The environmental and socio-political stakes of counting users within protected natural areas: an interdisciplinary study using interval photography

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Cécilia Claeys

Abstract

This article offers a reflexive presentation of an interdisciplinary case study involving environmental sociology and marine biology. The creation of the Calanques National Park (April 2012), next to Marseille, the second largest city in France, has fuelled debate over the increasing impact of widespread leisure activities on the conservation of biodiversity. Given this, our research programme has developed visual interdisciplinary methods and critically analysed the notion of overuse. This paper presents a case study of Sormiou Bay, a natural anchorage site whose seabed is covered in a meadow of protected seagrass, Posidonia oceanica. Our research involved qualitative and quantitative field surveys and interval photography over a 19-month period, as well as the use of historical aerial photographs. Three main findings are presented here. First, our analysis reveals that a gap exists between actual and perceived levels of use, and this is exacerbated by a scale effect. Secondly, we point out the social and cultural factors, as well as the political context underpinning users’ discourse regarding (over)use of the Calanques. Lastly, we underscore the gap between the environmental awareness of boaters, their actual behaviour and their impact on Posidonia oceanica meadows.

Article Details

How to Cite
Claeys, C. (2018). The environmental and socio-political stakes of counting users within protected natural areas: an interdisciplinary study using interval photography. Visual Methodologies, 5(2), 8 - 20. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/vm/index.php/vm/article/view/96
Section
Special Issue: Environmental (In)visibilities (Guest Editor: Valentina Anzoise)

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