River of dissonance: exploring cognitive, valuative and structural influences on land management practices in a coupled human-fluvial system

Authors: Edgar Espinoza*, University of Costa Rica & Indiana University
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Behavioral Geography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: cognitive dissonance, land management, structural factors, coupled human-water systems, Costa Rica
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Regent, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Environmental behavioral research has for long focused on understanding how cognitive factors (i.e. attitudes, values, etc.) influence individual actions that determine environmental outcomes. However, attention to the structural context that mediates this relationship on the ground, under specific economic, institutional, and cultural conditions has been limited. Understanding this mediating role of these structural determinants is crucial, as it can considerably facilitate or constrain behaviors that can cumulatively have significant environmental impacts. Furthermore, the spatial dimensions of this interrelationship is a research void in need of development. Using mixed methods characteristic of human-environment geography, in the research presented here we explore this role of structural factors in the relationship between certain land manager cognitions and their reported productive practices that influence fluvial water quality and derived ecosystem services in a highly biodiverse but increasingly threatened tropical watershed in Costa Rica, recently designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. These relationships are further analyzed spatially, including their distribution, patterns and possible implications of this study for land use and environmental planning are discussed.

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