Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: synthesis

New paper: social media methods for SIA

Synthesis figure in the new Current Sociology paper showing sample workflows within a range of possibilities.

This week a new open access paper came out in a special issue (monograph) of Current Sociology about Social Impact Assessment. The special issue was led by Guadalupe Ortiz and Antonio Aledo, and their introductory essay is worth a read, as is Frank Vanclay’s epilogue, reflecting on 50 years of SIA and asking “is it still fit for purpose?”. Our offering, Social media and social impact assessment: Evolving methods in a shifting context, reflects on a decade of research using mostly Instagram to understand the social impacts of developments such as hydroelectricity, wind energy and coastal dyke realignment. The above demonstrates the current state of the art in terms of workflows, and shows how several of our studies have navigated those options. The paper also talks about the challenges, practical and ethical, of using social media datasets, and calls for government support in securing ongoing access for the purposes of public good research, a topic also recently argued by Ethan Zuckerman in Prospect Magazine. Most of the work synthesized in this paper has been published elsewhere, except the brilliant work that Mehrnoosh Mohammadi did on developing a collage approach to communicating common features in social media images to protect both copyright and privacy concerns (see below). This is a method we advocated back in 2017 and it is wonderful to see it in action.

A collage by Mehrnoosh Mohammadi of 16 photos captured in NS vineyards and posted on Instagram, showing seasonal change from left to right.

Two papers in PECS collection

A special article collection in Ecosystems & People on “Ten Years of the Program on Ecosystem Change and Society” (i.e. PECS), features two papers that I have co-authored. The first, led by Elena Bennett, indomitable NSERC ResNet PI, came out back in December: Facing the challenges of using place-based social-ecological research to support ecosystem service governance at multiple scales. This paper uses the ResNet structure of landscape case studies (including our Bay of Fundy dykelands) and integrative themes as an opportunity to explore the challenges of knowledge integration we face, and how we are trying to tackle those. The second paper was led by a close colleague since my time at ANU, Joern Fischer, and just came out this week: Using a leverage points perspective to compare social-ecological systems: a case study on rural landscapes. This one uses the leverage points framework to generalize insights across three large-scale social-ecological studies on which Joern has been a or the lead in Australia, Romania and Ethiopia. I love working with these big-thinking ecologists, especially when the modes of synthesis are as transparent and low tech as demonstrated in these papers, rather than massively complex computer models.

Making Room for Movement framework

Cover of our NRCan-funded Framework report

Delighted to report that our Making Room for Movement project, funded by Natural Resources Canada Climate Change Adaptation Fund and ably led by PI Danika van Proosdij out of SMU, now has a final report available to all. This report, which we’ve been calling the Framework, is a synthesis of several years of research in this project by my lab (Krysta Sutton’s MES on coastal resident focus groups and climax thinking) and that of Patricia Manuel and Eric Rapaport at Planning (who among other things prepared six excellent case studies of ‘making room for movement’ in Nova Scotia), engaging with Danika’s TransCoastal Adaptations: Centre for Nature-based Solutions that is involved in on-ground dyke realignment, tidal wetland restoration and other living shorelines projects. Colleagues like Caytlyn McFadden, Yvonne Reeves were critical in synthesis mode and Postdoctoral fellow HM Tuihedur Rahman helped draw insights for the literature; and great partners like CB Wetlands, CBCL and the Ecology Action Centre helped us ground our insights.

 

New ResNet paper: Ecosystem services and the resilience of agricultural landscapes

Figures 1 and 3 from the new Bennett et al (2021) paper, contrasting a healthy agricultural landscape with one subject to negative trends discussed in the paper: (A) the influence of global corporations on decision-making, (B) increased use of technological and other inputs, (C) loss of diversity of farm types, (D) loss of nonfood ecosystem services, (E) crops consumed in far-away places, (F) Changes in the amount and mixture of ecosystem services provided to people, (G) local systems that are disconnected from their resource base, and (H) fewer people involved in decision-making.

Figures 1 and 3 from the new Bennett et al (2021) paper, contrasting a healthy agricultural landscape with one subject to negative trends discussed in the paper: (A) the influence of global corporations on decision-making, (B) increased use of technological and other inputs, (C) loss of diversity of farm types, (D) loss of nonfood ecosystem services, (E) crops consumed in far-away places, (F) Changes in the amount and mixture of ecosystem services provided to people, (G) local systems that are disconnected from their resource base, and (H) fewer people involved in decision-making.

The first big synthesis paper from NSERC ResNet is out today in Advances in Ecological ResearchEcosystem services and the resilience of agricultural landscapes. Led by ResNet PI Elena Bennet, with 20 co-authors from the larger team across our agricultural landscape case studies and integrative themes, this paper assesses “how recent changes have interacted with agro-ecosystem features to result in a loss of resilience, and suggest[s] key research directions to help harmonize production and ecosystem function, drawing primarily on Canadian examples”. This also provides us a strong conceptual framework as we initiate our primary and scenario-based work over the next five years, including in the Bay of Fundy agricultural dykelands and tidal wetlands, the ResNet case study I’m co-leading.

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