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Tag: biodiversity-friendly farming (Page 1 of 2)

New paper in Human Dimensions of Wildlife

The Motivation-Values Triangle advanced by Tourangeau et al. (in press) in Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

The Motivation-Values Triangle advanced by Tourangeau et al. (in press) in Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

This new paper has been a little while coming. The survey that we ran in relation to the Wood Turtle Strides program back in Spring 2017 was designed to help us understand whether introducing incentives for conservation into Nova Scotia would have any impact on motivations to do conservation. Already, many farmers in the region voice pretty strong support of biodiversity, using a discourse of ‘balance’. I wondered: if we start paying people to do it, will their more intrinsic motivations get ‘crowded out’? The size of the participant list involved in the program made this hard to answer definitively, but it certainly didn’t seem likely to crowd out conservation motivations for their neighbours to learn about the payments. That first paper came out last year in The Canadian Geographer.

Today, a new paper is out in Human Dimensions of WildlifeBeyond intrinsic: a call to combine scales on motivation and environmental values in wildlife and farmland conservation research, that emerged from a bit of a surprise in that data. The statements we used to measure motivation for carrying out riparian management were based on a well-used scale, but we discovered whenever we used the word ‘wildlife’, responses correlated strongly together. Then-postdoc Wes Tourangeau took this as a challenge and developed a theoretical recommendation about how to explore motivations in such situations, arguing that motivations are entangled with environmental values such as ecocentrism and thus both should be tested.

Congrats to Reg Newell

Reg Newell receives the NSIA Honorary Member Award from NSFA's Kathryn Bremner

Reg Newell receives the NSIA Honorary Member Award from NSFA’s Kathryn Bremner, Truro, April 25, 2018. Photo Glen Parsons

Quick note to say congratulations to Reg Newell, recently retired as the Nova Scotia – Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Stewardship Coordinator at NS Department of Natural Resources, for his Honorary Member Award from the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists. Lovely that the award was presented by another one of our favourite people in my lab, Kathryn Bremner (NS Environmental Farm Planner) of the NS Federation of Agriculture. Reg and Kathryn have been critical to our work on biodiversity-friendly farming, including our assessment of the Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation program, the BioLOG website that came out of it, and Wood Turtle Strides that came out of that.  Bravo, Reg!


New BioLOG banner at NSFA AGM, December 2017.

New BioLOG banner at NSFA AGM, December 2017.

Simon Greenland-Smith is representing the lab and Wood Turtle Strides today at the AGM for the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. Great to see this new banner for BioLOG in place at the trade show component, thanks to our collaborators at the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. Love the boots! The DNR’s gorgeous new Field Guide to Forest Biodiversity Stewardship are also available for pick-up.

Protecting wood turtles on farms

Guest post by Simon Greenland-Smith, Wood Turtle Strides project manager and MES alum 2014

An elusive wood turtle found is a good day.

An elusive wood turtle found is a good day (photo: Simon Greenland-Smith)

Working with species at risk almost never provides instant gratification. Wood Turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) are a long-lived, slow-to-mature species that have a bad habit of getting struck by farm equipment, often not making it to reproductive age. This has led to a steady decline in their populations in Nova Scotia and beyond. The same traits make their recovery a particular challenge.

Since August 2016, a collaborative team (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change Canada and many other organizations) has been working on a novel approach to Wood Turtle conservation in Nova Scotia. Wood Turtle Strides is a program design to encourage farmers to sign stewardship agreements and implement Beneficial Management Practices that will help avoid striking and killing Wood Turtles. Uniquely, Wood Turtle Strides offers financial incentives to farmers that are designed to help farmers meet their production goals while also meeting their conservation goals. Time after time through surveys, interviews and other social science methods, we have learned that both these goals are important to farmers and striking a balance between them is a concept that resonates strongly with farmers. For instance, farmers can receive ‘per-hectare incentives’ to raise their mower blades above the maximum height of the turtles, increasing their chances of survival to reproductive age. Currently, Wood Turtle Strides has 7-9 enrolled farmers, but we are hoping to attract around 30 farms and sign incentive-based stewardship agreements worth over $100K (CAD).

Found one!

Found one!

Wood Turtles live a slow life, and working toward their conservation can be equally slow, but finding Wood Turtles alive and well in the wild can be particularly rewarding. It certainly keeps the energy high among the Wood Turtle Strides team!

For more info on Wood Turtle Strides visit Also, keep an eye out for our new Wood Turtle animated video which will be available (along with two other great animations on biodiversity-friendly farming) on our extension  YouTube channel (Kate says, “we have a YouTube channel?”).

Alumni in the news

Wood Turtles are a species at risk in Nova Scotia.

Wood Turtles are a species at risk in Nova Scotia.

Two SRES grads were in the news together last week. Simon Greenland-Smith, MES and now working for the NSFA (though he still sits down the hall), is launching his new Wood Turtle Strides farmer incentive program for species at risk, with the help of Katie McLean, MREM and now Clean Annapolis River Project. Another recent MREM grad, Mhari Lamarque, is also working on the Wood Turtle Strides project doing program evaluation.

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