This week another paper is out in Journal of Rural Studies from my lab, this time a paper led by former postdoc Wes Tourangeau based on my 2016 sabbatical field work in the Falklands. We used the re-emergent Leverage Points framework, originally developed by Donella Meadows, to analyze the management strategies used by Falkland wool producers in the face of a drying climate. Up until the 1980s the landscape was divided into massive properties, run largely ranch-style by locals for overseas owners. With post-war land reforms, properties were broken into largely family-sized units, and here the practices began to diverge. We’ve mapped those various strategies along the leverage points framework. All the strategies have some leverage, but the Holistic Management practitioners are working much ‘deeper’ with their systems thinking and goal setting. The paper uses many quotes to illustrate how these play out in practice and affect the day-to-day and longer term.
Thanks to Wes Tourangeau, the first paper is now out in People and Nature (open access) from my sabbatical trip to the Falklands back in late 2016. This emerged from my mild obsession with the 2 m high tussac grasses that once fringed the archipelago. Tussac are critical ecologically but are so delicious to stock they only tend to remain on ungrazed outer islands (which are actually called ‘tussac islands’ as a result). I never saw any up close on my first trip in 2015, which stuck quite close to Stanley, but was lucky to get out to camp in 2016 to meet some farmers who were passionate about the plant and its restoration. This paper is an environmental history of tussac in the Falklands, from its first observation by explorers, to its exploitation and its hopeful renewal despite integration in production.
The HM project is winding up, now in its extension year with SSHRC, and that means staffing is starting to contract. Really sad to see postdoc Wes Tourangeau heading out the door this week after 22 months, but happy that he is starting an important new stage of his career as a limited term appointment at Saint Mary’s University. As he leaves he has one paper out and five papers in first or second review–five of those six he led–across a wide range of topics and methods. That pile of library books includes works on the Falklands and its wool economy, statistics, environmental ethics, environmental history and more. I feel very lucky to have had such a rigorous and adaptable scholar work with me for such a duration. Best of luck, Wes!
Thanks to the organizers of Coastal Zone Canada 2018 last week in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where our NRCan project Making Room for Movement was launched. We ran a back-to-back special sessions to introduce the project and explore its conceptual and practical foundations, with presentations from SMU PI Danika van Proosdij, MPlan student Matt Conlin, Dal Planning prof Patricia Manuel and I. Postdoc Tuihedur Rahman and I put together a presentation on social aspects of nature-based coastal adaptation, as well as some of the conceptual foundations of this concept, proposing climax thinking as our experimental frame for the work to come. Despite an incredibly hot room, thanks to unseasonably warm conditions for Newfoundland, attendance was strong, in the presentations (below) as well as the subsequent workshop session. It was wonderful to be among practitioners, consultants and public servants as well as academics for a few days to explore the challenges along coasts.
It was also special to have the opportunity to explore The Rooms at the Tuesday dinner event, including the wonderful Newfoundland Gallery and Museum. I rounded a corner in the gallery and was faced with a great portrait of my grandmother’s uncle, Captain Bob Bartlett by Margaret Fitzhugh Browne, and was also moved by the map of the taking of Demasduit, drawn by the last Beothuk, Shanawdithit (her niece), images of resettled island outports (right) and struggling livyers, and the brave young members of the Newfoundland Regiment in WWI.