Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: wetlands (page 2 of 2)

Wetlands and Climate Change

The view of the Sprott wind farm from the Amherst Ducks Unlimited office driveway.

The view of the Sprott wind farm from the Amherst Ducks Unlimited office driveway.

I enjoyed getting out of the office last week to Moncton and Amherst. In Moncton I attended a Climate Change Adaptation and Infrastructure meeting sponsored by the Climate Change departments of the Atlantic Province governments with NRCan funding. This year’s meeting was on infrastructure, and included participants including engineers, planners, NGOs, decision-makers and researchers on discussions of infrastructure renewal in the face of climate challenges. While being disappointingly light on social science – clearly infrastrcture change can have significant social implications, viz wind farms, hydro dams and dykelands – it was a great networking opportunity. Lots of SRES alumni and other people I had been hoping to connect with on other matters.

I spent that evening in Sackville, connecting with colleagues from Mount Allison University. The next morning I spent at Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Amherst office, talking to the Atlantic region Outreach through Events committee about conservation messaging, supporter engagement and program evaluation. We hope to do some Mitacs-funded research with them this summer around youth engagement. A particularly funny point was some remedial education via YouTube of one of the committee members who was unfamiliar with the term ‘hoser‘.

Talk to NSFA Leaders Council

marginalreportcoverAfter two snow days here in Halifax, Simon Greenland-Smith was off to Truro last Wednesday to present the results of our Marginal Land survey (final report now available) to the Council of Leaders of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA). The NSFA is our partner on the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Land (SARPAL) project funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Council of Leaders includes the NSFA executive as well as regional and commodity representatives from across the province. They were interested in the research findings, particularly evidence that Nova Scotia farmers have a strong stewardship ethic.

New paper on dykeland futures

Graphical abstract for a new paper in Land Use Policy on dykeland futures in Nova Scotia.

Graphical abstract for a new paper in Land Use Policy on dykeland futures in Nova Scotia.

Pleased to have a new paper out in Land Use Policy with former MREM intern Logan Loik on how Nova Scotians perceive agricultural dykelands in the face of climate change. Bay of Fundy dykelands are Canada’s only UNESCO-listed agricultural landscapes because of their origins in the 1600s with French settlers.  These structures protect little active farmland today, but governance is still in the hands of the farming sector. They are more often used for recreation, or to protect residential, commercial or transportation infrastructure. Climate projections suggest considerable effort and expense will be required to raise all dykes to the levels necessary to withstand sea level rise and storm surges, but it may be that decommissioning some dykes and restoring coastal wetlands may be more resilient. We asked 183 Nova Scotians to sort statements about dykelands, wetlands and coastal governance. The dominant discourse from this Q-method study was supportive of maintaining dykelands for recreational, cultural and flood protection reasons; the next most prevalent was pragmatically supportive of wetland restoration for efficiency purposes. Results suggest challenges for the process of managed realignment, as well as climate adaptation in cultural landscapes more generally, but also some new analytical opportunities for large-n Q-method research.

Wetland/Dykeland book launch

New books by Rod Giblett and Gregory Kennedy

New books by Rod Giblett and Gregory Kennedy

I attended an excellent book launch on Sunday for two new volumes related to wetlands and their cultural perceptions and use. The event was appropriately held at the Landscape of Grand Pré visitor’s centre, which commemorates the Acadian culture that arose on ‘reclaimed’ Bay of Fundy marshland in the 1600s. The site is Canada’s only cultural agricultural landscape listed by UNESCO for World Heritage. The event was hosted by Rob Summerby-Murray, lately the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences here at Dalhousie, and now President at Saint Mary’s University, whose own scholarship on the Tantramar marshes nicely tied the two topics together. The discussion that followed was rich, focussing largely on the Grand Pré landscape itself, as a case study of place, culture, ecosystem and landscape management challenges, particularly in the face of climate change, as my own recent research on dykelands (still in review) has found.

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