My panel lineup on April 13 at the OECD expert workshop on Resilience and the Ocean-Climate Nexus
Yesterday and today I’ve been enjoying participating in an OECD expert workshop on Resilience and the Ocean-Climate Nexus, an initiative of their new horizontal programme. This was cohosted by the Portuguese delegation to the OECD. I was invited to share experiences from Nova Scotia in a panel on OECD country experiences on ocean climate impacts and resilience, allowing me to update the Truro dyke realignment case study I led for the OECD volume Responding to Rising Seas a few years ago and talking about some more recent developments like the Coastal Protection Act. My co-panelists brought more national (Vasco Becker-Weinberg of Portugal on Marine Spatial Planning and the law), and international perspectives (Georg Borsting of Norway on the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy). Our discussion across these scales was productive and stimulating. I was glad for the opportunity to bring a coastal and social perspective to this event, with an RSVP list of over 260 people from 58 different countries, many of them practitioners or from government.
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.
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!
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.
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 Research, Ecosystem 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.