Broadening the conservation conversation.

Raphaëlle Fréchon   Additional Authors: Jérôme Dupras, Daniel Schönig, Marie Saydeh

Our research project aims to identify nature conservation benefits and implementation obstacles. More protected areas are needed to meet climate targets, but many barriers and resulting inequalities remain. For some stakeholders and land users, conservation threatens their livelihoods, culture or is constraining. Using the ecosystem service approach to link nature conservancy with human needs, the goal of this research project is to highlight barriers and explore potential improvements to conservation mechanisms through a bottom-up approach involving local stakeholders. The study area, the regional county of Haut-Richelieu in southern Quebec, Canada, is crucial for agricultural production and has growing tourism and urbanization. Alternatively, it also holds incredible biodiversity due to its warm microclimate, supporting many species, both at their northern or southern distributions. The study aims to identify synergies and mismatches between the supply, demand, and access to various ecosystem services important for stakeholders involved in land management to link those with conservation goals, obstacles, and institutional mechanisms. We mapped the supply of five ecosystem services (i.e., carbon storage, annual water yield, sediment and nutrient delivery ratios, and habitat quality) using the InVEST models (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) and compared their spatial distribution with land tenures. We then investigate the relationship held by various stakeholders towards nature through their own mapping of their demand and access to ecosystem services. Through a design thinking approach applied to semi-structured interviews, stakeholders discuss land management alternatives, aspirations, what is needed or wanted (demand), and what prevents them from getting there (barriers). By exploring their relationship with nature other than through the lens of protected areas and conservation measures, important insight and alternatives nurturing stewardship could help improve and expand the tools to reach conservation goals at a local level.

Only know you love her when you let her go? Assessing multiple values in the context of ecosystem service loss in coastal and marine areas.

Jana Schluenss & Jérôme Dupras

Coastal and marine ecosystems are under increasing anthropogenic pressure. This pressure is closely related to a too-narrow definition of nature’s values in decision-making processes. Assessing plural values that encompass not only economic factors but a variety of different value dimensions, such as socio-cultural and intrinsic values, is imperative for sustainable ecosystem management. Nevertheless, the assessment and consideration of multiple values is still scarce. To promote a perspective of plural values in environmental decision-making, we aim to integrate qualitative aspects into the framework of the decision support tool Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). To this end, we assessed how the multiple values that people attribute to ecosystems change when they experience ES loss. We conducted semi-structured interviews with local stakeholders along a coastal to-freshwater gradient in two case study areas along the St.-Lawrence River delta in Southern Quebec, Canada.

We orient our analysis along the conceptual framework of multiple value dimensions of the IPBES, which differentiates between intrinsic, instrumental, and relational values. This qualitative assessment of plural values is a first step towards the construction of a set of novel indicators in LCA to mainstream the ES concept in decision-making processes. Our research is embedded in the international research project Cost to Coast [C2C] which brings together social science (qualitative assessment of plural values) and natural science approaches (biophysical modelling of ES loss).

Our preliminary results suggest a strong sense of place, landscape aesthetics, and environmental justice as main factors that positively influence ES values. These factors need to be emphasized in policymaking to assure an integrative management of coastal and marine areas.

Ecosystem Service Payments as a Climate Solution: An Examination into Successful Aspects of Ecosystem Service Payment Policy Programs.

Peri Dworatzek

The purpose of this research was to conduct a global and regional examination of ecosystem service payment policy programs. Various global and Canadian programs were examined to gain insights into program successes and/or challenges. A great deal of academic literature looks at the ecosystem service payment policy of individual programs, yet few compare multiple programs. This research adds to the gap because it compared multiple programs across various countries and regions. A qualitative methodological approach was used, whereby professionals with expertise on ecosystem service payment programs were interviewed. Programs were assessed for measurable indicators of success, impacts on broader public policy, and recognition of social-power relations. The ecosystem service payment policy programs being examined in this research study included: the Ontario Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program, the Canadian Federal Ecological Gifts Program, the Prince Edward Island Program, the Manitoba Program, the Federal United States Program, the Federal Costa Rica Program, the Australian Community-Oriented Program, and the New Zealand Program. An Ecological Economics approach was applied when examining climate solutions and transitions through carbon sequestration by understanding improved ways of increasing conservation lands through regulatory market-based public policy programs. Overall, the examination of social-power relations in these programs provided an original and thoughtful approach.

Ecological Economics and Ford’s Removal of Greenbelt lands.

Joe Goode

This presentation will explore the current economic valuation of the Greenbelt compared to its valuation with the 7,400 acres of land the Ford government has removed. This research seeks to subtract the economic valuation of the 7,400 acres from the current valuation of the Greenbelt and assess the significance of the developed land. This research seeks to complete this evaluation from an ecological economic perspective.

Ecological economics seeks to incorporate economics into the broader natural ecosystem. Thus, it is hypothesized that the development of the green belt does not contribute to a positive ecological economic outcome and instead deteriorates from the existing evaluation.