This presentation will showcase the contribution of social sciences to biodiversity and environmental conservation research and policies through a case-study in three Amazonian departments in Colombia: Caquetá, Guaviare and Putumayo.
Our project combined qualitative and quantitative methodologies in Human Geography, Sociology and Economics to understand farmers’ uptake of agri-environmental projects, including in-depth semi-structured interviews and a telephone quantitative survey.
The presentation will start by making evident some misunderstandings about what social sciences are, do and can contribute and argue that dispelling them is crucial if true interdisciplinarity is going to help halt environmental degradation and support communities in their territories. In other words, this section will attempt to better define the terms of interdisciplinarity between the social and the a-social sciences.
But there are also misunderstandings and tensions between us social scientists: the quantitative-qualitative debate permeates us too. The second part of the presentation will show the value of mixed methodologies by contrasting the results of our interviews and survey and pondering the conclusions they would lead to if we did not have both sets of tools and findings.
Aside from what our findings suggest for the specific case of halting deforestation, protecting biodiversity and supporting communities in Colombia’s Amazonian region, their implications are applicable too for other research areas where the complexity of issues call for truly interdisciplinary approaches.
Interdisciplinarity Mixed-methodologies Amazon Colombia Silvo-pastoral farming Agri-environmental projects