IFiT Student Field Trip October 2019 (Blog 2 – Research Focus “Risk Perception”)
Risk research is an important issue in human geography. It combines environmental and social aspects in a spatial context.
Risk is defined as the possibility of an action or an event causing negative consequences or losses. The eucalyptus cultivation in Portugal can be seen as such a risk. Furthermore, it can be an environmental risk, which has two perspectives. First, it is a risk for the environment but it is also a risk from the environment for the humans. Environmental risks are characterised by a chain of cause and effect. Humans are the cause of environmental problems but are also effected by them. The perception of this environmental risk represents a judgement of its dimension. Existing literature has already confirmed that individual risk perception depends on one’s social, political and cultural environment. This approach serves as basis for the present research. The study aims to find out the factors which influence the perception of the environmental risk that results from the eucalyptus cultivation in Portugal. Therefore a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods is used. The quantitative method is based on a questionnaire which is addressed to all Portuguese. On the one hand an online questionnaire has been set up and sent around via emails and social media. It is also realised as a face to face interview in different cities, e.g. Aljezur and Monchique. The qualitative method consists of semi-structured group interviews. The gained data will be evaluated with statistic tools. The qualitative interviews serve as addition to the quantitative data.