Conceptual diagram of believed ecosystem service flows, Figure 3 in Sherren et al. 2021.
The first output of the Landscape 1 case study of ResNet, the Bay of Fundy dykelands, is out this week in Facets, Canada’s open access science journal: Understanding multifunctional Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands using ecosystem services—a baseline. We set out to understand ecosystem service flows from tidal wetlands and drained agricultural dykeland (former tidal wetland), as climate change forces a rethink of the dykeland system. This review covered papers, theses, reports, and drew in some cases on other jurisdictions where there was a dearth of local data. We uncovered some key gaps but also potential synergies in balancing the system for sustainability. Filling some of the gaps to inform decisionmaking is the undertaking that faces us in ResNet.
Graphic facilitation of the last session in the 2021 ResNet AGM.
We just wrapped up the last day of our second online AGM for ResNet. In fact, we have never met together in person since becoming funded in mid-2019. We opted to hold our launch meeting later that year online to save carbon. Then came COVID-19. We’re getting pretty damn good at this online thing, though. The meeting was well-planned and engaging, held over three days. There was great turnout from Landscape 1 and strong leadership and engagement by our outstanding HQP: I’m always proud of our team in these settings. I love that ResNet feels so much like a community at this early stage. Thanks to PI Elena Bennett and the Central team at McGill for all the hard work.
Congratulations to Dr. Bernard Soubry who successfully defended his PhD remotely to Oxford this morning. His dissertation is titled, Towards Taking Farmers Seriously: Contributions of farmer knowledge to food systems adaptation to climate change. He phoned me afterward and said he was going to go make doughnuts to celebrate. That’s a COVID celebration if I’ve ever heard of one.
One of several papers that have been bunged up in COVID-related publication delays has finally come out today in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, Why is grazing management being overlooked in climate adaptation policy?. The article, led by former postdoc Wesley Tourangeau, now at Lincoln in the UK, takes a close look at the two 2018 studies by the Canadian House and Senate of about agriculture and climate change. Despite significant expert advocacy in the evidence-gathering phase about the value of grazing management approaches to climate adaptation, none of that was included in either final report or parliamentary response. Wes took a critical discourse analysis approach to the 112 documents, looking not only at what is said about grazing management but who is saying it, and what that says about power and ideologies. A focus on industry and government voices leads in this case to a focus on expensive, high-tech but low-labour options at the detriment of high-skill and high-labour approaches like grazing management. This techno-fix bias to climate policy pathways closes doors unnecessarily, as the new documentary Kiss the Ground indicates: protecting and rebuilding the soil, as grazing management does, is an important piece of the climate puzzle, not just for adaptation but mitigation, too.
Update: Thanks to Carolyn Mann for telling me that in a moment of synchronicity, rotational grazing was mentioned in the federal budget yesterday (p. 174), viz:
Agricultural Climate Solutions
Farmers are major players in Canada’s fight against climate change. The agricultural sector has the potential to scale up climate solutions, many of which are already underway across the country. Building on Canada’s climate action programs for farmers—including the $185 million Agricultural Climate Solutions program, and the $165 million Agricultural Clean Technology Program—Budget 2021 proposes to:
Provide an additional $200 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to launch immediate, on-farm climate action under the Agricultural Climate Solutions program. This will target projects accelerating emission reductions by improving nitrogen management, increasing adoption of cover cropping, and normalizing rotational grazing (bold mine).
It’s about time.
I’m delighted by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), which I learned today is investing heavily into my research programme. Current ResNet MES student Emily Wells got a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship – Masters, as well as incoming ResNet MES student Elizabeth Bray. Incoming MES student Samantha Howard has also won a SSHRC scholarship to work on my coastal adaptation/climax thinking research, and my four-year solo SSHRC Insight Grant on that topic was also successful. Thanks, SSHRC! I didn’t mean those things I said about you last year.