The Motivation-Values Triangle advanced by Tourangeau et al. (in press) in Human Dimensions of Wildlife.
This new paper has been a little while coming. The survey that we ran in relation to the Wood Turtle Strides program back in Spring 2017 was designed to help us understand whether introducing incentives for conservation into Nova Scotia would have any impact on motivations to do conservation. Already, many farmers in the region voice pretty strong support of biodiversity, using a discourse of ‘balance’. I wondered: if we start paying people to do it, will their more intrinsic motivations get ‘crowded out’? The size of the participant list involved in the program made this hard to answer definitively, but it certainly didn’t seem likely to crowd out conservation motivations for their neighbours to learn about the payments. That first paper came out last year in The Canadian Geographer.
Today, a new paper is out in Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Beyond intrinsic: a call to combine scales on motivation and environmental values in wildlife and farmland conservation research, that emerged from a bit of a surprise in that data. The statements we used to measure motivation for carrying out riparian management were based on a well-used scale, but we discovered whenever we used the word ‘wildlife’, responses correlated strongly together. Then-postdoc Wes Tourangeau took this as a challenge and developed a theoretical recommendation about how to explore motivations in such situations, arguing that motivations are entangled with environmental values such as ecocentrism and thus both should be tested.
Coast-to-coast cream of the crop: Phil Loring, Brian Robinson, Anne Salomon, Evan Fraser and Elena Bennett all cramming slides for the NSERC SPG-N site visit at McGill back in Spring 2019.
The media blackout has finally been lifted, thanks to a whimper of a press release from NSERC, that our Strategic Partnership Grant for Networks led by Elena Benett at McGill was successful! This is the culmination of a few years of partnership formation, collaboration and grant-writing. NSERC ResNet, the short name for our “network for monitoring, modeling, and managing Canada’s ecosystem services for sustainability and resilience”, will advance Ecosystem Services (ES) as a framework for thinking and working across disciplines to make better decisions in this country. The project will apply ES to contentious production landscape issues across Canada, including the Atlantic case study I’m co-leading with Jeremy Lundholm and Danika van Proosdij on the Bay of Fundy dykelands. We’ve got great partners, and a very active case as the NS Department of Agriculture is already deciding which dykelands can and should be sustained, and which realigned and/or restored to salt marsh. This project will allow us to wrap a research programme around that ongoing work, and leverage experts across the country. I look forward to the next 5+ years with this exceptional team.
Happy to announce another paper out of our Reconciling HM project, based on work Carolyn Mann led after her MSc. Our overarching question for her work has been, “are HM farmers born or made?” and that has indeed been an elusive question to answer. We started by talking to HM trainers across North America, and certainly learned that the paradigmatic shifts are seen as the most important by trainers but also more challenging to teach and to adopt than grazing skills; that work was published in Sustainability last year.
This new paper, recently out in Ecology & Society, used Q method with a set of HM trainers, as well as farmers variously identifying as HM or ‘somewhat HM’. Sorting of statements about farming that were selected as being generically systems or traditional in nature revealed archetypes that reveal the trainers to be firmly systems experts, and trainees to be more weakly aligned with systems thinking though in some cases aspirational. Our question remains: does HM training attract those with the capacity for systems thinkers, which will necessarily be a subset of all farmers, or can it indeed be taught?