural consensus

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131 The existence of a shared set of values and attitudes, and the single, cultural model, is an important conceptual resource for the formulation and implementation of a turtle conservation effort. If this analysis found that a consensus did not exist among Pearl Lagoon residents with regard to sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua, findings would imply the need for basic educational initiatives before proceeding to the next stage of NGCO program implementation. The fact that this research did find a consensus among community members means that such preliminary activities are no longer necessary and conservation professionals should focus in other areas. In other words, conservation initiatives, particularly in rural communities in less developed countries, must be cognizant of the cultural consensus that exist in the commu nities that initiatives are intended to affect in order to be effective. The demonstrated existence of a cultural consensus is also useful to stimulate discussion among stakeholders about sea turtle conservation and management needs, including potential ca pacity building efforts. The empirical results point to an apparent contradiction inasmuch as participants agree that conservation is necessary, but not for turtles. The implications of these findings from the standpoint of a conservation agenda in the reg ion can be interpreted as both positive and negative (the first is a good thing, the second is not so good) On the potentially positive side, members of the community understand what it means to conserve natural resources and agree that it is important fo r Pearl Lagoon residents to protect/conserve their natural resources Also, participants agree that all species of sea turtle in Caribbean Nicaragua are endangered, know that one needs a

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132 permit to fish green turtle and that a closed season exists in the gr een turtle fishery. This indicates that whether or not they are involved directly in the green turtle fishery, they are aware of local legislation sea turtle population status and local conservation efforts The shared belief that it is important to protect regional natural resources indicates a n understanding among residents of conservation benefits and the impact of extractive use on resources (or that it is important to tell people they believe this). However, on the potentially negative side, comm unity members do not think green turtles are endangered or i n need of protection. It is unclear whether residents do not think green turtles are a natural resource (since they agree that local nat ural resources need protection), i f they believe green turtl es are abundant and do not require conservation measures, or if there is another reason entirely (or many reasons, rather than consensus). They agreed that there is a lack of support for the NGCOs conservation efforts and there seems to be a lack of trust or desire to participate in the NGCOs efforts, despite being familiar with the turtle ladies Based on the se results, in the context it was conducted, people in Pearl Lagoon may not be receptive to protective measures (efforts of the NGCO) or a managemen t program for green turtles, despite an overall agreement that protection of the natural resources is important. Even though scientific models predict green turtles are rare and the IUCN classifies them as globally endangered (2009), community mem ber s do not perceive this rarity. This indicates that the NGCO might need to work on trust building activities and community engagement in their sea turtle conservation efforts if they want to promote the longevity and local support of the project. However efforts to engage community members and promote participation in conservation efforts must be employed with an aim for true

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133 collaboration, rather than superficial (Shackeroff and Campbell 2007) ; participation is not always of interest to communities that are the target of conservation efforts and efforts are needed to promote identification of direct relevance for community members to participate. This contradiction among community members that conservation is necessary, but not for sea turtles, is potent ially revealing about the nature of local culture and, by extension, the nature of programs that a conservation initiative should design and implement. The contradiction suggests several lines of further inquiry that can clarify much about the social envir onment of Pearl Lagoon. One explanation is that community members adhere to the notion of conservation in the abstract, but are opposed to the idea that conservation should be applied to a resource upon which they depend. If this is the case, then conserva tion initiatives and NGCOs can take as a given that people understand and accept the concept of conservation, but that conservation efforts should be directed to in some way educating and informing people as to the necessary connection of that general cons ervation notion to sea turtles in particular. In other words, if NGCOs can count on the fact that people accept the logic of conservation (which is by no means self evident), then it is a matter of extending that logic to sea turtles. Demonstrating that the long ter life is dependent on understanding the dangers of over harvest and other activities is one possible way to connect the importance of conservation to sea turtles. However, the findings presented in C hapter 3 suggest an alternative explanation for the contradiction (between general conservation and sea turtle conservation). The results indicate that people distrust the conservation NGO that is operating in their

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134 community and that much of that attitude has historical roots in political maneuvering by stakeholders who were intent on undermining the idea that sea turtle conservation was necessary (and that the organization promoting sea turtle conservation efforts was corrupt). Unlike the previous explana tion, this alternative scenario suggests that the challenge for conservation initiatives assumes the need to focus specifically on building greater trust and legitimacy in the community. Although I have presented two possible explanations for the contradic ting results presented in the consensus model, the data at hand do not enable me to defensibly decide which explanation is more accurate. N onetheless, they illustrate CCM inasmuch as the method calls attention to patterns of associations and contradictions that introduce discrepancies in understanding the nature of community culture. Study Limitations A limitation of this study is the exclusive focus on the agreement among themselves about the status of green turtles with respect to co nservation. If patterns in different ecological knowledge domains were compared in the study, domains similar in their patterns could have been identified and used to r ecommend that future studies include other domains of ecological knowledge and compare patterns in the findings. An important area for further study is the need for separate assessments of the degree to which members of the community agree among themselve s about sea turtles and sea turtle conservation as they relate to the external NGCO working in Pearl Lagoon. This may also require an assessment of the external NG C O (or the hiring of a trained agent) to determine: what objectives have been met (or the pro gress in m eeting

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135 stated objectives), whether the overarching goals are understood by the community, what areas require attention and where program priorities should be set, if different from where they are currently. Questions and Recommendations Conserva tion through trust building Role of social capital. In the past decade, the concept of social capital has become a central topic in social science and is considered to be one of the primary components affecting success in community natural resource managem ent ( Jones 2010 ). Social capital refers to the social aspects of a community that influence Coleman 1988 ). If conservation initiatives in Pearl Lagoon need to focus specifically on building greater trust and legitimacy in the community, research in local social capital may be a logical next step. Relevant literature (Coleman 1988; Putnam 1993 ) refers to four main factors of social capital that are linked to social costs of natural resource management and environmental policies: Observance of social norms (tendency of community members to observe norms that are in place to protect the common g ood, e.g. paying taxes, obtaining permits) Institutional trust (trust in institutions responsible for community functions, e.g. government) Formal social networks (individual participation in organized activities or individual membership in organized grou Social trust (trust between individuals) I argue that the presence and effectiveness of social capital is dependent upon community members having a common set of cultural coordinates. If members of a

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136 single community have varyin g understandings of their environment and share no common views of such issues as conservation, then the possibility for conservation NGOs to establish interpersonal trust and willingness to participate and collaborate in communal efforts is much reduced. However, the results of this study that community members have shared knowledge of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation in Pearl Lagoon indicates a greater capability for trust and participation in local efforts. Trust precedes conservation success Trust is a key component of social norms, and networks that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating gen erate enough social capital in the form of trust in large group collective action for commons management to promote voluntary cooperation among individuals. Trust, voluntary participation, and reciprocity can either strengthen or weaken through unplanned s ocial dynamics. Betts (1997: 2) where trust and collaboration beget more trust and collaboration, or a vicious circle where defection and betrayal lead to more of the same. perceive that external conservation NGOs are practicing reciprocity and working for the with is strengthened. However, perceptions that the con servation NGO is working toward agency benefits and not collaborating with community members toward a common goal will weaken trust levels. Social trust, comprised of acting for the protection of the common good and willingness to rely on managers and thos e responsible for making decisions, is an

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137 important dimension in attitudes toward conservation (Siegrist et al. 2000; Cvetkovich & Winter 2003). For example, community members believing that their fellow citizens will support new conservation programs or f ollow new environmental regulations concerning turtle harvest will perceive lower social costs from a proposed program or harvest limit ( Jones 2010 ) and will be more likely to conserve sea turtles (Jorgensen et al. 2009). Here the highligh t ing the person or group of people (with decision making responsibilities) being trusted, that may or may no be familiar to the individual designating his or her trust (Siegrist et al. 2000). The notion of trust implies having confidence in a person or age ncy that they are reliable, serve in the general interest, and acts in responsible ways, therefore it is a set of beliefs rather than simply an emotional reaction of approval ( Devos et al. 2002 ). C wildlife conservation agency i ( Cvetkovich & Lfstedt 1999 ; Decker et al. 2001 ). Local context of trust. The Caribbean region as a whole has been characterized as having weak social capital, which does not only have negative e ffects on community members, but also on external organizations (including NGCOs). It has been suggested that residents of the Caribbean region have become highly individualized (Berthoud 1999), resulting in weakened kinship and community ties, disproporti onately low rates of educational attainment (Dench 1996), fragmented family structure (Beck and Beck Gersheim 2002), and very limited participation in mainstream civic activities (e.g., low voting rates) (Putnam 1995). According to Hardin (1968) social cap ital fosters mutual agreement and environments of cooperation which is likely to increase the levels of cooperation in managing the commons (Kramer 2007).

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138 Level of education and employment position have both been linked with higher levels of trust, based on the argument that educated and well employed people are in better positions to evaluate potential and can therefore reduce the lack of trust when dealing with new individuals (Knack & Zak 2002). A number of studies have also argued that institutional t rust is beneficial for the development of social trust, as government agents can provide role models for community members who have displayed increases in trust levels when government agents appear worthy of trust ( Brehm & Rahn 1997; Rothstein 2003 ). Howev er, residents of the community of Pearl Lagoon and other coastal communities in Caribbean Nicaragua display extremely low levels of trust in local government and individuals from outside the community; trust in other residents is often also low, but not to the same degree of politicians, law enforcement, nor external organizations (personal observation). To some degree, this mistrust can be attached to the history of Nicaragua as a divided country with political entities from the west exerting power over th e Caribbean region in the east, including the extraction of natural resources (Henri ksen 2008). Mistrust in the Pearl Lagoon community is also attributed properties and resources (personal observation). However, in an area like Pearl meeting the immediate needs of the day, not the long term, seemingly abstract needs of 1999: 347 348). For sea turtle conservation NGOs in Pearl Lagoon to address these complex conservation challenges, front end research in effective communication and public participation, understanding of local ecological knowledge and resource dependencies and the integration of mixed approaches

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139 (Jacobson and McDuff 1998) are necessary components of program development to formulate cooperative environmental management and policy regimes. Interdisciplinary collaboration: a critical ingredient for conservati on progress There are some critical questions that need to be considered by the NGCO working in Pearl Lagoon to conserve sea turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua. These include: H ow much should shared cultural knowledge determine future strategies and their imp lementation ? Do all conservation NGO s have a responsibility to take a role in community governance? How can we engage both critical stakeholders and the community members not currently sitting at the table ? Is it possible give trust building activities a primary role in the focus o f NGCO activities? If this is done, will the result be a greater sense of ownership among residents and increased project longevity? To answer these questions and address the themes emergent in this study, I believe it is of utmost importance that further studies be conducted by social scientists in cooperation with the NGCO in the community of Pearl Lagoon. Although there are frequent and documented cases of natural and social scientists struggling to successfully w ork together toward conservation goals, I believe that they can and should work together toward their shared objectives of sustainable livelihoods and resource use. By working to find and use linkages between the natural and social sciences researchers ha ve the potential to solve a number of conservation and development issues while also contributing to the body of knowledge on truly interdisciplinary conservation approaches. I believe that a research team of individuals trained in specific disciplines, in cluding political science, economics, anthropology, sociology, wildlife management, and ecology, should be cre ated to navigate the

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140 conservation challenges highlighted in the findings of this study and to produce better future research and sea turtle conser vation strategies for the Caribbean region of Nicaragua. I recognize that interdisciplinary research has its own challenges, including significant time and resource requirements, as well as dedication by those involved to both initiate and follow through i n development of strategies. However, there have been various exchanges and publications by scientists providing suggestions for overcoming these hurdles (Christie et al. 2003; Mascia 2003; Campbell 2005), some of which also support the need for interdisci plinary in approaching conservation research (Christie et al. 2003; Campbell 2005; Drew and Henne 2006).

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141 Table 4 1. Participant characteristics Total Percent Participants 5 6 Mean Age 42 Born in Pearl Lagoon 37 66.1 Lived Elsewhere 18 32.1 Eat Turtle Meat 52 92.9 Days/Week Eat Turtle Meat* 4 household when turtle meat is available in the community. Figure 4 1. Screeplot for Minimum Residual Factor Analysis (MRFA) of Pearl Lagoon Caribbean Nicaragua (N=56; Ratio of Eigenvalue 1 (15.89) to Eigenvalue 2 (2.43)=7.45, Variance Explained=6 The screeplot presented does not include the entire sample of 56 individuals however all factors were included in analysis and results presented.

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142 Table 4 2 Minimum Residual Factor Analysis Eigenvalues for all 56 Participants Component Number Value Percentage of Variance ( %) Ratio 1 15.89 66.32 7.45 2 2.43 7.02 1.24 3 1.26 5.65 1.12 4 1 .0 2 5.05

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143 Table 4 3. Domain Question Items on Knowledge of Sea Turtles and Sea Turtle Conservation in Caribbean Nicaragua with Responses Agreed Upon by Community Members and Percent Agreement Item Item Question or Description Percent A greement (%) Consensus Response CmEnd Are green turtles endangered? 65.4 No CmProt Are there laws to protect green turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua? 86.4 Yes STEnd Are all species of sea turtle found in Caribbean Nicaragua endangered? 82.1 No STProt Are there laws to protect all species of sea turtle found in Caribbean Nicaragua 70.7 Yes LegalFishCm Is it legal to fish for green turtles 94.2 Yes PermitCm Do you need a permit to harvest green turtles? 67.1 No VedaCm Is there a closed season for the green turtle fishery? 66.1 Yes LessST Has the number of green turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the past 10 years? 61.8 Decreased PNRMean Participant gives accurate description of protecting natural resources/conservation (Yes=knows meaning) 91.1 Yes NecessPNR Is it important for people in Pearl natural 92.9 Yes PLProtect Are there programs or organizations that protect or manage the local natural resources? 70.7 No STProtect Is it important to protect or conserve green turtles in Caribbean Nicaragua? 67.9 No Know [ NGCO name] Do you know what [ NGCO name] is? (Yes=Participant gives correct description) 61.8 No NGCOworkPL Does NGCO work in the community of Pearl Lagoon 62.5 Yes NGCOLocalJobs Does [NGCO name] provide any jobs for community members? 69.9 No w ould u workNGCO Would you ever work for NGCO? 69.6 No

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144 Table 4 3. Continued uSuppNGCO Do you support the sea turtle conservation efforts of [NGCO name]? 61.5 No CommPNRnecess Does the community believe it is important to protect the natural resources? 87.1 Yes CommPSTnecess Does the community believe it is important to protect or conserve sea turtles? 74.2 No CommSuppNGCO Does the community support the sea turt le conservation efforts of NGCO? 63.7 No CommlikeStaff Does the community like the staff of [NGCO name]? 64.1 No

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145 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS parta we cultcha till de end now. (L357) That was how an 82 year old former turtle fisherman and father of four, living in the community of Pearl Lagoon described for me why he believes residents do not fully support the local green turtle conservation efforts of an external conserva tion NGO working in Caribbean Nicaragua. Despite the availability of livelihoods other than fishing and the availability of meat other than green turtle in Pearl Lagoon, there might not be a better description of general attitudes toward sea turtle conserv ation efforts in the commu nity at the time of this study. For centuries prior to the arrival of English settlers in the 1600s, indigenous groups in Caribbean Nicaragua fished green turtles using small wooden boats and harpoons, using the meat as a form of payment in the community and a valuable source of protein in the household. The traditional role of green turtle meat in kinship relationships as a form of payment has almost entirely disappeared, as has the use of harpoons. In the 17 th and 18 th centuries, Caribbean Nicaraguans traded green turtle meat with both the English and French, and in the 19 th and 20 th centuries coastal residents began working as wage laborers in extractive commercial operations According to Nietschmann (1972 and 1974), the traditi onal connection between coastal indigenous groups and green turtle was significantly altered by relationships with British traders; resulting in changes to the local significance and cultural use of green turtle meat. A fishery once driv en by subsistence needs alone had become one fueled by the common desire for cash to purchase material goods and cash (Nietschmann 1974). After the

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146 creation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the United States and Nicaragua became a signatory of CITES (Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in the 1970s ended the exportation of green turtle from Caribbean Nicaragua, the coast experienced a civil war that indirectly resulted in green turtle harvest numbers decreasing significantly, which may have allowed Caribbean green turtle populations to increase. However, green turtles are still legally harvested and considered a valuable coastal commodity. In the community of Pearl Lagoon, residents have access to othe r sources of protein, including chicken, beef, fish, and game meat; yet community member s still report a preference for the taste of turtle meat over other av ailable options. The creation of a market economy and changes in local harvest methods and traditi onal uses of green turtle were slow, and altered indigenous kinship relationships in Caribbean Nicaragua, but residents are still proud of their heritage and the changing role s green turtle has played in the lives of coastal people. Regardless of alternati ve protein availability, Pearl Lagoon residents feel a cultural connection to consuming green turtle meat that makes local sea turtle conservation efforts especially challenging for the external NGO attempting to promote more sustainable harvests in Caribb ean Nicaragua. This dissertation captures part of this cultural connection to green turtle consumption. Working with 211 households (53%) in the Pearl Lagoon community I employed anthropological methods to better understand the culture and attitudes about green turtle consumption and sea turtle conservation efforts. I set out to document not only the continued preference for the taste of green turtle meat, but to also examine cultural knowledge of local sea turtle population status as it

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147 relates to conservation and conservation efforts, and consider the implications of these preferences and knowledge for sea turtle conservation efforts in the region. To do this, I conducted a grounded theory study to elucidate opinions o f and attitudes toward sea turtle conservation issues and the external conservation NGO working in Pearl Lagoon. I then used cultural consensus analysis (minimum residual factor analysis) to determine if one model of cultural knowledge exists in Pearl Lago on for the domain of sea turtle conservation. In this concluding chapter, I summarize the principal findings of my study and discuss their implications for sea turtle conservation and efforts of external NGCOs in Pearl Lagoon. Summary of Key Findings The o verall goal of this study was to elucidate critical human dimensions information concerning sea turtle conservation and increasing awareness of the importance of cultural components to conservation initiatives. A cultural and historical context of the regi on was provided to allow a broader perspective for considering cultural differences and social norms in a community adapting to globalization and modernization. The first chapter of this dissertation identified the importance for determining the cultural c ontext and social norms of residents when designing a conservation strategy and introdu ced the context for the study. To answer the overarching research questions posed in Chapter 1, subsequent chapters are made up of individual papers with separate resear ch questions, theoretical framework s, and methods (Chapters 2, 3, and 4 ). The first paper (Chapter 2) uses ecological anthropology as a theoretical basis to analyze meat taste preferences (and investigate various factors for associations with taste prefere nce) in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua (RAAS). Taste preference is one aspect

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148 of local culture that is influenced by both the environment and social norms, including the adaptive relationships of Nicaraguan coastal communities and green turtles. A semi structured interview was administered to a sample of individuals from the predominately Creole population of Pearl Lagoon. The results of the questionnaire provide a view of the socio economic and d emographic composition of my sample and a general idea of available consumptive resources. The questionnaire also provided the means for creating a rank exercise used to evaluate taste preferences for available meats, which served as the basis for confirmi ng the continued preference among Pearl Lagoon residents for the taste of turtle meat. The second paper (Chapter 3 ) identifies participant experiences and perceptions using themes that emerged from a grounded theory ethnographic study. The central meanings Lagoon were: perceived lack of respect and support; corruption and human greed; lack of local trust ; authentic participatory constraints; and cultural identity linked to green turt le consumption These findings elucidate some of the many social challenges for conservation professionals working in rural regions of developing nations. P erceptions of community members rooted in the emergent themes and a history of corrupt leaders and dishonest extractive institutional presence in the region, include doubt in the true motives of the NGCO working in Pearl Lagoon to conserve sea turtles. If participant s feel an inability to influence regional decisions about conservation and resource mana gement (change in the community), they are more likely to withdraw from efforts completely and allow the resulting environmental deterioration. Therefore, it is recommended that the NGCO create an interdisciplinary team of researchers to design

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149 innovative conservation strategies that involve cultural knowledge and encourage authentic participation at some level. The final paper (Chapter 4) presents the results of cognitive tests supporting the theory that Pearl Lagoon residents have a fairly high degree of shared knowledge on the domain of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation The cultural consensus analyses (CCA) showed that knowledge is widely shared and indicated a single model of cultural agreement; this information is useful to stimulate discussion a mong stakeholders about sea turtle conservation and management needs, including capacity building efforts. R esidents do understand what it means to conserve natural resources and believe that it is important for Pearl Lagoon to protect/ conserve their natural resources. The shared belief that it is important to protect local natural resources indicates a n understanding of conservation benefits and the impact of extractive use on local resources. However, on the negative side, community me mber s do not think green turtles are endangered or in need of protection. Even though the IUCN classifies green turtles as globally endangered (2009), residents do not perceive this rarity locally. The implies that the NGCO might need to work on trust buil ding activities and authentic community engagement in their sea turtle conservation efforts if they want to promote the longevity and local support of the project. Conservation and Future Implications Residents of Pearl Lagoon, like other indigenous groups have acquired tastes for modernization and imported goods and abandoned most of their traditional technologies. Objectives to conserve local natural resources, including sea turtles, will not be met unless realistic management plans are devised and enfor ced, with the support of communities. Devising a management plan that is not only realistic, but that

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150 is also enforceable and accepted by fishermen will be a challenge in particular because of the differing notions on what constitutes nature and whether or not certain cultures are part of this natural world (Shepard 2002). These differing notions were illustrated during one of my participant interviews, when discussing whether sea turtles were endangered and in need of protectio n. The partici pant (G208) said, So as I undahstan it, endanger mean to be almos gone forevah, yes? An if the turkle is an endanger specie, dem is almos gone? Cause dem der turkle in our water, deys been here fah evah fatha and so on you s Cause maybe dem in de nort fish dem too much an have no more, but here we has plenty turkle. Maybe dem [conservation NGO] should be workin in dat area den, cause here we is fine. The attitude of the participa nt during the interview was not defiant or hostile; rather he was trying to make sense of new concepts and arguments that he saw as flawed based on very logical inconsistencies. It is important to note that the future of natural resource use and management in the Pearl Lagoon Basin also depends on the survival of sea turtles, since they are an integral part of the local culture and provide the primary source of protein for many communities on the Lagoon. If sea turtles were fished to near extinction, fisher men would have to target other species and alter not only the culture and traditional practices, but also the fragile ecosystem of the Basin. Importance of Study While this study has many obvious conservation based applications, its primary focus is stress ing the importance of learning cultural differences, rather than assuming the western priorities (e.g. conservation or management of natural resources, as opposed to consumptive use) are applicable in all settings. In the case of sea turtles, there may be an argument for conservation in many regional populations, however this

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151 paper does not assume that is the case in Caribbean Nicaragua. As mentioned in the introductory chapter, in the case of green turtles there are disparate views on whether nesting and f oraging green turtle populations are increasing or decreasing in the Caribbean and western Atlantic. According to the 2009 Red List assessment, the species is globally endangered; however, nesting populations in the Caribbean and western Atlantic have incr eased 13 66% (depending on linear or exponential projections) and 31,000 adult females are estimated to nest annually (Seminoff 2004; L. Campbell 2007). It is possible that if sea turtles were categorized regionally, rather than globally, the Caribbean pop ulation would not meet the criteria for an endangered listing. In order to form viable conservation solutions in regions where biodiversity is declining, the focus of initiatives needs to turn to influencing human behavior that is driving this loss. Metho ds from social science, like the theory of reasoned action, can provide valuable tools that are also useful in the field of conservation science; however, research needs a specific definition of the behavior of concern and must target specific attitudes re lated to this behavior to produce meaningful results. In the end, the overarching impacts of conservation agendas rest in the hands of cultural groups in any given society. Efforts to conserve wildlife and natural areas will only succeed if external conser vation organizations are willing to understand and work through cultural differences to create partnerships that enable community members and create a sense of local ownership. Although there are not set methods to do this (due to the heterogeneity of cult ures and communities), practical strategies need to be employed and when unsuccessful, NGOs need to quickly adapt initiatives. In Caribbean Nicaragua, sea turtle conservation has already reached some small gains as the result

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152 of hard work and partnerships between conservation professionals and community members ; however, there is still a long way to go and many more small gains needed to impact regional conservation attitudes and behaviors and to inform new national policies.

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153 APPENDIX INFORMED CONSEN T FORM Informed Consent Protocol Title : Interviews (as well as pile sorts and ranking activities) with participants regarding the sea turtle fishery and consumption of turtle meat in communities along the Atlantic Coast of Caribbean Nicaragua. Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this research is to : determine reasons why some people on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua eat turtle meat and other people do not; find out what turtle fishermen would be willing (and/or able) to do if they did not fish; and to find out what meat people in the region would be willing to eat (and what meats they like to eat the most) other than turtle. This study is part of m y doctoral dissertation research at the University of Florida which is like a monografa that college students in Nicaragua complete to graduate (only at a higher level) What you will be asked to do in the study: I would like to ask you some questions about the sea turtle fishery and about what meat you like to eat and why. You do not have to answer any of my questions if you do not want to. If you prefer, we can schedule the interview for another time or we can discuss my research now. Time require d: 60 90 minutes Risks and Benefits: There are no direct risks or benefits to you for participating in this study. However, I will share the results with your community and the municipal leaders to assist in the creation of new livelihoods and access t o meats other than sea turtle meat. Compensation: There is no compensation for participating in this study. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law in any report produced. However, reports created using the data from this research will be used in publications. You will receive a copy of the report produced for class at your request and a copy will be given to the municipality as well.

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154 Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at anytime without consequence. Whom to contact if you have any questions about the study: Dr. Raymond R. Ca rthy, professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and assistant leader of the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Florida. His address is: Dr. Raymond Carthy, University of Florida, Department of W ildlife Ecology and Conservation, P.O. Box 110430, Gainesville, Florida, 32611 (USA). His phone number is (352) 846 0545, and his e mail address is ngosi@ufl.edu Whom to contact about your rights as a research partic ipant in this study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611 2250 (USA); phone (352) 392 0433 Agreement: I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant Name: ________________________________________ Date: Verbal Agreement to participate: Principal Investigator: _____________________________________ Date:

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155 LIST OF REFERENCES Adams, W., and D. Hulme. 2001. Conservation and community: Changing narratives, policies and practices in African conservation. In : African wildlife and livelihoods: The promise and performance of community conservation (eds. Hulme, D. and M. Murphree). Oxford: James Currey. Pp. 9 23. Adams, W., R. Aveling, D. Brockington, B. Dickson, J. Elliott, J. Hutton, D. Roe, B. Vira, and W. Wolmer. 2004. Biodiversity conservation and the eradication of poverty. Science 306 (5699): 1146 9. Agrawal, A. and C. Gibson. 1999. Environment and dis enchantment: The role of community in natural resource management. World Development 27: 629 649. Alexander, S. 2000. Resident attitudes towards conservation and black howler monkeys in Belize: The community baboon sanctuary. Environmental Conservation 27(4): 341 350. choice by Piro hunters of Amazonian Peru. Human Ecology 21(4): 355 387. Apaza, L., D. Wilkie, E. Byron T. Huanca, W. Leonard, E. Perez, V. Reyes Garcia V. Vadez, and R. Godoy. 2002 Meat prices influence the consumption of wildlife by the Tsimane Amerindians of Bolivia. Oryx 36: 382 388. Arjunan, M., C. Holmes, J P. Puyravaud, and P. Davidar. 2006. Do developmental initiatives influence local attitudes toward conservation? A case study from the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, India. Journal of Environmental Management 79: 199 197. Atkinson, P. 1990. The ethnographic imagination: Textual constructions of reality London: Routledge. Beck, U. and Beck G ernsheim, E. 2002. Individualisation London: Sage Foundation Becker, P. 1993. Common pitfalls in published grounded theory research. Qualitative Health Research 3: 254 260. Beer, G. and S. Vanegas. 2007. Diagnstico para la Demarcacin de las doce comunidades Indgenas y Afrodescendientes de la cuenca de Pearl Lagoon Bluefields, Nicaragua: Universidad de las Regiones Autnomas de la Costa Caribe Nicaragense (URACCAN) y Instituto de Recursos Naturales, Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible (IREMAD ES). Behrens, C. 1992. Labor specialization and the formation of markets for food in a Shipibo subsistence economy. Human Ecology 20: 435 462.

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171 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH in and raised in Peoria, Illinois. She graduated from Peoria Notre Dame High School in 1997 and earned a Bachelors of Science degree in biology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2001 research experiences with sea turtles while in college led to positions after college working for sea turtle research prog rams at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort and the National Park Service, St. Croix. For 1 year beginning in the fall of 2001, she lived on the island of St. Croix, working as a marine advisor for the University of the Virgin Islands. Katy then bec ame the Director of Science Education for Environmental Media Corporation, a small company that designs, produces and distributes curriculum based media to support science and environmental education for both classrooms and communities. During the three ye ars working at Environmental Media, Katy was involved in the production of an award winning DVD with documentary videos and education content on marine turtles, with special focus on the loggerhead. While working at Environmental Media, Katy completed a ma Leadership at Thierry Graduate School in Brussels, Belgium, where she earned her Master of Arts in 2005. The same year, she began her doctoral studies in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, with a focus on Human Dimensions. During her studies at the University of Florida, Katy acted as both sole instructor and teaching assistant for courses including: Principles of Biological Sciences, Conservation Biology and Landscape Ecology. S he completed her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in the summer of 2011, with a concentration in Tropical Conservation and Development.