TitleSituated knowledge and fungal conservation
NameBarron, Elizabeth S. (author), Schroeder, Richard A. (chair), Emery, Marla R. (internal member), St. Martin, Kevin (internal member), Dighton, John (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionFungi are a mega-diverse group of organisms, currently estimated at 1.5 million species, yet their conservation has attracted little attention. Beginning in the mid-1980s in Europe, and the mid-1990s in the United States, fungal management and conservation discourses have developed noticeably in the last ten years. Reported declines in true morels (Morchella sp.) in the early 2000s raised concerns about overharvesting by visitors to national parks in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., where morel collecting is a popular and long-standing activity. In this dissertation, I explore this confluence of events, and ask: why is the conservation of this mega-diverse group of organisms emerging now, how is this happening, and what are the effects? Drawing on critical and poststructural perspectives on discourse and knowledge, I examine the ways in which fungal conservation emulates existing conservation discourses based on expert knowledge, state regulated land management, and capital investment. Like other biological scientists, mycologists emphasize biodiversity protection, data accumulation, and regulations for conservation and sustainable exploitation of fungal resources. Data on current and emerging fungal conservation discourses were collected using a mixed methods approach, including interviews with stakeholders and participant observation at three mycological meetings. Ecological knowledge, opinions, and relationships among mycologists, managers and long-term harvesters, vis-à-vis management and conservation, were examined. Finally, an ecological assessment based on harvester ecological knowledge demonstrates the integration of different methodological approaches. Shifting from studying accumulated scientific knowledge to examining the ways and places in which scientists create such knowledge emphasizes the practice of knowledge production. Managers and harvesters also produce knowledge and practices relevant for conservation. Participants’ biological and ecological knowledge is the epistemological foundation for their approach to fungal conservation; and these emerging “models” seem to diverge based on stakeholder group membership. However, further analysis shows that some stakeholders share concerns regarding conservation that are consistent with a specific logic, rather than with their group identity. These processes of analysis and documentation acknowledge and disrupt uniform truth regimes, giving voice to those that have been traditionally absent or marginalized in the formal protection and preservation of their own environments.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Elizabeth S. Barron
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.