A few years ago when my lab was given the opportunity by ECCC’s SARPAL program to initiate the first farmer incentive program in Nova Scotia for species-at-risk habitat management, I was a bit worried about introducing payments into a space where I already knew farmers were pretty supportive of biodiversity. Kate Goodale‘s and Simon Greenland-Smith‘s theses, and some of our later work together, demonstrated the ‘balance’ mindset farmers have toward wildlife and habitat. I was concerned that such intrinsic motivations would be crowded out by the payments, either for those who receive them, or for those who see others receiving them. We designed research around our new program, Wood Turtle Strides (WTS), to allow for pre- and post-tests of motivations around riparian management among those eligible and participating in WTS, as well as an experimental survey with other farmers in the province. We were unable to measure crowding among participants, for a few reasons (in part because of the small first-year n, but also because the program is not yet done), but there was no indication of second-hand crowding. The paper on this work is out today in The Canadian Geographer.
REVISED Jan 12, 2020 – These openings are now filled.
It’s recruiting time, and I currently can offer up to three possible positions for students starting in fall 2020. More may become available in the spring as word comes about grants, but for the time being, I’d be keen to hear from students interested in the following projects:
- Cultural ecosystem services in Bay of Fundy dykelands and salt marshes. I am looking for up to two MES to tackle research on how settlers and Mi’kmaq use and value the drained agricultural land (dykelands) and the salt marshes they replaced (and to which sections will return if abandoned or realigned). These students will become part of the Atlantic landscape case of NSERC ResNet, a national collaborative project designed to develop the utility of ecosystems service approaches for resolving complex resource decisions. Candidates should be socially curious, ideally trained in social science fields (e.g. first degrees in Geography, Environmental Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Planning) and interested in methods such as quantitative surveys and/or semi-structured interviews. First Nation students are particularly encouraged to apply.
- Manufacturing envy: discourses of consumption and amenity in property television. I have offered up this topic to this year’s SRES Legacy Scholarship program. The ideal candidate is a high-achieving Canadian citizen or PR, as the Legacy is limited to Canadians with a two-year GPA above 4. Suitable backgrounds would include Geography, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Planning or Visual Art.
If you are interested, please read this before you get in touch to express interest. If you can get in touch before additional scholarship deadlines start closing in early December, that would be ideal.
Interesting day yesterday with the MacEachen Institute’s panel on climate change policy, “Resilience or Reluctance?”. It is available online here. My contribution hinged on climax thinking, and its application in coastal adaptation in NS. Having the sublime Megan Leslie there, a week before election, bought us some coverage (CTV/Canadian Press, as well as this nice piece in DalNews). The next day, panel chair Blair Feltmate and SRES alumna/HRM Energy & Environment head Shannon Miedema led a workshop on climate adaptation. Always great to have discussions cross academic/policy/practice lines. Below is Bernard showing me data contradictory to Feltmate’s message on fossil fuel futures and the futility of mitigation.
Exciting week in the Sherren lab. IDPhD student Yan Chen expertly sat her first comp on Monday, covering her literature review on ‘media as social sensors’. Ellen Chappell crossed the stage Tuesday with her MES, and I got to meet her charming (and proud) parents visiting from Calgary for the event. Wednesday I pressed the submit button on my new SSHRC Insight Grant application to further develop ‘climax thinking‘. On Thursday, new MES Gardenio da Silva was honoured with other Killam scholars at the annual awards lunch. Amidst all that PhD student Bernard Soubry has been visiting from Montreal and did a great presentation Tuesday in Graduate Seminar for me on his reciprocal approach to interviewing farmers, and will speak later today in a SRES Talk on his work with the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Busy times, but this is what it is all about.
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.