Living near volcanoes: Scoping the gaps between the local community and volcanic experts in southern Chile

Human societies have always inhabited volcanic zones, but only recently scientists and decision-makers have turned the attention to volcanic risk prevention and reduction. Despite a growing consensus about the importance of engaging with nearby populations, in practice there is little dialogue with them regarding volcanic threats and opportunities. We study the experiences, impacts and concerns of an indigenous community, inhabiting in-between two major volcanic systems (Carran Los Venados and Puyehue-Cordon Caulle), regarding past and recent eruptions. Results show a longstanding cultural and economic interrelationship between people and volcanoes, representing both benefits and barriers to development; existing local/traditional knowledge is necessary but not sufficient to meet people's needs for adequate understanding and forecasting; despite community interest on volcanic science and risk reduction, important communication and trust gaps with experts persist. Our findings suggest the importance for scientists to establish collaborative and participatory relationships with local communities and decision-makers, with the goal of not only reducing negative volcanic impacts and uncertainty, but also taking advantage of the potential of volcanic environments to boost local sustainable livelihoods. (C) 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.

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