Proud to see Mehrnoosh Mohammadi ably defend her MES about energy infrastructure in vineyards on Friday, starting with a strong presentation of the mixed methods and findings, followed by questions from her committee and examiner and an in camera deliberation. I’ve never seen so many guests at a defense; Mehrnoosh had many friends and family calling in from near and far to support her, as well as a few students and other scholars. My SRES colleague Dr. Michelle Adams was an excellent examiner, bringing lots of ideas from her work at the interface of sustainability and business, and my former postdoc Dr. H. M. Tuihedur Rahman provided wonderful support as committee member and stats expert. Dr. Heather Cray chaired it in record time. The work was funded by SSHRC, thanks to an IDG led by Dr. Kirby Calvert, a Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship, and a Parya Scholarship. Thanks to all who helped it happen, and of course congratulations to Mehrnoosh.
Congratulations to Mehrnoosh Mohammadi, who won one of three poster awards at this week’s Landscape 2021 meeting in Europe (remotely), which is an international event focuses on sustainable agriculture through diversity and multifunctionality. On top of a certificate, this award will fund her to attend the next meeting in 2024. Mehrnoosh is in the final stages of her MES here in SRES, and her poster covers the first paper planned from her thesis, Terroir as an Ecosystem Service in Vineyard Landscapes: A Social Media Approach, which combines thematic coding, hierarchical cluster analysis and innovative collage visualization methods (to balance concerns of copyright and privacy online). Her work is funded by the Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarships and funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Kirby Calvert, PI) for a project concerned with integrating renewable energy into vineyard landscapes. Her next paper also uses Instagram but explores the impact of wind farms and solar panels on vineyard visitors, using more clever methods such as photo editing and saliency mapping.
As decision-makers tackle the challenge of adapting Bay of Fundy dykelands to climate change, they need to understand who uses and values dykelands and salt marshes, and for what. This new paper in Ocean and Coastal Management, Comparing cultural ecosystem service delivery in dykelands and marshes using Instagram: A case of the Cornwallis (Jijuktu’kwejk) River, Nova Scotia, Canada, used four months of geocoded Instagram data to understand the cultural ecosystem service (CES) tradeoffs that might result from removing/realigning dykes and restoring salt marshes where dykelands can’t be sustained. Dykelands provide a much wider set of CES for a wider demographic than do marshes for this set of social media users. However, a big surprise is that while salt marshes were present in many photos they were not named as such; users spoke only about the dykes and dykelands behind those marshes. As such, the marsh CES in the dataset came from visitors to an impounded freshwater wetland trail which is a local attraction walkable from the downtown centre of Kentville. Many of the messages triangulate well with the 2016 online Q survey I ran with Nova Scotians about the same topic and the paper provides another nice case study as to the utility of social media data for social impact assessment. One of the really great things about this paper is that it is a real ‘lab’ output. The work was initiated as a follow-up to that 2016 study and to inform the new ResNet work when I knew Camille was going to be joining as an intern from AgroCampus Ouest. PhD student Yan collected a few months of Instagram posts for Camille to analyze with her help, postdoc Tuihedur helped with statistics, and then Yan picked it up again to write up after Camille went back to France. I’m proud of this paper and this collaborative team.
Yan Chen was in Toronto again for Social Media & Society, this time presenting collaborative work that was initiated by French intern Camille Caesemaecker, from Agrocampus Ouest. This has led Yan to thinking about a new kind of landscape change using Instagram, after her hydroelectricity work: understanding perceptions of the Bay of Fundy dykelands versus the wetlands they replaced. Those dykelands are becoming ever more difficult to sustain under sea level and storm conditions associated with climate change, and some will have to be realigned and/or restored to salt marsh. This work based on four months of Instagram support the strong female pro-dykeland factor–concerned about culture and recreation–also found through Q-method a few years ago. Nice when triangulation happens.
The second paper from Yan Chen’s MES thesis is now out in Society and Natural Resources, Leveraging social media to understand younger people’s perceptions and use of hydroelectric energy landscapes. It is a research note demonstrating the utility of manual coding and conceptual mapping of a year of Instagram images around two hydroelectricity sites to predict how changes might affect young residents. Unlike her first thesis paper in Landscape and Urban Planning, which carried out spatial mapping of value ‘hotspots’–a method widespread in today’s growing literature on cultural ecosystem services–this paper makes statistical links between features, activities and values conveyed through Instagram. The diagrams provide insight to the lifestyle and emotions associated with different landscape features, some changeable with hydro development or removal, and informs our new work on conservation culturomics for social impact assessment. Yan continues to drive this work as an IDPhD student. Congratulations, Yan.