Inscribing Profanity: ethnic derogation in a US toponym; distribution of the word ‘nigger’ on the landscape of the U.S.

Inscribing Profanity: ethnic derogation in a US toponym; distribution of the word ‘nigger’ on the landscape of the U.S.

 

Purpose

 

The purpose of this research is to investigate the spatial distribution of one toponym in the United States. A media frenzy followed the discovery of the Texas governor’s property possessing the name “Niggerhead,” prompting the project (Severson 2011). This study provides a map of the overall distribution of the use of the term ‘nigger’ in American historical toponymy, along with some examination and analysis of the spatial distribution illustrated on the map.

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Understanding landscape changes in elephant habitat within the Kruger National Park through NASA earth observing systems

Understanding landscape changes in elephant habitat within the Kruger National Park through NASA earth observing systems

 

 

 

 

 

Andrea Presotto1, Christine Brady1, Ashley Dupont1, Kirstin Valdes1, Richard Fayrer-Hosken2, Marguerite Madden1

 

1University of Georgia, 2San Diego Zoo

 

 

Introduction

Kruger National Park (KNP) is located in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, South Africa, and covers approximately 20,720 km2 (Dennis, 2000).  It is one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries and is home to a diversity of species. The park is largely maintained by tourist activities which are popular due to the excellent viewing experiences that the park offers (Dennis, 2000).

Studies on vegetation structure, species, and succession from woodland to grassland habitat have been conducted in Kruger since the 1970s (Laws, 1970; Vanak, 2012). These studies suggest that African elephants are part of the cause of habitat transformation, and may be as destructive as wildfire (Buss, 1961; Owen-Smith et al., 2006; Ludwig et al., 2008; Young et al., 2009; Boundja and Midgley, 2009; Vanak, 2012). With the widespread opinion that elephants are the problem, they become labeled as a species that causes impact on its environment due to its compression into protected areas (Sukumar, 2003; Ludwig et al., 2008; Vanak et al., 2012). Moreover, a number of publications reported actions of elephants stripping bark and branches off trees, which do not match species-specific behavior (Sukumar, 2003). Male elephants, also known as bulls, have been observed pushing over trees with no intention of using them for feeding. This has been described as an aggressive behavior from which most trees are unable to recover. Although not performed by all bulls (Fayrer-Hosken, personal communication), this male specific behavior is thought to be a contributing factor to the temporal decline in tree density within the park.

This study quantified land cover changes from 1998 to 2013, with a prediction that African elephants alone, are not capable of producing the extensive changes in vegetation physiognomies that would convert woodland to grassland. Other contributing influences such as fire and climate change factors may also contribute for landscape change through the suppression of growth of new trees. In order to perform our analysis we used Landsat imagery, and GPS data points. Our study area, within 260 hectares, is located within KNP, South Africa, and was defined by the spatial extent of GPS data points collected from four collared females that were extrapolated using a minimum convex polygon method.

 

 

 

 

 

The types of vegetation in the study area include open savanna grassland on basalt, wooded savanna on shale, mixed woodland and thorn thickets, and mixed thorn and marula. The time series analysis of land cover aimed to show changes over the past 16 years within the following classes: woodland, grassland, mixed vegetation, bare soil, and water. Object-based classification method was used in order to produce a time series of land cover from Landsat images.

Method

Data Sets

Imagery was acquired from Landsat 5, 7, and 8 for the years 1998, 2006, and 2013, respectively, (path 168, row 77) from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Earth Explorer, and GLOVIS database. The images were captured during the transition between the dry and wet season (August-November) to avoid cloud cover. The images were radiometric corrected using ENVI FLAASH (MODTRAN). Vegetation physiognomies were classified using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The NDVI was used to enhance the variation in vegetation using bands 3 and 4 in Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 images and bands 4 and 5 in Landsat 8 images. Additionally, a set of geographic points acquired from GPS collars attached to four female elephants within Kruger National Park were obtained from the project partner, Dr. Richard Fayrer-Hosken. These data were gathered in the wet season from 1998-1999 (September-February). The area inhabited by the elephant group was extrapolated as the extent of our study area using the minimum convex polygon method.

Classification Methods

All Landsat images underwent object-based classification in order to identify five categories of land cover: grassland, mixed vegetation, woodland, bare soil, and water. The segmentation and classification of the object-based classification was performed using IDRISI Selva, and eCognition software based on maximum likelihood algorithm.

The process of IDRISI segmentation and eCognition was similar. The process of segmenting the images into objects considered four parameters: scale, color, texture and form. The scale parameter is influenced by the heterogeneity of the pixels within objects, while the color and texture parameters balance the homogeneity of a segment’s color with the homogeneity of its texture. The form parameter is a balance between the smoothness of a segment’s border and its compactness. Different scale parameters were used for each data set due to differences in image quality. For Landsat 5 and 7 images, the scale parameter was 15, and the color parameter 0.5, for both object-based software packages. However, Landsat 8 images segmented very well using a scale parameter of 25 and color parameter of 0.35.

Class rules were developed using spectral signatures, color, and texture and nearest neighborhood classifier was used to categorize query points based on their distance to points in a training area. In eCognition, the nearest neighbor classifier was automatically generated based on sample objects and resulted in a supervised classification using fuzzy classifier rules that return probabilities of class membership.

After classification, the image and classified data sets were exported as GeoTiff files and input to ArcGIS. Each image and land cover map was cropped to the study area (262.1 hectares) using the Spatial Analyst tool (ArcMap 10.1). The proportion of land cover per class was calculated using the object size of the study area. Statistical analyses were performed in order to determine statistical significance between years. We used analysis of variance (ANOVA) to the results across each data set. We also used Mann-Whitney, and Student’s t-test to compare 1998 and 2013 results. Raw numbers of land cover were tested using SigmaPlot at 95% confidence interval.

Results

Time series results show that there is not a significant statistical difference between vegetation changes in the last sixteen years within the area occupied by elephants. Final classification maps show that object based methods present acceptable results for land cover classes using Landsat.

The object-based classification revealed low variation between the data sets and depicted an overall increase in grassland habitat. Using object based classification for Landsat imagery in specific areas like that of savanna, it is necessary to test band combination, NDVI, and scale parameters to find the desirable results. Resolution quality and object type (e.g., type of features being classified) are also important factors. For instance, in urban environments segmentations of well-defined objects such as highways and large buildings using Landsat can be effective using a scale parameter of 25. Vegetation boundaries with transition zones may require smaller scale parameters. Although differences were observed on land cover, statistical analysis revealed they are not significant.

Actual characteristics of the vegetation structure in our study area

The eCognition software classification results displayed a consistent response in land cover classification from 1998 to 2013. eCognition showed a small decline in the percent of woodland habitat followed by increases in both grassland and mixed vegetation habitats. This may result from woodland degradation followed by successional recovery in the study area.

An independent Student’s t-test was conducted for the three classes of vegetation in 1998 and 2013: woodland, mixed vegetation, and grassland. The independent variable was normally distributed (p=0.235). Assuming the normality, the t-test resulted in no statistic significant difference (t(4) -1.213, p=0.292).

Conclusion

Results of this study can be used to investigate the potential impacts of the elephants in KNP on vegetation in the study area over the last 16 years. The classification showed that land cover changes between 1998 and 2013 were not significant regarding to changes in vegetation structure. The hypothesis that elephants inhabiting an area of KNP for 16 years cause significant loss of woodland to grassland was not confirmed. While not statistically significant, results indicated an increase in mixed vegetation and grassland, and a decrease in woodland.

Changes in vegetation structure are occurring in KNP. Yet, whether the elephant population is responsible for the change remains unclear. Ecosystems change naturally over time, and the fact that intentional fires is used year around in a fenced park, may accelerate the natural process of landscape change. Without further conclusive studies, it cannot be assumed that African elephants are the main cause of woodland degradation within KNP.

Spatial and temporal drivers of stormflow in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

The Southern Blue Ridge Mountains (SBRM) provide water to millions of people in the eastern United States.  Recent research in the Upper Little Tennessee valley found the land cover of relatively small portions of a watershed can be an important variable controlling the amount of baseflow discharged from a basin (Price et al., 2011).  Price et al. (2011) found that watersheds with higher forest cover are positively correlated with higher base flows while pasture and developed lands were found to be negatively correlated with base flow.  The conversion of forest into pasture or developed land decreases the infiltration rate of soils, minimizing storage of precipitation and quickly routing storm flow to channels (Price et al., 2010).

Additionally, increasing exurbanization in the heavily forested SBRM also affects the quality and quantity of water supplied by the region (Simmons, 1993, Price and Leigh, 2006; Price et al., 2011; Webster et al., 2012).  Population forecasts suggest that many exurban-sized developments will grow to suburban or urban densities within the next twenty years, and up to 67% of new buildings will be built within forested areas (Kirk et al., 2012).  Webster et al. (2012) found that land cover had a significant impact on the turbidity of streams in the region, increasing where cattle erode stream banks and where construction supplied easily erodible sediment.  The specific influence land cover has on stormflow creation and propagation is often difficult to determine due to natural climatic fluctuations and the lack of long term, basin-scale hydrologic analysis.

The purpose of this research was to 1) determine the relationship between climate, geomorphology, land cover, and hydrology in the SBRM, and 2) determine if periods of wetness or drought influence this relationship.  It was hypothesized that traditional land use (i.e. pasturing) and low to moderate amounts of development in the relatively flat valley bottoms create conditions that favor runoff over infiltration, increasing the importance of stormflow over base flow.  It was also hypothesized that the relationship between stormflow and bottomland land cover would be more significant during periods of drought when infiltration rates are not exceeded in forested land.  To determine if land cover influences flooding in the SBRM, geomorphic, climate, and land cover datasets were compiled and statistical models were developed to explain the variance in three hydrologic indices that measure peak flashiness, total flashiness and total runoff.

Hydrologic data came from 15 USGS-gaged watersheds that lacked large impoundments and had at least 30 years of near-continuous data.  This study focused on the winter months, here defined as December through March, due to the often spatially and temporally discontinuous impact tropical storms have on the region during late summer.  The main flood generating mechanism during the winter is frontal systems that have a relatively uniform impact on the region during winter. Both the 15-minute instantaneous discharge and daily average discharge datasets were used in this analysis.  Baseflow separation was achieved following the methods of Lyne and Hollick (1979).

The three hydrologic variables used in this analysis were: (1) the ratio between seasonal maximum daily average discharge and the corresponding 15-minute daily maximum discharge (D15P) which is a measure of peak flashiness; (2) the Richards Baker index (RBi), which is calculated by dividing the sum of the absolute value of change by the total amount of discharge during that period (Richards et al., 2000) and is a measure of total flashiness; and (3) the ratio between the total amount of stormflow and the total amount of flow, the stormflow index (Sfi) which is a measure of total runoff. Ratios were used to normalize the hydrologic variables so that drainage area could be used as an independent variable.

The geomorphic variables used to characterize the watersheds were chosen from the literature and represent the variables that were most often cited to influence baseflow and/or peak flow.  Parent material (alluvium, colluvium, and residuum) were derived from the SSURGO soils database (NRCS, 2013) and modified to normalize the data at the county and state-level.  Land cover data for the years 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, and 2006 were obtained from the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program (Hepinstall-Cymermann, 2006).  Linear extrapolation was used to extend the record to cover the entire period of 1986 to 2006.  Total watershed land cover as well as alluvial/colluvial (AC) and residuum (R) zone land cover were calculated to determine whether the spatial distribution of land cover is important.

Due to a paucity of long-term climate stations in the region, monthly PRISM (parameter-elevation relationships on independent slopes model) data from the Oregon Climate Group were used to get seasonal estimates of precipitation for the region.  Monthly estimates of precipitation were determined by taking an area-weighted average of the 4km dataset.  The months of and prior to seasonal peak discharge were determined and also included as climate variables.  Wet years vs. dry years were determined by averaging the z-scores of total seasonal precipitation from the 15 sites.  Wet years were defined as years with a z-score > 0.5 and dry years had a score < -0.5.  Average years had scores between -0.5 and 0.5.

Forward step-wise regression was used to create models to explain the variance in the three hydrologic variables, determine the relative influence of the climatic, geomorphic, and land cover variables, and to determine whether these relationships change during average, dry, and wet years.  Twelve models were created by separately analyzing: all years (n=297), average years (n=84), dry years (n=114), and wet years (n=84).  The dependent variables were log10 transformed to create normal distributions prior to analysis.  All 42 climatic, geomorphic, and land cover variables were introduced to the models; at each step, correlated variables (|r| > 0.7) were thrown out so that covariance would not be introduced into the final models.  Though the number of observations was large, models were constrained to two variables because there were only 15 unique watersheds in the analysis.

The results indicate that geomorphology is driving all three of the hydrologic indices.  The majority of the variance in D15P and RBi was explain by the Melton ruggedness ratio (r2 ranging from 0.42-0.45 and 0.24-0.34); which is calculated dividing basin relief by the square root of drainage area).  The one D15P  model that doesn’t include MRR is the dry year model which is explained by the standard deviation of the topographic index (r2 = 0.48); calculated by taking the natural log of drainage area divided by the tangent of slope.  In all four of the Sfi models, average watershed slope explained the most variance (r2 ranging from 0.19-0.40).

Five of the models also had a geomorphic variable as the second variable to enter the model.  Drainage shape (drainage area divided by basin length squared) is the second variable to enter the all, average, and wet year model for D15P (r2 = 0.06-0.08).  The standard deviation of slope is the second variable in the average and wet year models for RBi (r2 = 0.13 and 0.06).

A land cover variable is the second variable in four of the models.  The second variable in all three of the dry year model is a land cover variable: alluvial/colluvial zone (AC) development for D15P (r2 = 0.08); AC road coverage for RBi (r2 = 0.08); and AC grassland for Sfi (r2 = 0.06).  Development on residuum, where the majority of exurbanization is located, explained the second most variance in the average year model for Sfi (r2 = 0.12).  The second variable in the remaining three models was a climatic variable.  Total seasonal precipitation was the second variable in the all year model for both RBi and Sfi (r2 = 0.22 and 0.20) and month of peak discharge precipitation was the second variable in the wet year model for Sfi (r2 = 0.12).

The models generally agree with the literature, variations in the geomorphology of the study basins can explain the majority of the variance in flashiness and total runoff.  Climatic variables are only in three of the twelve models.  This could be due to the coarse resolution of the climate data coupled with a lack of understanding of the intensity of the rainfall that leads to the stormflow events.  While the dry year Sfi model explained only a small amount of variance (r2 = 0.25), the importance of AC grassland agrees with Price et al. (2011) that pastures can create conditions that favor runoff  (stormflow) over infiltration (baseflow).  Though only a relatively small amount of even the most developed watershed is covered by impervious surfaces (~10%), impervious still is influential in the SBRM.

Due to the large range in precipitation between wet and dry years, climate is the main driver outside of geomorphology when trying to explain the variance across all the years of analysis.  This analysis shows that the hydrology of the SBRM is just as variable as one would expect but by comparing similar climatic periods and by separating land cover into spatially defined units, the actual variables driving the timing and quantity of water discharged by the SBRM can begin to become unraveled.

Point Pleasant, West Virginia: Negotiated Place Identity on a Tourism Landscape

Introduction

This paper focuses upon the tourism efforts in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, a small town located at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. I maintain that Point Pleasant serves as an unusual case study because, without a single dominant tourism focus, it is in the process of coordinating efforts in the areas of heritage tourism, paranormal tourism and dark tourism simultaneously.

Point Pleasant: a Most Unusual Place
With a total population of fewer than 5,000 residents, Point Pleasant is unusual in several respects. First, in terms of physical geography, it is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Kanawha and the Ohio. Second, although many small towns in West Virginia promote their roles in the state’s history, Point Pleasant identifies most with the era of the nation’s founding rather than the more typical associations with the Civil War. Third, it is the location where two highly unusual events occurred that were covered in the national media. Between 1966 and 1967 there were numerous alleged sightings of a creature dubbed the “Mothman.” The events surrounding these sightings were the subject of the 2002 film, “The Mothman Prophesies,” which starred Richard Geer. The other event was the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge on December of 1967 which claimed over 40 lives in rush hour traffic during the holiday season.

Point Pleasant: A Heritage Tourism Destination
The current marketing of Point Pleasant as a heritage tourism site relies upon claims of historical authenticity in relation to the American Revolution. However, in 1909, state historian Virgil A. Lewis challenged the historical basis of such a claim as “manufactured history.” Any such controversy is absent from my conversations with Charles Humphries, Director of Mason County Development Authority. Humphries, in his late sixties, has the manners of a southern gentlemen and an ever-present twinkle in his eye when he describes his efforts to foster heritage tourism in Point Pleasant. Although he notes that the funding for the waterfront park was obtained prior to his arrival, it was the commissioning of huge murals for the town’s flood wall along the waterfront that situated the town historically for visitors. The commissioning of the murals promoted a local dialogue – in this case between historians, local people and Native Americans.

At the end of the flood wall is the beginning of Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, located at the point of the confluence. As mentioned earlier, the state park sports a federally funded monument dedicated to the militia men who died in the Battle of Point Pleasant. The park also serves as the burial site of Chief Cornstalk who was murdered at For Randolph after the battle and of “Mad” Anne Bailey. Chief Cornstalk’s monument is noticeably smaller and more peripheral compared to the larger and more centrally- located obelisk that honors the militia. The obelisk at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park reflects the late 19th century fad for monuments signifying events relating to American Independence (Corrales-Diaz 2013). Although the historical contextualization of the Battle at Point Pleasant is contested, the form of the monument situates the event symbolically in terms of traditions of national reverence and physically in terms of its central location within the park.

Point Pleasant: Paranormal Tourism Destination
In the period between November 1966 and December 1967 there were numerous local sightings of a creature that was dubbed the “Mothman” by the local press. In various accounts, the creature was described as standing erect and having glowing red eyes. Initial sightings occurred at a 3655-acre area known locally as the “TNT Area”. The site was used during World War II for the production of munitions which were stored in semi-covered concrete “igloos” intended to be invisible to enemy aircraft. The area is now a federally-owned recreational area officially known as the McClintik Wildlife Area.

Paranormal investigator John Keel visited Point Pleasant after the initial Mothman sightings. Five years later, he published The Mothman Prophesies which drew national attention to the Point Pleasant Mothman. Keel’s notoriety in relation to Point Pleasant was cemented in The Mothman Prophesies (2002), a major motion picture starring Richard Geer. Although the film is only loosely based on Keel’s book (and was filmed, not in Point Pleasant, but in Kittanning, Pennsylvania) it situated the Mothman and Point Pleasant in the context of mass popular culture.

Shortly after the film’s release, a local business owner saw an opportunity to capitalize on the film to promote tourism in Point Pleasant. Jeff Wamsley was the owner of several struggling record stores before he established the Mothman Museum in a store front on Main Street. Wamsley anticipated a major tourism boom as a result of the film.

The “boom” which Wamsley anticipated is part of a broader trend of “people travelling to destinations to recapture the distinctive sense of place portrayed on screen” (Alderman, Benjamin and Schneider 2012, p 13). The entrance to Jeff Wamsley’s Mothman Museum has a distinctly geographical twist. Mounted on the wall are two maps – one of the United States and the other of the world – with many pushpins indicating where visitors to the museum come from. The museum has a low-tech, grassroots and folksy ambience. In addition to offering the displays in his museum, Jeff also takes visitors on the Mothman Bus Tour which extends the range of a “Mothman Trail” by presenting a variety of places that are located several miles from downtown Point Pleasant.

With the increasing flow of tourists to Point Pleasant, Jeff and other local leaders decided to establish an annual “Mothman Festival” – a carnivalesque outdoor event downtown that features vendors, guest speakers and, even, a “Mothman Beauty Pageant.” Over the past 14 years, the festival has grown from a few card tables on the street to a major event that attracts, I was told, over 5,000 visitors.

A Mothman statue was installed on a small island in downtown Point Pleasant that had hosted a small war memorial for many years. While the focus on the Mothman is controversial among local residents, it is specifically offered to visitors for the purpose of generating revenue from tourism. Denny Bellamy explains that he is frequently asked whether he “believes” in the Mothman or not. His good-natured reply is:
I tell them, “I’ve never seen the Mothman, but I have seen Mothman money and we all believe in that!

Point Pleasant: Destination of Memory and Dark Tourism
On December 15, 1967 the “Silver Bridge” that connected Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio collapsed at rush hour. The tragedy left more than 40 people dead and tons of debris in the Ohio River. Although hardly a typical tourist attraction, the event can be viewed in terms of “Dark Tourism” in which tourists deliberately set out to experience a location of mass violence or tragedy (White and Frew 2013). When the replacement bridge was constructed in 1969, it was located enough south of the downtown area to completely bypass downtown Point Pleasant. While a contemporary visitor to the town might not see any evidence of the event as they drive across the new Silver Memorial Bridge, the downtown street that used to lead onto the Silver Bridge now dead-ends at the flood wall.

In addition to the physical juxtaposition of three Silver Bridge memorial markers with downtown sites, the tragedy also intersects with discourses of local heritage and, also, of the Mothman. For example, while the cause of the bridge collapse has been explained in terms of engineering, some have linked the collapse to Chief Cornstalk. Popular legend contends that Cornstalk placed a curse upon Fort Randolph (then located at Point Pleasant) at the time of his murder. Furthermore, there were alleged sightings of the Mothman on or around the bridge prior to its collapse. The storyline of the The Mothman Prophesies suggests that the Mothman sightings ceased after the bridge collapse.

Summary and Implications
By examining the geographical implications of tourism in Point Pleasant, West Virginia several conclusions may be drawn. While the local community leaders have no control over the town’s past — its colonial history, its paranormal events or its tragedy, they are exercising influence over the ways in which those events are contextualized. In an era of increasing competition for limited resources, the leaders of Point Pleasant show considerable versatility in their approach to tourism development. Beyond a focus on geographies of tourism, Point Pleasant serves as a vivid case study reflective of the longstanding geographical interest in how landscapes are the products of negotiated and situated discourses. Local tourism projects can manifest in changes in place perception and provide opportunities for residents and outsiders alike to re-imagine Point Pleasant and the state of West Virginia as a whole. This opportunity is especially significant given the history of negative media coverage and the dire images of Appalachia widely circulated during the “War on Poverty” of the 1960s.

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EXPLAINING HUMAN/WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS IN FLORIDA EXURBS: A SPATIAL ANALYSIS OF FLORIDA BLACK BEAR RANGE, EXURBAN DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS, AND SAW PALMETTO BERRY HABITAT

Planning for wildlife conservation is increasingly challenging in Florida as the state continues to grow in population and associated demands for housing and services such as roads and utilities (Meindl 2011). Florida economic growth is predicated on an increase in population, yet municipalities are increasingly challenged to find spaces for development within their boundaries, forcing municipal boundaries ever further, often resulting in sprawl and the conversion of rural lands to suburbs and exurbs. As communities grow, natural areas are increasingly squeezed to provide enough shelter, food, and habitat for wildlife to live in and move through.

 

Conservation biologists increasingly plan at the landscape scale to accommodate ‘umbrella’ species such as the Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus)(Hoctor et al. 2000). Planning at large scales, such as creating a wildlife corridor from the Florida Keys to Georgia (ibid), allows species both large and small the space they need to exist, while also creating migration pathways to support wildlife adaption to expected climate change effects, sea level rise, and more (Hoctor et al. 2008). Land-use changes over time mean that these large planned conservation areas will include or abut suburban and rural communities, resulting in increased human encounters with wildlife. Further, conservation efforts increasingly rely on private land-owners to manage their lands for conservation, providing easements and tax relief as incentive (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2012a). Though these strategies may be beneficial for both landowners and wildlife, seldom do blocks of large landowners all put their land into conservation, and this can result in a patchwork of protected and unprotected lands.

 

Unprotected private lands in rural Florida are at risk of conversion from agriculture, ranching, and other uses to development as population growth in the state increases demand for land (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2012a). Florida black bears and many other species use the saw palmetto plant (Serenoa repens) for denning, protection, and as a seasonal source of food (Maehr and Layne 1996, Duiver 2011). Increasing development in rural areas can lead to an increase in conflict between humans and wildlife, especially in areas where large ‘umbrella’ species such as black bears, have primary and secondary ranges that include saw palmetto habitat.

 

Florida is the primary source of saw palmetto berries for the domestic and international market, worth an estimated $700 million dollars a year (Moerck 2010). Though many berries are sourced from private landowners through access leases, an unknown amount is sourced from public and private lands outside those leases through an informal cash-based market (Bennett and Hicklin 1998). Berry harvesters are at risk of encountering bears if they pick within bear ranges, while some conservationists claim this activity could reduce the amount of a preferred seasonal food available to bears (Duiver 2011). Whether there is an impact on bears has not been determined but is a concern for conservationists (Duiver 2011). Increased exurban development in rural areas reduces saw palmetto habitat and the amount of berries available to the industry and for wildlife use.

 

I use 311 Florida black bear calls to map spaces of potential overlap between bears, preferred bear habitats, and people in exurban and rural central Florida living within primary or secondary bear ranges using publicly available spatial data. Analysis using basic GIS is shown in comparison with Getis-Ord Gi* analysis to be a reliable method of identifying these areas, thus providing an understanding the effects of siting development in wildlife ranges on both human activities and wildlife. Results from Getis-Ord General G statistic and Getis-Ord Gi* statistics vary depending on the scale used, with local results providing a great deal of information for policy makers and planners toward understanding their place within a larger regional and state-wide context of urban development and wildlife conservation.

 

Bear call data was analyzed to determine where exurban, suburban, and rural residents living within bear primary and secondary ranges are likely to have an encounter with a Florida black bear. Three assumptions were made: 1) Bears avoid busy roads, such as main arteries, when possible (Guthrie 2012). 2) Bears leave their primary ranges at times to search for shelter, food, water, and mates (Guthrie 2012). 3) Bears prefer to avoid human settlements when possible (Guthrie 2012).

 

Nine sub-populations of Florida black bear primary and secondary ranges were mapped. These populations are spatially isolated, a primary reason why conservation biologists are seeking to connect them through a landscape-scale corridor, with the Glades-Highland area a key node (Guthrie 2012). This sub-population is the most fragmented for conservation lands within bear habitat area and is vulnerable to increased development (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 2012a). Bear nuisance calls dating from 1980-2012 were used to obtain information on the bear’s location, date spotted, and activity, such as ‘in garbage’, ‘in yard’, ‘dead’, ‘in apiary’ etc. This data was disaggregated to identify calls during berry season (August through October) and outside of berry season at the state, Ocala, and Highland-Glades subpopulation levels to distinguish saw palmetto berry season bear reports from non-seasonal reports as wildlife biologists have noted that during berry season bears will travel further and travel outside of primary range to access this food source (Maehr and Layne 1996). Disaggregating the data and analyzing these separately for hotspots allows differential scaled patterns to emerge. Saw palmetto habitat was identified from the FNAI cooperative land cover data set as identified within class definitions.

 

The General G statistic was calculated to examine overall patterns of black bear 311 calls and their distribution (Getis and Ord 1992; Ord and Getis 1995a;1995b; Fisher and Getis 2010). The raw data points were aggregated into counts through the Integrate and Collect Events functions using a threshold distance of 5,000 meters (this is approximately three times the expected mean distance between calls as calculated by the Average Nearest Neighbor tool in ArcGIS 10.1). Hotspot analysis with rendering based on the Getis-Ord Gi* statistic was done to identify areas of high volume call clusters. Several clusters were investigated in-depth using Google Earth to identify bear locations, distance to resources, and obstacles in bear path-ways.

 

Results at both the state and two local case study scales suggest several important connections between Florida black bears, saw palmetto habitat and harvesters, and exurban and rural inhabitants. First, bears are opportunistic and will forage in garbage even if a preferred food source is available, correlating with Merkle et als. (2013) findings in Montana. Second, it is unlikely that saw palmetto berry harvesters harvesting within 100 meters of roads (preferred harvest area) could reduce the amount of berries available to the point bears would have to enter exurbs and suburbs to forage for food. Third, exurban development into bear habitat and primary range is likely to be the primary reason for conflict between bears and humans. One solution entails planning for bear micro-corridors at the local scale before developments are approved by local planning agencies.

 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 2012. Florida black bear management plan. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida, 215 p.

 

Getis, A. and J.K. Ord. 1992. The Analysis of Spatial Association by Use of Distance Statistics, Geographical Analysis 24(3), 189–206.

 

Guthrie, J.M. 2012. Modeling Movement Behavior and Road Crossing in the Black Bear of South Central Florida. University of Kentucky. Theses and Dissertations–Forestry.Paper 2. Accessed January 2014 at http://uknowledge.uky.edu/forestry_etds/2

 

Fischer, M.M, and Getis, A. 2010. Handbook of Applied Spatial Analysis: Software Tools, Methods and Applications. Springer-Verlag: Berlin, Heidelberg.

Maehr, D.S. and J.N. Layne. 1996. Florida’s All Purpose Plant: The Saw Palmetto. The Palmetto. Fall 16(4) 6-16.

 

Hoctor, T. S., M. Carr, and P. Zwick. 2000. Identifying a linked reserve system using a regional landscape approach: the Florida ecological network. Conservation Biology 14(4): 984-1000.

Hoctor, T. S., W. L. Allen, III, M. H. Carr, P. D. Zwick, E. Huntley, D. J. Smith, D. S. Maehr, R. Buch, and R. Hilsenbeck. 2008. Land corridors in the Southeast USA: connectivity to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services. Journal of Conservation Planning 4:90-122.

Maehr, D.S. and J.N. Layne. 1996. Florida’s All Purpose Plant: The Saw Palmetto. The Palmetto. Fall 16(4) 6-16.

 

Meindl, C.F. 2011. “Water, Water, Everywhere? Toward a Critical Water Geography of the South.” Southeastern Geographer. 51 (4): 615-640.

 

Ord, J.K. and A. Getis. 1995a. Local Spatial Autocorrelation Statistics: Distributional Issues and an Application, Geographical Analysis 27(4), 286–306.

 

Ord, J.K. and A. Getis. 1995b. Local spatial statistics: An overview. In: P. Lomgley and M. Batty (eds.) Spatial Analysis: Modelling in a GIS Environment. GeoInformation International, Cambridge, 261-277.

 

Unnasch, R.S. and J.W. Karl. 2013. Scale and Conservation Planning. In Craighead, F. L. and C.L. Convis Jr.(Eds.) 2013. Conservation Planning: Shaping the Future. ESRI Press: Redwoods, California.

 

Counter narratives in the Deep South: Glimpses of empathy in the memory of slavery

Introduction and Background

 

Over the last decade, geographers have become interested in studying how the historical system of slavery in the United States is (mis)remembered or repressed in subjugation to other historical themes. From museums and plantation tours to roadside markers and street names, the institution of slavery has become embedded in the cultural landscape, albeit unevenly. This is particularly noticeable in the “Deep South” states where labor-intensive cotton or sugar cane plantations once required vast numbers of slaves to economically succeed. Plantation museums today function as tourist sites all over the Southeast, but as Carter, Butler, and Alderman (2014) argue, these sites traditionally have not spent much time or effort discussing the history of slavery on their tours. While slavery is presented at museums and other historical sites in many ways, Eichstedt and Small (2002) found that many plantation museums employ various strategies to prevent a complete and socially just version of history from being shown. Rather than inclusion as part of the dominant narrative of historical life on the plantation, slavery is often relegated to optional tours beyond the “Big House,” if it is mentioned at all.

 

 

 

However, some sites attempt to challenge what Modlin (2008) identified as a series of myths that are present in plantation tours. This paper is based on fieldwork conducted in August 2014 to explore sites that counter or challenge the whitewashing of slavery from the cultural landscape in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The three sites I highlight from the fieldwork are the Natchez (Mississippi) Museum of African-American History and Culture, the Frogmore Cotton Plantation and Gins (Frogmore, Louisiana), and the River Road African American Museum (Donaldsonville, Louisiana). The counter narratives employed at these sites engage museum visitors in moments of empathy with the enslaved and work to preserve the factual history of the harsh realities that millions of people forced into slavery faced. The potential for museums and other sites of memory to stimulate empathy might appear to be something assumed or expected, but it is a theme that has received limited attention among geographers. This paper builds upon the work of scholars who study the potential for geographies for memory to evoke empathy and create a more socially just cultural landscape (Alderman, Kingsbury, and Dwyer 2013; Cook and Alderman forthcoming).

 

 

 

Methodology

 

At the three sites I discuss in this paper, I used direct observation and photography as the primary methods of investigation, as this initial trip was intentionally exploratory in nature. As Kearns (2010) argues, the act of observation goes beyond sight and seeing to include touch, smell, sound, and the reflexive awareness of how the researcher’s previous experiences shape their observations. Observation considered in this light is far more than something that should be “regarded as ‘inherently easy’ and ‘of limited value’” (Kearns 2010: 241). Keeping Kearns’ advice in mind, I spent time each day in the field to ‘debrief” by writing notes, opinions, and observations in a journal and blogging them on my personal website.

 

 

 

Based on the methods used by Eichstedt and Small (2002) and Modlin (2008), I toured two of the three sites as a typical tourist would without initially disclosing my position as a researcher. At Frogmore, I took part in a guided tour open to the public, so I chose not to reveal my research status to avoid skewing the docents’ typical narrative until after the tour. The tour at the River Road Museum is self-guided so there was no need to disclose my position to the one employee present. However, at the Natchez Museum, I did explain my interests to the museum curator before he gave me a guided tour. Having already read about the museum in an Al Jazeera America article (Parker 2014), I knew that the curator (local historian David Dreyer) could point me to several counter narratives presented in the museum to observe and discuss.

 

 

 

Sites and their Situations: A Brief Examination of Museums that Differ

 

Natchez Museum

 

A site with several prominent counter narratives, the Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture presents historical narratives of African American life in the Natchez area from slavery to the present. Several counter narratives engaged with slavery, beginning with information presented about the enslavement of Native Americans—the first slaves in the Natchez area under the French. Africans were later brought to the area as slaves, first from Mali. By presenting slavery front and center (and throughout the museum’s exhibits), the Natchez Museum engages in what Alderman and Campbell (2008) call “symbolic excavation”—their metaphor suggesting that a socially just remembrance of slavery requires the often difficult unearthing of suppressed history.

 

 

 

The Natchez Museum has grown by somewhat piecemeal practices over the years, and one of the oldest exhibits in the museum is a collection displaying middle-class black life during the 20th century. Members of the city’s African American community donated that collection, and the pieces reflect the fact that many African Americans were no longer sharecropping in the mid-20th Century, even if their grandparents had few other choices after Emancipation. By displaying artifacts from African American homes in the post-Emancipation period, the Natchez Museum challenges the “frozen in time” trope, whereby many plantation museums present life on the plantation as a fixed point in time (usually a good year prior to the Civil War).

 

 

 

Frogmore Plantation

 

Frogmore Plantation and Cotton Gins is across the river from Natchez in Concordia Parrish, Louisiana. I took the Historical Cotton & Plantation Culture with a large tour group of retirees from Wisconsin. The tour itself lived up to the expectations generated by their website, which addresses slavery on the plantation front and center. The Frogmore tour stands in contrast to many other plantation tours in the Deep South through its counter narrative content and in what Azaryahu and Foote (2008) call the “strategies of spatial presentation.” In terms of narrative content, the two tour guides that I interacted with were well informed about the history of slavery in the area and what life was like on the plantation. Particularly noteworthy was the co-owner, Lynette Turner, who owns the farm with her husband Buddy. Lynette incorporates substantial archival research and several written accounts of slavery in the tour narrative, and she has written a book on plantation life and slavery in the Natchez area.

 

 

 

Spatially, Frogmore differs from most large plantation tour operations because the Turners live in the former “Big House,” which has not been preserved as a historical house museum but updated and modernized over time. Rather, the historical portion of the tour consists of several original structures on the grounds including an overseer’s house, the slave kitchen and quarters, a one-room church, smokehouse, and an 1880s-era cotton gin. An optional tour add-on includes a tour of Frogmore’s modern ginning operations, which are run as a successful agribusiness by Buddy Turner. Although one of the tour guides described the overall nature of the tour as not being a “slaves and shackles” tour, it was obvious that the Turner family paid a lot of attention, time, and money to be able to talk about and show the history of slavery. These efforts include purchasing additional buildings from plantations in the Natchez area to bring to their property and include on the tour.

 

 

 

River Road Museum

 

The third site I visited for this paper was the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. The museum was originally founded to recount the history of slavery, and it was established in an outbuilding at Tezcuco Plantation, a River Road plantation museum in Darrow (Crutcher 2008). Although a fire severely damaged Tezcuco in 2002, the African American museum was largely saved and moved by its founder, Kathe Hambrick, to a house in Donaldsonville. In the new space, Hambrick has expanded the collection’s focus to include African American life and culture after emancipation through artifacts, news clippings, and informational signs. The museum is a noteworthy addition to the River Road’s stunning number of plantations because it exists purely to tell the history of African American life. The museum’s visual evidence helps compel the visitor to empathize with what life was like for African Americans who grew up in the area, frequently treated as second-class citizens while surrounded by the opulent plantation mansions of white families who built their wealth through the exploitation of slavery. Like many small museums, it does struggle with funding, but there is a strong desire from Hambrick for the museum to grow its collection and expand its reach to more of the visitors who come to the River Road area.

 

 

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

In this paper, I related initial findings from three sites in the Deep South that challenge common narratives and myths of slavery used at many plantation museums. While these findings are preliminary, my ongoing research evaluates in greater detail the potential for these sites and others to evoke empathy among the visitors. Particularly important for a future manuscript based on this research will be an engagement with the literature on memory and empathy.

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Alderman, D. H., P. Kingsbury, and O. J. Dwyer. 2013. Reexamining the Montgomery Bus Boycott: Toward an Empathetic Pedagogy of the Civil Rights Movement. The Professional Geographer 65 (1): 171-186.

 

Alderman, D. H., and R. M. Campbell. 2008. Symbolic Excavation and the Artifact Politics of Remembering Slavery in the American South: Observations from Walterboro, South Carolina. Southeastern Geographer 48 (3): 338-355.

 

Azaryahu, M., and K. Foote. 2008. Historical space as narrative medium: on the configuration of spatial narratives of time at historical sites. GeoJournal 73 (1): 179-194.

 

Carter, P., D. L. Butler, and D. H. Alderman. 2014. The House That Story Built: The Place of Slavery in Plantation Museum Narratives. The Professional Geographer, forthcoming.

 

Cook, M. R., and D. H. Alderman. Forthcoming. Public Memory and Empathy in Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine Project. In Global Perspectives on the Holocaust: History, Identity and Legacy, eds. N. Rupprecht and W. Koenig. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

 

Crutcher, M. 2008. Epilogue. Southeastern Geographer 48 (3): 373-376.

 

Eichstedt, J. L., and S. Small. 2002. Representations of Slavery: Race and Ideology in Southern Plantation Museums. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

 

Kearns, R. A. 2010. Seeing with Clarity: Undertaking Observational Research. In Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography, ed. I. Hay, 241-258. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Modlin, E. A. 2008. Tales Told on the Tour:: Mythic Representations of Slavery by Docents at North Carolina Plantation Museums. Southeastern Geographer 48 (3): 265-287.

 

Parker, S. 2014. In Mississippi, glorifying the Old South no longer pays the bills. Al Jazeera America, April 5. Available at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/5/natchez-antebellumplantation.html (accessed 2 September 2014).

 

Climate trends and future scenarios for the Southeast United States: Results from the 2014 National Climate Assessment

On May 6, 2014, the U.S. Global Change Research Program publicly released the results of the 3rd U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), which is an interagency effort to inform the nation about the current state of the climate.  Much of the scientific input for the NCA came from a series of regional climate summaries, which include a description of the observed historical (20th century) climate conditions for each region and a set of future (21st century) climate projections associated with two future pathways of greenhouse gas emissions.  The goal of these summaries is to provide a comprehensive synthesis of historical and possible future climate conditions that can be of direct benefit to decision-makers and communities seeking to develop adaptation plans.  In this presentation, we will describe the results from the Southeast regional summary, which includes all states and territories in the SEDAAG region except for West Virginia.  We will also summarize the current state of the knowledge on trends and future projections of tornadoes, tropical cyclones, droughts, air quality, and sea-level rise affecting the Southeast.

 

The description of the historical climate was based on an analysis of data from the National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Network (COOP), which has been in operation since the late 19th century.  Specifically, we examined the historical trends in temperature and precipitation, with a focus on extreme conditions, such as heat waves and heavy precipitation events, which have been increasing in frequency and magnitude in recent years.  The future climate projections were based on climate model simulations using the high (A2) and low (B1) emissions scenarios from the IPCC’s Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES).  These scenarios were selected because they incorporate much of the range of potential future human impacts on the climate system and have been used routinely to evaluate potential impacts and adaptation options.  Our summary of future regional climate scenarios for the Southeast is based on model simulations from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) and the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP).

 

Results from the historical analysis reveal much decadal variability in mean temperatures across the Southeast throughout the 20th and early 21st century, with no statistically significant long-term trend.  In fact, the Southeast is one of the few regions globally that has not experienced an overall warming trend in surface temperature during the 20th century (often referred to as the “warming hole”).   However, mean temperatures have been rising steadily since about the 1960s, particularly during the summer months and along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.  The number of extreme hot days has tended to decrease or remain the same over time, while the number of very warm summer nights has tended to increase.  The number of extreme cold days has tended to decrease.  With regards to precipitation, there has been no long-term trend since the end of the 19th century, except along the northern Gulf Coast.  Regionally, there has been a downward trend in precipitation during summer and an upward trend during fall.  One of the more notable features in the precipitation time series is the increase in inter-annual variability, particularly over the past several decades, with more exceptionally dry and wet summers.  In addition, the frequency of extreme precipitation events has been increasing across the region, particularly over the most recent two decades.

 

Both the CMIP3 and NARCCAP simulations indicate temperature increases of similar magnitude for the A2 and B1 emissions scenarios by the middle of the 21st century, whereas the A2 scenario indicates approximately double the warming over the B1 scenario by the end of the 21st century.  While the warming trend is unequivocal and large compared to historical variations, the range of model-simulated temperature changes is substantial, indicating much uncertainty in the magnitude of future warming.  Both the CMIP3 and NARCCAP simulations indicate that spatial variations in the warming across the Southeast will be relatively small, with the greatest increases in the northwest and the smallest increases in the southeast part of the region.  For the A2 scenario at mid-century, NARCCAP simulations indicate increases in the number of days with a maximum temperature of more than 95 degF, decreases in the number of days below 32 degF, increases in the length of the freeze-free season, increases in the number of cooling degree days, and decreases in the number of heating degree days.

 

Both the CMIP3 and NARCCAP simulations indicate increases in precipitation across much of the Southeast, with the greatest changes projected in the northern and eastern portions of the region.  On the other hand, decreases in precipitation are projected in the far southern and western portions of the region, particularly during the summer months.  However, these changes are not statistically significant and there is much disagreement among the models as to the sign of the changes (i.e. drier or wetter).  In particular, the range of model-simulated precipitation changes is, in most cases, considerably larger than the multi-model mean change.  As a result, there is much uncertainty associated with future precipitation changes in the region.  For the A2 scenario at mid-century, NARCCAP simulations indicate an increase in heavy precipitation days (greater than 1 inch) across the Southeast, especially across the Appalachian Mountains.  Little or no change in the number of consecutive days with measurable precipitation is projected across the region; however, increases in the number of consecutive dry days are indicated in areas along the Gulf Coast, consistent with the observed trend in increased precipitation variability.

 

Future projections of drought conditions across the Southeast are uncertain, as there is little agreement on the magnitude and direction of change associated with precipitation and evaporation.  In addition, there are well-known model deficiencies in the simulation of key atmospheric processes that contribute to drought, particularly the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.  Future projections in the frequency and intensity of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are also uncertain.  While the energy required for thunderstorm development may increase in a warmer and moister atmosphere, the vertical wind shear required for tornadoes may decrease due a reduction in the temperature gradient from the tropics to the poles.  Most modeling studies suggest that the frequency of major hurricanes (category 3 and higher) will likely increase in the future, particularly in the western Atlantic basin, while the overall number of tropical cyclones will likely decrease.  However, rises in mean sea level will likely result in more severe storm surge.  Projections of mean global sea level rise by the end of the 21st century range from 20 centimeters (8 inches) to as much as 200 centimeters (80 inches) depending on the rate of ice sheet loss and dynamic melting of Greenland and/or West Antarctica.  Atmospheric conditions that promote poor air quality (i.e. increases in temperature, solar radiation, and air stagnation) are likely to increase in the future across parts of the Southeast, which may result in increases in ground-level ozone concentrations of 5 to 12 ppb.  However, it is probable that future changes in air quality may be driven as much or more by mitigation practices than by changes in atmospheric conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

A Dying Star? The Rise and Fall of the Jamaica Coffee Industry’s Competitive Advantage

 

 

The Caribbean island of Jamaica was for many centuries, an agriculture-based economy. However, increased competition and the advent of the free-trade era in the latter half of the 20th century led to substantial economic diversification. One of the few large agricultural sectors to persist was the Jamaican coffee industry (JCI). Employing several thousand people, the industry remains one of the island’s largest sources of agricultural foreign exchange – earning US$17.9 million (over J$1.5 billion) in 2012 according to the Bank of Jamaica (2014), mainly through the export of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee. Introduced to the island in 1728, Jamaican coffee initially established a reputation for being an exotic coffee enjoyed by the elite in Jamaica and the UK. An Arabica varietal cherished as a mild, smooth coffee with hints of chocolate, it commanded prices as high as US$50 per pound (Espresso & Coffee Guide 2011). However, the rise of several other specialty brands, notably those under Fair Trade, organic and a large number of ethically-conscious labels over the last 30 years and the increased popularity of blended coffees in primary consumer markets, have seen the value and sales of  JBM coffee stagnate. A series of droughts and hurricanes that ravaged many coffee producing areas between 2004 and 2012 combined with the global economic recession prompted by the US housing market collapse in 2008 have cast shadows on the viability of the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

This paper uses the Porter Five Forces Model (PFFM) to explore the factors that have led to the rise and development of the JCI as well as its current stagnation in terms of competitive advantage (CA). CA here is defined as the ability of a firm is able to create value for its buyers (in the form of) prices lower than its competitors for equivalent benefits or the provision of unique benefits that more than offset by a premium price (Porter 1985). The five forces used in the PFFM are:

 

 

 

 

 

    1. The bargaining power of suppliers: how strong are suppliers relative to the buyers of the good / service?

 

    1. The bargaining power of buyers: how strong are the buyers relative to the suppliers of the good / service?

 

    1. The threat of new entrants: what are the possible sources of new suppliers or buyers in the industry?

 

    1. The threat of substitute products or services: what other goods or services could viably provide similar or superior utility to consumers in the industry?

 

    1. Rivalry among existing competitors: how strong is the competition for market share among players that currently exist in the industry?

 

 

 

 

The island resumed smaller scale production in 1950, and over the next 10 years, the JCI gradually re-oriented production towards international markets in keeping with the country’s diversification of its economic base after World War II (Witter 2005). They exported primarily to their colonial masters, the United Kingdom (UK), where Jamaican coffee had a reputation of excellent quality. But even with reforms the JCI faced issues of high labor and production costs, mounting surpluses on the international market and low prices received (and thus reduced returns to growers) (CIB Annual Report, 1961). The 1990s saw production and marketing challenges becoming the central theme of the JCI. Several incidences of drought and recurring disease outbreaks, industry deregulation and devaluation of the Jamaican dollar significantly increased the costs of growing coffee across the island. By the early 2000s, local coffee farmers began to see a general stagnation in prices received due to the growing competition of other specialty coffees (such as Fair Trade and organic products). Production costs continued to increase and were joined by adverse weather conditions. A spate of hurricanes between 2004 and 2008 which destroyed thousands of trees across the island alongside disease outbreaks led to hundreds of coffee farmers leaving the industry, while hundreds more have found it more difficult to make a living from growing just coffee and sought to diversify their economic base to include other crops. The global recession in 2008 further softened demand for JBM coffee as consumers reduced purchases. Japanese companies, the traditionally dominant purchasers of Jamaican coffee, have shifted from advance purchases to just-in-time purchasing in order to manage the slowdown in sales and an increased acceptance of coffee blends in the premium coffee market has dampened the importance of single origin coffees produced by the JCI. Although the CIB has continued their exploration into other markets while aiming to maintain market share in Japan, farmers uncertain about the future have continued to exit this seemingly prestigious industry. This has resulted in production levels declining to levels not seen since the devastation of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

 

 

 

As the JCI reinvents itself to maintain its presence in the ever competitive specialty coffee market it can draw on its historical prestige as a platform to take advantage of current market trends. Opportunities include becoming more involved in value added products (such as roasted, packaged coffee), establishing the JBM brand in emerging markets, and bring the consumer closer to the symbolic qualities embedded in the coffee (including incorporating appropriate sustainability marks such as Rainforest Alliance).

 

 

 

In 1969, Jamaican stakeholders discovered that much of coffee exported to Britain was resold to Japan for significant profits as the Japanese took a strong liking to the island’s coffee, especially the higher quality JBM coffee. Jamaica therefore established direct market relations with Japan and began selling most of their coffee to them from 1970 onwards. Japan continues to be the primary market for JBM coffee to this day but was especially dominant up until the early 1980s, often purchasing the entire volume of coffee produced. This led to a scarce supply of JBM coffee for coffee connoisseurs the world over. This scarcity, combined with its unique flavor profile established JBM as one of the finest coffees in the world. The CA created by this differentiated product facilitated the continued expansion of the industry to meet demand. In an effort to rapidly increase its exports, the government of Jamaica embarked on a major expansion drive for the coffee industry. Two programs in the 1980s greatly increased production capacity, especially in the Blue Mountains. The emphasis on this high value agricultural good enabled the JCI to better negotiate many of the issues faced by the conventional global coffee market. These include changing governance structures, corporate concentration, oversupply, interchangeable commodity grade beans, and low farm gate prices (Bacon 2005, 497). In the 1990s the prevailing World Bank-IMF-driven political economic consensus (Weis 2000, 304) opened several markets for the JBM coffee brand as well as for several other counties which moved into the premium and specialty coffee niche market.

 

 

 

Coffee was introduced into Jamaica in 1728 from Haiti or Martinique by the then Governor, Sir Nicholas Lawes. Coffee spread rapidly with the use of slave labor, mostly in the mountainous areas of the parish of St. Andrew and, in 1737 Jamaica became a coffee exporting country when 83,400 lbs. valued at £6,300 was exported to Great Britain. Production gradually increased and during the period between 1799 and the abolition of slavery in 1838, Jamaica never exported less than 10,000,000 lbs. of coffee per year. A very large portion of the volume produced of this coffee was planted in the Jamaica Blue Mountains during that time period. Destructive cultivation practices and the abolition of slavery led to significant declines in production but demand remained strong from the colonial masters. Coffee exports continued to be a significant income generator for plantation owners especially as there was low competition from other British colonies. As coffee from Jamaica became better known, exports expanded to other countries. Unfortunately, by the 1940s the deterioration of agricultural lands and the lack of quality standards forced Canada – the main market at the time – to stop buying Jamaican coffee. This led to the temporary closure of all coffee exports from the island. In 1946, a comprehensive investigation of the industry and its practices led to the restructuring of the industry and the creation of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB) to regulate the industry.

 

 

 

The island resumed smaller scale production in 1950, and over the next 10 years, the JCI gradually re-oriented production towards international markets in keeping with the country’s diversification of its economic base after World War II (Witter 2005). They exported primarily to their colonial masters, the United Kingdom (UK), where Jamaican coffee had a reputation of excellent quality. But even with reforms the JCI faced issues of high labor and production costs, mounting surpluses on the international market and low prices received (and thus reduced returns to growers) (CIB Annual Report, 1961). In 1969, Jamaican stakeholders discovered that much of coffee exported to Britain was resold to Japan for significant profits as the Japanese took a strong liking to the island’s coffee, especially the higher quality JBM coffee. Jamaica therefore established direct market relations with Japan and began selling most of their coffee to them from 1970 onwards. Japan continues to be the primary market for JBM coffee to this day but was especially dominant up until the early 1980s, often purchasing the entire volume of coffee produced. This led to a scarce supply of JBM coffee for coffee connoisseurs the world over. This scarcity, combined with its unique flavor profile established JBM as one of the finest coffees in the world. The CA created by this differentiated product facilitated the continued expansion of the industry to meet demand. In an effort to rapidly increase its exports, the government of Jamaica embarked on a major expansion drive for the coffee industry. Two programs in the 1980s greatly increased production capacity, especially in the Blue Mountains. The emphasis on this high value agricultural good enabled the JCI to better negotiate many of the issues faced by the conventional global coffee market. These include changing governance structures, corporate concentration, oversupply, interchangeable commodity grade beans, and low farm gate prices (Bacon 2005, 497). In the 1990s the prevailing World Bank-IMF-driven political economic consensus (Weis 2000, 304) opened several markets for the JBM coffee brand as well as for several other counties which moved into the premium and specialty coffee niche market.

 

 

 

 

 

The 1990s saw production and marketing challenges becoming the central theme of the JCI. Several incidences of drought and recurring disease outbreaks, industry deregulation and devaluation of the Jamaican dollar significantly increased the costs of growing coffee across the island. By the early 2000s, local coffee farmers began to see a general stagnation in prices received due to the growing competition of other specialty coffees (such as Fair Trade and organic products). Production costs continued to increase and were joined by adverse weather conditions. A spate of hurricanes between 2004 and 2008 which destroyed thousands of trees across the island alongside disease outbreaks led to hundreds of coffee farmers leaving the industry, while hundreds more have found it more difficult to make a living from growing just coffee and sought to diversify their economic base to include other crops. The global recession in 2008 further softened demand for JBM coffee as consumers reduced purchases. Japanese companies, the traditionally dominant purchasers of Jamaican coffee, have shifted from advance purchases to just-in-time purchasing in order to manage the slowdown in sales and an increased acceptance of coffee blends in the premium coffee market has dampened the importance of single origin coffees produced by the JCI. Although the CIB has continued their exploration into other markets while aiming to maintain market share in Japan, farmers uncertain about the future have continued to exit this seemingly prestigious industry. This has resulted in production levels declining to levels not seen since the devastation of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

 

 

 

 

 

As the JCI reinvents itself to maintain its presence in the ever competitive specialty coffee market it can draw on its historical prestige as a platform to take advantage of current market trends. Opportunities include becoming more involved in value added products (such as roasted, packaged coffee), establishing the JBM brand in emerging markets, and bring the consumer closer to the symbolic qualities embedded in the coffee (including incorporating appropriate sustainability marks such as Rainforest Alliance).

 

 

 

Take back the geography of your campus: how creating a student run web GIS of your university can help you illustrate why spatial really is special

Introduction

 

This paper is a case study detailing our experience with creating an interactive web-GIS map of our campus and some of the unexpected benefits and challenges we discovered to having campus mapping efforts under a university academic unit. There is very little about the GIS itself in this project that is groundbreaking, but the way the effort was approached and administered could be useful to schools in a similar situation.

 

At our university, GIS is administered through a “center” within academic affairs and as part of an Environmental Studies department. It is the mission of this center to support GIS use for all departments and units at the university.  This consists of managing labs, licenses field equipment and servers but with a focus on instruction. About three years ago it was decided that expanding GIS capabilities to other departments should be a priority of the center. Several measures were taken to achieve this including offering no-cost training workshops, creating a more user-friendly website and, to raise awareness of what a GIS is, we decided to trick people into using one.

 

When this project was conceived the campus map had already been a source of complaints for years. It was a stylized illustration of an oblique view of the campus with no scale or true measure of distance. This is a problem on a 1600 acre suburban campus where students need to be able to determine walk times between classes. It was hard to hard to find anything and the process for updating it consisted of affixing a sticker to each copy. Since everyone hated it the idea of replacing it or creating an alternative came with very little resistance.

 

We decided that the time spend minimized and benefit maximized if we focused on getting as student input as possible. This should include input from not only those already required to take GIS courses, but should reach out to those in other programs who would otherwise may never encounter a GIS software while in school.

 

Starting the project & Gathering Data

 

In the early stages of the project wrote a proposal to the university provost to request student technology fee money to purchase new server hardware to be used for classes and student projects. The money we received covered both the hardware and funded a student assistant to help with “project setup.” The student paid through this grant did much of the initial work in gathering and editing data. We found that having a paid student worker at this point was critical, as there was a much greater willingness to volunteer among students after they could see and use the map than when it was just an idea.

 

Data from the map came from multiple sources: CAD files from the university’s facilities and planning department, publicly available wetland, water and elevation data, features gathered in the field by students using GPS, and features digitized from aerial photographs.

 

In order to illustrate to users why this was a “web GIS” rather than an “interactive map” it was decided that there would have to be a full set of attributes for the important features. This database was built initially from the existing map system though this was quickly found to be riddled with errors. These were corrected and supplemented by students walking around campus taking notes and searching department web pages. We later found that in this case mistakes were not really bad, as finding them created another layer of interaction with users beyond just changing scale and visible layers. Everything we could find about buildings was distilled into a “keywords” field as searchability was identified as a priority.

 

Technology

 

Once enough data was collected to create a usable map, it was edited and imported into ESRI’s local government data model in order to be submitted into the ESRI Community Maps program. This program allows data owners to submit a cached basemap of their city, campus or area using a set style guide for hosting on ESRI’s servers. This was initially planned to minimize the load on our servers. As more experimenting was done, we decided to keep the basemap on our own servers once we discovered that the community maps styling did not adequately symbolize all the features we wanted to include in the cached tiles.

 

Once the basemap was built we made a print version and posted it on bulletin boards around campus. Accompanying the posters was an encouragement to think about what else could be added to the map and “Pin it!” on to the poster with small cards and pins we provided. The results of this attempt at crowd sourcing were interesting, many responses were good ideas that were ultimately added to the map while others took a more humorous approach.

 

The ESRI ArcGIS server platform was used to create our tile and feature map services. While there are many capable open source platforms for web mapping, ESRI’s is included in the campus site license and is the most demanded by potential employers. At the time this work was being done the ArcGIS Online system was relatively young and not very useful, however we have found that the current version included with the ESRI site license to be very useful for testing and to keep ITS happy by limiting the people accessing servers.

 

The front end of the website was built with the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex. This made it easy to customize for those without web programming ability. We are in the process of updating this to Javascript to accommodate mobile browsers.

 

Benefits

 

This project has already been used in multiple courses and as the subject of several projects.  An advanced GIS course that the author recently instructed used the map as the central example and as a platform to build off of in order to teach students how to build a web-GIS. Most students were already familiar with this application and were eager to complete the assigned tasks of deconstructing, reproducing and collecting data to add to the map.

 

Other classes including biogeography have used the map to display field data collected by student and as an easily understood example of the layer model in GIS to freshman level students.  The author has done many guest lectures on GIS to lower level students and has never seen the amount of interest and engagement than when demonstrating some simple tasks on this application.

 

Part of our GIS certificate program is an internship or directed study. While we place many interns in productive GIS shops and local government agencies there are often more students than positions available and some who are not able to get to off campus sites. This project has served as a useful alternative topic for these directed study classes and can be easily and effectively directed by center staff. These directed study students have provided much of the major upgrades and additions to the project since the first beta version and have ranged from correcting an outdated campus trails layer to constructing a network to return walking directions to any building on campus. After fulfilling the requirements of their directed studies, many students have expressed interest in continuing on the project because they enjoyed contributing to a useful tool and felt they were learning a useful skill. Unfortunately for us, all of the students who have said this were soon offered full time GIS jobs elsewhere. We mark this as both a benefit and a challenge.

 

Once the map was in a “beta” release the university marketing department quickly took notice. A story on the project and the GIS center was even featured in an alumni newsletter. The Vice President of University Advancement has since asked center staff to use a similar model to create a GIS web application of the university’s alumni as well as agreeing to provide funding for the project equipment or personnel. We have collaborated on several projects since to mutual benefit.

 

Conclusions

 

As a very visually interesting and interactive media, web GIS should be used in a way that engages the entire campus community.  We have found that making the connection between GIS and the everyday lives of the people at our campus very apparent, that the awareness and interest of GIS that we know geo-spatial technologies deserve is a much easier case to make. In addition we have observed that users of our map have been naturally inclined to critically evaluate both the user interface and the way that real world geographic features are modeled digitally. As a believer in GIS as spatial thinking rather than software ‘buttonology’ this finding has been especially encouraging.

 

In our research very few universities, even though with notable geography and GIS programs, use a GIS platform for their official campus map or have a publicly accessible web-GIS on their website. We believe that a project like this is worthy of consideration for any university.

 

The Road to Rio: Infrastructure, Image, & New Media

Roche (1994) describes mega-events as “large scale leisure and tourism events such as Olympic Games and World Fairs” and “short-term events with long-term consequences for the cities that stage them” (p. 1). Mega-events represent the construction of infrastructure and image. Sporting mega-events are recognized by their capacity to stimulate economic growth; transform urban geographies through the development of modern infrastructure; and to promote an image of power and prestige (Cornelissen, 2010; Essex, 2003; Gaffney, 2010/11; Greene, 2003, Horne, 2012; Roche, ,1994, 2003, 2006). Typically a partnership between governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), mega-events command immense resources and a lengthy period of preparation. Scholars in geography, political science, and international relations largely agree that states compete to host mega-events in pursuit of “soft power” (Cornelissen, 2010; Grix, 2013; Horne, 2012) – a concept developed by Joseph Nye at Harvard University – which is the ability of people or governments to attract and co-opt rather than to use force or to coerce (Nye, 2004). Bid cities or countries believe that successfully hosting a mega-event will translate into increased political, economic, and urban development opportunities for the city and/or country (Cornelissen, 2010; Essex, 2003; Gaffney, 2010/11; Greene, 2003, Horne, 2012; Roche, ,1994, 2003, 2006).

 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is currently in the midst of an unprecedented cycle of mega-event preparation and sport-related urban development. In addition to other smaller events, Rio de Janeiro will have hosted the Pan American games, FIFA World Cup, and Olympic games in a span of nine years. Central to the preparation and hosting of such mega-events are the issues of infrastructure and image. Rio de Janeiro and the rest of Brazil will attempt to achieve what an increasing number of developing countries and cities in the Global South are seeking by hosting mega-events: 1) the initiation of a transformative urban renewal agenda to stage a world-class city in pursuit of increased tourism and foreign investment; 2) greater accessibility and positioning in the global capitalist markets; 3) increased geopolitical status (Cornelissen, 2010; Essex, 2003; Gaffney, 2010/11; Greene, 2003, Horne, 2012; Roche, ,1994, 2003, 2006). Unfortunately, the history of mega-events tells us that these agendas are almost always pursued at the expense of social justice and/or equality (Cornelissen, 2010; Essex, 2003; Gaffney, 2010/11; Greene, 2003, Horne, 2012; Roche, ,1994, 2003, 2006). Disadvantaged communities of people are treated as a disposable nuisance rather than culturally valuable assets to the new, modern city.

 

The power of mega-sporting events is linked to their ability to attract a global audience and intense media scrutiny. The era of globalization and advancements in online communication technologies have facilitated a “globalization from below” in the form of new media – blogs, social media, and online activism. As the Internet evolves, so do the formation and function of new media and their ability to challenge neoliberal institutions and dominant narratives as evidenced by the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street movement, and G20 Summit protests in London. This thesis proposal will outline potential research questions and methods to explore the role of traditional and new media in constructing and contesting the infrastructure and image of Rio de Janeiro.

 

Media are producers of geographic knowledge, and journalists require a fundamental grasp of geography in order to inform readers about current events and to explain what is taking place across the world (Zimmerman, 2007). Our daily consumption of media continually shapes and reshapes our perceived relationship with the rest of the world (Gasher, 2009). More than simply disseminating facts and figures, the media functions as a “chain of practices and processes by and through which geographical information is gathered, geographical facts are ordered and our imaginative geographies are constructed” (Craine, 2007). Discourses in mass media construct space, and they create a sense of place, identity, and community (Howe, 2009; Martin, 2000). In essence, media has the ability to create, reinforce, and promote specific ways in which the audience understands people, cultures, cities, and countries (Zimmerman, 2007). Newspapers, specifically, have played a significant role in building communities within a city, state, or country. Nord (2001) argues that early twentieth century newspapers provided a means for “diverse city dwellers to communicate with each other – communicate in the sense that they could think about the same things at the same time and share a vision of social reality.(p. 111)”

 

Journalists “build public stages, people them with actors, and frame the action in a certain way. They create a certain kind of public space and issue us an invitation to it” (Rosen, 1997, 198-99 cited in Gasher, 2009). Gasher (2009) further explains the role of the journalist in creating geography:

 

“Journalists… are not simply innocent bystanders or detached witnesses capturing objective, mirror-like pictures of society. Rather they are active participants in the constructions of our realities. They tell us who we are, where we live and work, what we believe in, what we care about, and they draw boundaries between “here” and “there”, “us” and “them.”

 

In determining which regional, national, and international stories are worth coverage, journalists make connections between their community and these larger, more distant places. How are those stories relevant to “us,” what is “our” involvement, how are they newsworthy? The answers to those questions assert links and associations – as well as gulfs – between “here” and “there”, between “us’” and “them.”

 

Social movements have increasingly taken the form of and/or been enhanced by the proliferation of new media. Blogs, independent news organizations, activism web sites, and social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) pages were developed to provide a new array of news platforms, sources, and content producers. (Greer, 2010; Maratea, 2008; Reese, 2007). New media has empowered communities of citizen journalists to challenge political policy, public space, and media narratives that affect local communities (Maratea, 2008; Reese, 2007). New media makes it feasible for average citizens to disseminate their own commentaries on mainstream media coverage, political events, or any other issue of relevance” (Maratea, 2008, p. 142). Greer (2010, p. 6) positions the contemporary news media environment as providing “new political opportunities for protest organizations, activists, and their supporters to communicate independently of mainstream news media.” Frequently, new media directly contests the traditional media, highlighting inequalities in news coverage or casting doubt on the accuracy or agenda of news coverage, thus becoming the “Fifth Estate.” (Greer, 2010; Reese, 2007; Dutton, 2009; Stassen, 2010).

 

Allen and Thorsen (2009) defined citizen journalists as ordinary people “caught up in extraordinary events, who felt compelled to adopt the role of a news reporter” (cited in Greer 2010). Robert Gee became one of the earliest citizen journalists when he captured analog camcorder footage of the Centennial Park bomb explosion at the 1996 Olympics, and that footage appeared on the front page of CNN’s first web site. Nearly 20 years later, hundreds of millions of ordinary people walk the streets armed with smartphones, tablets, and laptops capable of capturing high-quality digital images, video, and audio at a moment’s notice (Peat, 2010 cited in Greer, 2010). Using those same devices, images and sounds can be instantaneously uploaded to social media and web sites. Video can even be streamed live in real-time to viewers on the other side of the world. A process that once required expensive television equipment and a broadcasting license from the government can now be achieved with a mobile device and an Internet connection. Citizen journalists can provide “authenticity, immediacy, and realism to news stories through production of dramatic and visually powerful ‘evidence’ of events ‘as they happen’” (Greer, 2010, p. 7).

 

This research has identified the major themes in the international media coverage of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, specifically the 12 months leading up to that event.   This research centered on interviews with international and new media journalists from Rio de Janeiro, the New York Times, BBC, Wall Street Journal, and several other outlets.  These journalists were questioned about the role of citizen journalist and new media outlets, not only in reporting news on the ground in Rio de Janeiro, but also in how their presence helped shape the media’s geography of the city.  The data reveals much about how the dynamic of citizen journalists as reporters AND sources impacted the depth with which stories were reported and the reflective nature of how stories were reported by traditional media outlets in Rio de Janeiro.