My gratitude to Professor Gibb from the Environmental Research Institute at the University of Highlands and Islands in Thurso, for the opportunity to share my research, and to Lonneke for organising it.
In this seminar, I share my research in rural and remote regions of island archipelagos and forest ecosystems. When combined, remoteness and rurality are characterised with geographical and spatial remoteness, isolation and peripherality and, thus, are not always seen as a priority. Yet, they significantly contribute to their regional economy through the provision of a diverse range of ecosystem services. And while ecosystem approach is a widely accepted, it seems to focus too much on generating a big picture while neglecting the local context. Studies suggest that despite the remoteness there are signs of growing re-population and resilience that could be contributed to communities’ greater involvement in decision making process related to ecosystems development and management. This seminar raises the argument for thinking about a bottom up and locally driven ecosystem approach based on confluence and reciprocal altruism. And naturally, given a sheer heterogeneity of space and data, comparative statistics are difficult to obtain. This calls for a pluralistic approach based on pure fieldwork and a mixed method, e.g. ethnographic methods, storytelling, remote sensing and GIS. This approach may prove to be useful for policy makers involved in a regional smart and sustainable rural development, including urban and rural island planning; improving the quality of stakeholder engagement; and future scenario planning for ecosystems in question.