Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Agriculture (Page 2 of 25)

Science Atlantic Environment Conference

Bravo to my Environmental Science Honours students Samantha Howard and Andrew Willms, who presented yesterday at the Science Atlantic Environment Conference. Not only that, but they impressed the judges. Andrew’s presentation on human-bear conflict in Nova Scotia brought home the Acadian award for best presentation on Acadian flora or fauna, and Samantha’s presentation on perceptions of flood risk mapping in Southwestern Nova Scotia was runner up for best undergraduate presentation!

I noted a few ResNet names among the abstracts presented at Science Atlantic events, too, to similarly impressive end. Elise Rogers presented on sediment composition in restoring salt marshes, and Makadunyiswe Ngulube on the protection wetland vegetation can provide Bay of Fundy coasts by dissipating wave energy. Maka won the best undergraduate presentation! Evan McNamara and Terrell Roulston also presented their pollinator work at a parallel Science Atlantic event on Aquaculture, Fisheries and Biology, and Terrell won the Botany prize! Bravo, everyone!

Policy Options

Bernard Soubry authored a piece in Policy Options on his most recent PhD work.

Bernard Soubry authored a piece in Policy Options on his most recent PhD work.

Bernard Soubry published an opinion piece in Policy Options this week, while the paper on which it is based works its way through the peer review process (at most journals having become like treacle thanks to COVID). The message lines up well with his overall message of the importance of engaging farmers on matters that affect them, and engaging them as experts. His first PhD paper, “Are we taking farmers seriously?“, found the answer, when it comes to climate change, is generally “no”. His second paper, “Farming along desire lines“, illustrated the many farmer-led climate resilience initiatives in the Maritimes that indicate the gaps that government has left in terms of supports. The pending third paper takes the message to Ottawa, as you can now read, by exploring divergent understandings of resilience in the farming sector between farmers and policy-makers, based on recent House and Senate studies of climate change and Ag.

New ResNet paper: Ecosystem services and the resilience of agricultural landscapes

Figures 1 and 3 from the new Bennett et al (2021) paper, contrasting a healthy agricultural landscape with one subject to negative trends discussed in the paper: (A) the influence of global corporations on decision-making, (B) increased use of technological and other inputs, (C) loss of diversity of farm types, (D) loss of nonfood ecosystem services, (E) crops consumed in far-away places, (F) Changes in the amount and mixture of ecosystem services provided to people, (G) local systems that are disconnected from their resource base, and (H) fewer people involved in decision-making.

Figures 1 and 3 from the new Bennett et al (2021) paper, contrasting a healthy agricultural landscape with one subject to negative trends discussed in the paper: (A) the influence of global corporations on decision-making, (B) increased use of technological and other inputs, (C) loss of diversity of farm types, (D) loss of nonfood ecosystem services, (E) crops consumed in far-away places, (F) Changes in the amount and mixture of ecosystem services provided to people, (G) local systems that are disconnected from their resource base, and (H) fewer people involved in decision-making.

The first big synthesis paper from NSERC ResNet is out today in Advances in Ecological ResearchEcosystem services and the resilience of agricultural landscapes. Led by ResNet PI Elena Bennet, with 20 co-authors from the larger team across our agricultural landscape case studies and integrative themes, this paper assesses “how recent changes have interacted with agro-ecosystem features to result in a loss of resilience, and suggest[s] key research directions to help harmonize production and ecosystem function, drawing primarily on Canadian examples”. This also provides us a strong conceptual framework as we initiate our primary and scenario-based work over the next five years, including in the Bay of Fundy agricultural dykelands and tidal wetlands, the ResNet case study I’m co-leading.

Recruiting for an OGEN PhD fellow in SIA/culturomics

Several colleagues and I are excited to offer a lucrative PhD fellowship within the Tier 1 Ocean Graduate Excellence Network (OGEN), in collaboration with Canada’s National Research Council, with the topic of Understanding social license for nature-based coastal adaptation: a longitudinal culturomic approachThe successful candidate will be expected to enroll in Dalhousie’s Interdisciplinary PhD program (IDPhD) by Fall 2021, working with the team listed here, with funding of CAD$44,444 p.a. for up to 4.5 years. The project sits at the intersection of nature-based coastal adaptation, landscape culturomics, marine spatial planning, and social impact assessment/social licenseWe are now inviting applications for this fellowship, with first-round application review starting January 30th; later applications will be part of further review, if required, until filled.

Community members see and experience their landscapes in complex ways that shape how they perceive new options for coastal flood risk management. The political will to implement nature-based options will falter if the social dimensions of such options are not given equivalent attention to the technical dimensions. The student will take a longitudinal approach to understand trajectories of local experience and support over the course of a nature-based adaptation project such as coastal wetland restoration, using secondary datasets such as social and conventional media. The objectives will be both to develop and pilot replicable methods for understanding the social dimensions of nature-based systems implementation, and assist NRC in deepening its capacity for integrating social sciences and humanities scholarship in its own research projects. The research undertaken will thus also contribute knowledge applicable to the growing interdisciplinary challenges of building and sustaining climate-change resilient socio-ecological coastal systems.

The successful candidate will:

  • Enroll in Dalhousie’s IDPhD program by September 2021, which has minimum entry requirements of A- (3.7) GPA at the senior undergraduate and graduate degree level, and IELTS requirement of 7.5 (or equivalent).
  • The position will be suitable for a student with previous degrees in social science disciplines or interdisciplinary studies that include social science, and will have had some exposure to interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary research programs. Disciplines include, but are not limited to, social geography, planning, information science, sociology and cultural anthropology, environmental studies, natural resources management, marine studies, among others.
  • Students will be skilled in social science research methods, and ideally have experience in social impact assessment or social license research.
  • Experience with IT including programming and systems work is an asset, but is not required, as the increased sophistication and usability of machine learning tools means leveraging this technology is a teachable skill.
  • Success in writing of peer-reviewed journal articles (in English).

We are eager to diversify our team through this recruitment, so particularly invite applications from people whose identity or circumstances puts them in a position of being underserved in the academic context. Applications should be sent to me at kate.sherren@dal.ca including the following in the order shown in a single PDF, with the subject line ‘OGEN application [SURNAME]’:

  • A letter of interest (maximum two pages) that describes your background, your interest in the project, and your qualifications and capacity to carry it out effectively.
  • Names and contact details for three potential referees.
  • A c. v. (curriculum vitae)
  • Unofficial transcripts from undergraduate and graduate study

The full job ad can be read here.

Miscellany: defenses, projects, CBC Maritime Noon

It has been a busy week or so, but as the snow gets flying for our first big storm of the winter season here in Halifax, I have a little time to breathe and acknowledge some of end-of-term milestones among other things.

  • Last Friday, Dec 11, Kiana Endresz presented her final MMM project which was funded by ResNet  to explore the nearshore fisheries implications of salt marsh restoration. Two ResNet partners led this work: John Brazner of the NS Dept of Lands and Forestry was her supervisor, and she also carried out an internship with CBWES, where Tony Bowron supported her pilot test to explore incoming and outgoing fish using fyke nets.
  • On Monday, Dec 14, Krysta Sutton defended her MES thesis, titled Understanding perceptions of coastal climate change and nature-based coastal adaptation: Using communicative framing in experimental focus groups in Nova Scotia, Canada. Thanks to Liette Vasseur (Brock) for being her external examiner, and Lisa Berglund (Dalhousie, School of Planning) for serving as her committee member.
  • Today, Dec 17, Dorothy Okene presented her MREM project results, The well-being of adaptive graziers: A look at Canadian beef farmers. Dorothy joined the end of the Reconciling HM project this past summer to code up the free text components of the end-of-grant survey run with ranchers last winter.  Congratulations to all the MREM students who finished up this week, including my other advisees Brittany Bonapace, Shannon Hicks and Dan Phillips.

Finally, I had to step away from MREM presentations today to do a call-in show on CBC Radio 1 called Maritime Noon, inspired by the publication of a new photography book by H. M. Scott Smith, Planet Digby.  His macro shots of ships hulls and reflections evoke landscapes and he imagines them as foreshadowing the novel landscapes of climate change. Callers were invited to talk about what changes they are seeing from climate change. Some interesting observations were made by callers about the long-term responsibility for the armoring material being used that is changing many shorelines, the need for a two-eyed seeing approach, and the future of the Tantramar Marsh. Great to meet some engaged Canadians on the radio.  Have a listen here (starts 17:20).

 

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