We just wrapped up the last day of our second online AGM for ResNet. In fact, we have never met together in person since becoming funded in mid-2019. We opted to hold our launch meeting later that year online to save carbon. Then came COVID-19. We’re getting pretty damn good at this online thing, though. The meeting was well-planned and engaging, held over three days. There was great turnout from Landscape 1 and strong leadership and engagement by our outstanding HQP: I’m always proud of our team in these settings. I love that ResNet feels so much like a community at this early stage. Thanks to PI Elena Bennett and the Central team at McGill for all the hard work.
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.
Thanks to Ivan Jarić, from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, for inviting Yan Chen and I onto this interesting new paper out in PLOS Biology today, Expanding conservation culturomics and iEcology from terrestrial to aquatic realms. This geographically and disciplinarily diverse writing team led to many rich conversations and debates as the manuscript took shape. The idea was to differentiate the emerging field of iEcology from conservation culturomics, and advocate for their application in aquatic realms which have a dearth of data. Our work on advancing social impact assessment of hydroelectricity and dyke realignment using Instagram datasets provided one of the six key areas of application outlined in this paper.
Congratulations to Tuihedur for his first paper from the postdoctoral fellowship that sees him working across Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s, out today open access in Sustainability. He used his knowledge of the institutional literature to ground our existing case study of the North Onslow dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration project–first written as the Canadian chapter in an OECD report Responding to Rising Seas–and analyzed it through the lens of institutional entrepreneurship. This involved synthesizing the characteristics of such entrepreneurs from the literature, mapping the existing jurisdictional responsibilities around coastal management in Nova Scotia, and demonstrating how those responsibilities were leveraged in the flood-prone Truro area. Even in the absence of coastal protection legislation, three government departments were able to collaborate to create a new ‘way of doing things’ that served their own objectives with coastal adaptation and flood mitigation as a happy by-product.
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.