Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: Agriculture (Page 3 of 5)

Seedling news from Allendale

Volunteer eucalypt seedlings under holistic management on Allendale, in Southeastern Australia. photo: David Marsh

Volunteer eucalypt seedlings under holistic management on Allendale, in Southeastern Australia. Photo: David Marsh.

Lovely to get an email this week from David Marsh, one of the collaborators in my post-doctoral research on scattered trees under grazing in Australia, from a 40 degree day in NSW, to share news of spontaneous seedling recruitment under his rotational livestock grazing regime:

I thought you may be interested in this pic of regenerating volunteer eucalypts, e. Blakelyii and e. Melliodora. This never happened with constant grazing. We have about three hundred volunteers like this dotted around the place and have managed to protect them from cattle with temporary electric tape when we are grazing those paddocks. Note the paddock in the background full of thistles compared to foreground with not many. Dominance in the community can be influenced by grazing and appropriate recovery. However, we also have some big thistle paddocks this year and my observation is that where they are worst is in our old cropping paddocks. Lots of introduced inorganic fertilisers, chemicals and disturbance. It takes land a long time to get over that.

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.

A lovely day in the Musquodoboit

Cows grazing along the Old Guysborough Road.

Cows grazing along the Old Guysborough Road.

I had a great day today at a workshop organized by the Nova Scotia Eastern Habitat Joint Venture folks, who administer the North American Waterfowl Management Plan activities in this region. Many of my existing collaborators on farm wetland and biodiversity issues across government and NGOs were present, to share our work and discuss common interests in the Musquodoboit River area. It was a beautifully sunny morning, on a warmer than average day, and so wonderful to get out of town and into the countryside. Great to be feeling a growing interest in social science within the conservation and agricultural science community.

Marginal land survey at ASFWB

Today and tomorrow, Simon Greenland-Smith is in Cape Breton for the 52nd meeting of the Atlantic Society of Fish and Wildlife Biologists. He is talking about the Marginal Land survey, which is currently winding up with a ~37% response rate, remarkable for a summer/fall survey of farmers and above our goal of 33%. In the past few years, I or individuals from my lab have comprised the only social science contributions to this event, but this year I note a presentation about a Bird Studies Canada survey on farmer perceptions of aerial insectivores. Many other presentations relate to the Big Meadow Bog restoration project at Brier Island, and its various elements.

Silvo-Pastoral World Congress

The Silvo-Pastoral World Congress is happening next September in Evora, Portugal.

The Silvo-Pastoral World Congress is happening next September in Evora, Portugal.

I am co-convening a session at next year’s World Congress on Silvo-Pastoral Systems. I love interdisciplinary problem-based conferences like this one, which is focussed on “systems which combine trees with animal grazing, in combination with crops, in regions of the world with two seasons, one dry and one wet, and thus drought as a limiting factor”. My Australian work on scattered trees fits in here, but also new work on holistic management.  I am co-convening a theme on ‘large scale trends: assessing and mapping at the regional and global scale‘ with Guillermo Martinez-Pastur from Argentina, but there are many other themes, including on socio-economics. We are looking for a diversity of landscapes to be represented. Abstracts are closing November 30th. Please pass this on to anyone you think may be interested.

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