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WHAT ARE YOU RESEARCHING AT THE MOMENT?
I am currently researching land use around Macraes and the mine. Funded by OceanaGold, [the research] is a discourse analysis of stakeholders to understand some of the key tensions around biodiversity and land use in the area.
WHY DOES THAT INTEREST YOU?
First, because I am interested in adopting different approaches to understand "stakeholders" that doesn't involve pigeon-holing them based on their association.
A discourse analysis means I look at meanings and ways that people construct knowledge. Second, I am interested in understanding how positions develop around tensions over the natural environment - particularly to see how different meanings become accepted and adopted.
WHAT ACTIONS MIGHT IT INDICATE?
That we need to look at how and what we value in relation to land-use, including building collaborative engagements that recognise multiple knowledges and interpretations of managing land for value.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
The bigger picture is that our biodiversity has been lost at an alarming rate, and we need to think about creative ways to integrate different meanings of value and biodiversity.
Associate Prof Sara Walton is the director of the master of sustainable business programme at the University of Otago and co-ordinator of the Otago Climate Change Network.