Fieldwork will be conducted to provide an empirically grounded, context-specific testing of the proposed RES framework.
It will be conducted to assess, together with a literature review:
- the current contribution of the local communities to the conservation of local ecosystem services;
- the level of awareness of the local communities of the (positive and/or negative) environmental implications of their practices;
- the perception of local communities’ responsibilities towards the local environment;
- local norms (bylaws, customary, recently established, religious) related to the local community’s relationship with the environment, and institutional ones in line/in contrast with them;
- the main challenges and difficulties faced by the communities in the implementation, conservation and evolution of their sustainable practices;
- the external support (recognition of rights, scientific support, funding, better liaison with institutions) perceived as necessary by the community in order to preserve its sustainable practices;
- potential willingness of the local communities to obtain certain new rights (to use certain areas or resources, to continue certain practices, to access certain places, etc) in exchange for responsibilities and duties towards the local environment (pest management, reporting violations, monitoring certain species, etc).
All participants, will be engaged in a process to obtain their Free Prior Informed Consent (see Ethical Assessment page).
Fieldwork will be conducted in small Sicilian and Scottish islands. Small islands, in fact, can provide great examples of local communities that have to cope with the realities of their lands and territories in the most sustainable way, according to traditional as well as innovative practices and expertise. Their greater vulnerability vis à vis environmental harm often makes island communities more conscious of and responsive to the limits of their territories and resources, and more in need of institutional support and recognition. In fact, ownership systems may respond to ancient practices which may foster or, on the contrary, inhibit island communities and may hence be in particular necessity of engaging in legal changes that enable their greater self-governance. Moreover, island communities may hold a greater power to influence, for the good or for the bad, their ecosystems, so being precious examples of the effects that striving to implement sustainable practices may have on the environment.