Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: research output (page 1 of 12)

New Falklands paper on tussac

Falkland farmers Ben Berntsen @ben_benebf and Marilou Delignières (also guide and co-author) among Ben's tussac restoration at Cape Dolphin, Falkland Islands, Nov 2016.

Falkland farmers Ben Berntsen @ben_benebf and Marilou Delignières (also guide and co-author) among Ben’s tussac restoration at Cape Dolphin, Falkland Islands, Nov 2016.

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.

Is HM = systems thinking?

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?

Yan at SMS 2019

Yan Chen presenting at Social Media and Society 2019 in Toronto

Yan Chen presenting at Social Media and Society 2019 in Toronto

Yan Chen was in Toronto again for Social Media & Society, this time presenting collaborative work that was initiated by French intern Camille Caesemaecker, from Agrocampus Ouest. This has led Yan to thinking about a new kind of landscape change using Instagram, after her hydroelectricity work: understanding perceptions of the Bay of Fundy dykelands versus the wetlands they replaced. Those dykelands are becoming ever more difficult to sustain under sea level and storm conditions associated with climate change, and some will have to be realigned and/or restored to salt marsh. This work based on four months of Instagram support the strong female pro-dykeland factor–concerned about culture and recreation–also found through Q-method a few years ago. Nice when triangulation happens.

IVSA by Amtrak

Beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs, NY

Beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs, NY

Just back on the weekend from a trip to my first IVSA (International Visual Sociology Association) conference, in Saratoga Springs, NY. What a fascinating group of people: sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, documentarians and artists all come together to explore the intersection of visual culture and society. A very international group, too, and welcoming to new members like me. I think I’ll have to straddle IVSA and ISSRM as academic homes from now on. Hoping to get to Dublin for IVSA2020.

Thanks ecent for this very meta shot of me.

Thanks ecent for this very meta shot of me.

Highlights were many. John Grady’s categorization of picture-making traditions was compelling, as was Anna Sarzynska’s typology of the unintended impacts of tourist photography and Celine Missoorten’s observations on reasons for the rebirth of analog photography and slow media. Dee Britton took a compelling semi-quantitative approach to explore Civil War memorials spatially and over time, feeding into documentary footage from Charlottesville shared by Joyce Sebag and Jean-Pierre Durand, and a reimagining of the Virginia state flag by Eric Sencindiver. Relebohile Moletsane explored the academic push-back she has received about using PhotoVoice with South African girls documenting their sexual abuse.  One session about using photos and PhotoVoice in the university setting had lots of great ideas for my qualitative class, and inspired a fascinating discussion about how to represent minority students in university marketing. Australian documentary filmmaker Catherine Gough-Brady explored our capacity to empathize without a hero, and US filmmaker Kathy Kasic described her ‘sensory verite’ approach in documenting Antarctic ice core research. Documentaries were playing in an adjacent room, of which I caught Expect Delays (by Gough-Brady) and parts of Arrhythmia and The Area. Plenary guests Youth FX/Rogue FX blew us all away as a model for empowerment and training.

Royal Roads' Jean Slick painted this based on YouTube videos of dash cam footage of the Fort McMurray fire evacuation.

Royal Roads’ Jean Slick painted this based on YouTube videos of dash cam footage of the Fort McMurray fire evacuation.

Canadians were outstanding, as is to be expected: Carolina Cambre and Christine Lawrence shared work on teens and selfie filters in Canada; Jean Slick painted the Fort McMurray evacuation experience from YouTube videos from dash cams (see one above); and Guillaume Clermont passed over a dozen paintings around the room to make tangible his points on reproduction, ‘originality’ and the ‘image flood’. The sessions were very well organized thematically, with lots of time for rich discussion. My discussion of culturomic tools was well received, fitting nicely into Paolo Faveri’s exploration of GPS tracking tools and other means of revealing the forces that drive how people use our urban spaces, and Christine Louveau de la Guignereye on the challenges of engaging with new media including coding literacy, asking: “is multimedia like Esperanto, a false good idea?”

While loathe to leave, I was excited to hop back on the Amtrak to Montreal, by which I’d also arrived. The trip is a stunning one, along Lac Champlain and adjacent rivers, looking across high water levels and heron-rich wetlands to Mountains in Vermont. Well worth the US$92 return price. I’d do it just for fun, but the train was almost empty. People of Montreal, what are you doing?

Along the Amtrak from Saratoga Springs to Montreal.

Views along the Amtrak from Saratoga Springs to Montreal.

The mountains of Vermont across Lac Champlain, from the Saratoga Springs to Montreal Amtrak train.

The mountains of Vermont across Lac Champlain, from the Saratoga Springs to Montreal Amtrak train.

 

Urban paper in Ecosystem Services

Planning imperatives related to ecosystem services in urban planning (Figure 3 in Thompson et al. 2019)

Planning imperatives related to ecosystem services in urban planning (Figure 3 in Thompson et al. 2019)

Congratulations to Kate Thompson, for the first of her PhD comprehensive papers which has just come out in Ecosystem Services. Kate reviewed dozens of municipal plans in Canada, coding deductively for ecosystem services concepts using the new CICES framework, and synthesized what she found into a useful new model for urban planners. The paper, The use of ecosystem services concepts in Canadian municipal plans, translates ecosystem services to ‘planning imperatives’: protect ES supply, mimic and rebuild ES, and capitalize on ES. I am sure this paper will be useful to scholars and practitioners alike.

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