Enhancing recognition of seagrass ecosystems through communication planning based on historical and present social perception studies
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/4355
UNESCO SUBJECT: 2510.01 Oceanografía Biológica
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
The knowledge of the NW Spanish population on the ecology of seagrass –meadows and the recognition of the benefits and pressures provided by these ecosystems was evaluated by integrating the historical narrative and the current social perception, aiming at the implementation of management and communication strategies to achieve effective conservation policies. The results obtained in this study confirm the low visibility of seagrasses in the Galician media, as shown by the low number of news (110) registered on this topic over the last 160 years, as well as their low social profile. The current social perception of these habitats reflected an ample level of ignorance on their functions, converting them in one of the most forgotten coastal ecosystems in the region, despite their socio-ecological relevance. Thus, only a third knew that seagrass beds are not formed by algae and less than 20 % knew that there are flowering plants in the sea. Based on the historical and current social perception data focused on the conflict between shellfishing and seagrass beds, we applied Grunig's situational communication theory to identify the key environmental publics on which communication strategies should be focused. A further audience’s assessment led to the proposal of a communication action plan which includes specific actions to be implemented by each one of the identified strategic audiences.
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