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Academic & Professional Books  Insects & other Invertebrates  Insects  Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)

The Good, Green Gold of Spring A Conservation Sociology of the Island Marble Butterfly

By: Jon Dahlem(Author)
168 pages
Publisher: Vernon Press
The Good, Green Gold of Spring
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  • The Good, Green Gold of Spring ISBN: 9781648897030 Paperback May 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • The Good, Green Gold of Spring ISBN: 9781648895234 Hardback Oct 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
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About this book

This book presents a case study of Island Marble Butterfly conservation from an environmental sociological perspective. Using qualitative methods, the study explicates various social components of a collaboration of stakeholders working together to protect the species from extinction. Rediscovered in 1998 after being presumed extinct for nearly a century, the Island Marble Butterfly persists exclusively among the San Juan Islands, Washington, where the efforts of scientists, local conservationists, government employees, and non-profit organizations have sustained the species, even achieving a listing under the Endangered Species Act. For these reasons and many others, the Island Marble Butterfly presents a case in some ways fascinating for its idiosyncrasies and in other ways indicative of broader trends in conservation work in an era of rapid global biodiversity loss.

From the study emerges a call for increased sociological research that contributes knowledge beneficial to conservation practice, or what the book calls "conservation sociology". The book reviews existing literature in this space and provides a framework for constructing research, theory, and application in conservation sociology. As the social components of Island Marble Butterfly conservation are explored, so too are components of conservation sociology. The book describes competing norms and beliefs among stakeholders, demonstrating the capacity of conservation sociology to describe and interpret social phenomena in conservation work; explores power dynamics in the collaboration, using sociological theory to interpret significant events in Island Marble Butterfly conservation; and analyzes the significance of time in conservation while providing suggestions for applied conservation work based in sociological perspectives.

The book accomplishes three main goals. First, it provides an account of details and events in Island Marble Butterfly conservation. Second, it defines, positions, and develops conservation sociology. Third, it demonstrates original research in conservation sociology, resulting in a deep look at the complexities of the social components of species conservation.

Customer Reviews


Jon Dahlem is an environmental sociologist with a PhD in sociology from Washington State University who specializes in the sociologies of biodiversity loss and species conservation. In particular, his work applies qualitative research methods to case studies in conservation in order to explicate the underlying social causes of sociopolitical inertia toward solving urgent environmental problems. He has produced work exploring the analogous phenomenon of inaction toward abating climate change. Having recently completed a case study of the conservation of Island Marble Butterflies on San Juan Island, WA, Jon is currently developing an extensive case study of Nebraskan Sandhill Crane conservation practices. He currently works as an Assistant Professor and Program Director of Sociology at Bellevue University, in Bellevue, NE.

By: Jon Dahlem(Author)
168 pages
Publisher: Vernon Press
Media reviews

"A specifically sociological perspective has been largely absent thus far from the rapidly growing field of critical conservation studies. In The Good, Green Gold of Spring, Jon Dahlem convincingly demonstrates this perspective's unique contribution to both research and practice aiming to confront the impending sixth extinction crisis."
– Dr Robert Fletcher, Wageningen University & Research

"Jon Dahlem has produced something environmental sociologists have needed for a very long time: a "conservation sociology". Through an extensive case study of the Island Marble Butterfly, Dahlem shows how we can both seek to understand as well as advocate for efforts to conserve biodiversity during this age of the sixth great extinction. What is more, Dahlem has a knack for presenting complex ideas and processes in a relatable manner. He has a deep respect for natural science, though situates both natural and social science within its proper historical, cultural, and political contexts. This book should be welcomed by anyone concerned about drastic environmental change."
– Dr Jordan Fox Besek, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Buffalo

"What can the Island Marble butterfly – a thumbnail-sized insect – tell us about society? Jon Dahlem answers this question with social scientific rigor in The Good, Green Gold of Spring. His ethnography transports readers to the lush San Juan Islands in Washington state, where the Island Marble butterfly commands attention from conservationists who clash over how to study and care for the species. Dahlem's thoughtful analysis also situates IMB conservation in a broader social and political context, where conservationists' actions reveal truths about power, inequality, and the environment. Dahlem deftly connects his observations of butterfly-human interactions to larger themes and debates in social science. His elegant depiction of waiting to observe an IMB's first flight – an ability that will only last for seven days before it dies – underscores the important, and often incongruent, relationship between sociocultural and biophysical time as a key challenge in conservation movements. The book's call for a conservation sociology is innovative and well-supported by data. The discipline of sociology has much to offer conservation efforts – namely, the perspective that science cannot be separated from the people who do it and the systems they exist in. The Good, Green Gold of Spring charts a roadmap for how sociologists can describe problems and prescribe solutions for the pressing needs of species conservation."
– Dr Pierce Greenberg, Department of Sociology, Creighton University

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