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.
Institutional entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration, illustrated.
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.
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.
Hard at work while Andy Gonzalez and Marie-Josee Fortin talk monitoring.
Cleared by surgeon to return to work last Monday. Left that afternoon for a two-day trip to Montreal for a workshop to plan a new NSERC project using ecosystem services to aid decision-making in production landscapes. Landscape and thematic teams from across the country joined with engaged partners from across the public and private sector, all inspired by the big vision and strong leadership of Prof Elena Bennett. Thrilled to be co-leading the Atlantic case study for this big new proposal, with such a great interdisciplinary team, and also enjoyed being the SSHRC devil’s advocate in the mix.