Fostering the success of agroforestry programs: a socioeconomic study of a pilot project in agricultural “coulées” in Quebec.

Julie Lafortune   Additional Authors: Chloé L’Écuyer-Sauvageau; Lynda Gagné; Julie Pelletier; Jérôme Dupras

Initiatives to support the adoption of agro-environmental practices and promising nature-based solutions (NbS) to slow down or mitigate climate change impacts, such as agroforestry, have been adopted throughout the world over the last few decades. However, large-scale deployment of NbS is far from being achieved in eastern Canada. Our research project aims to acquire and develop new knowledge that will accelerate the adoption of agroforestry practices and reduce agricultural enterprises’ carbon footprint by targeting steeply sloped agricultural strips bordering water courses and bodies (agricultural “coulées”) in Quebec. To do this, we conduct economic, legal, and social analyses of agroforestry projects on private agricultural coulées, to identify the opportunities and threats to their establishment and long-term viability. We estimate the quantities and values of ecosystem services produced by the projects, identify legal tools to facilitate the implementation and sustained use of agroforestry in the coulées, and investigate cultural and institutional factors (e.g., forms of governance, level of participation, social norms, power relations, and formal and informal rules) affecting the willingness of landowners to implement agroforestry practices. The results of this project will be used to foster the success of future agroforestry programs and promote their large-scale deployment.

Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts for Rural Communities in Ontario.

Peri Dworatzek

The purpose of this research partnership with the Ecological Footprint Institute at York University and the Rural Ontario Institute was to conduct down-scaled community level Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity accounts (EFBAs) for communities in rural Ontario. Community EFBAs were created for four rural census divisions (Huron County, Lanark County, Leeds and Grenville Counties, and Timiskaming District) and 57 census sub-divisions in Ontario. A top-down methodology was employed by downscaling Ontario’s Ecological Footprint and applying Ecological Economics theory, as has been done for the Ontario Ecological Footprint and National Footprint Accounts at the Ecological Footprint Initiative. . . Data sources utilized for the EFBAs included Statistics Canada, Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System (SOLRIS) 3.0, and Ontario Land Cover Compilation (OLCC) v.2.0. The Statistics Canada data was applied to the Ontario Consumption Land-Use Matrix (CLUM) to scale down the CLUM data from Ontario to the community level. SOLRIS and OLCC data were used to identify the area for various land classifications, and the Ontario Ecological Footprint report matched biocapacity classifications. Together, this data produced 61 EFBAs for Ontario’s census divisions and census subdivisions. The resulting EFBAs provided environmental data that will be used by municipal stakeholders to inform decision-making on achieving climate and net-zero goals. This project represents the first time EFBAs have been created for rural Ontario and presents new data and methodologies to expand the planetary accounting field.

Community Ecological Footprints

Katie Kish & Eric Miller

The Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity accounting system is frequently used as an indicator of overall sustainability at national levels. Additionally, one of the most widely used applications of the Footprint is the individual Ecological Footprint Calculator, frequently used as an educational tool. Application of the Footprint at city and community levels is less frequent, despite our previous research demonstrating this is the most highly desired area of use by sustainability stakeholders across Canada. This gap is significant as community-level decision-making has the greatest potential for participatory planning and combating external validation of self-esteem, which currently drive consumerism. We developed a Community Ecological Footprint Calculator to address this gap and applied it to two community groups. The first group included a selection of Catholics from parishes across Southern Ontario; the second group was the Metis Nation of Ontario. In both instances, focus groups and one-on-one interviews were conducted to see the specificities required in each calculator and the recommendations the calculator would produce. We developed a calculator requiring individuals in the community to fill out a survey summed into a collective Community Ecological Footprint. We then coded the outcomes of the calculator to populate specific recommendations that would most benefit the community’s collective footprint. For example, if the community’s footprint from food was high, then recommendations on group activities to reduce their food footprint would be generated at the top of the list. Through the development and initial testing, we learned that a) communities desire leadership to take a primary role in decision-making, b) there is no one-size-fits-all community calculator design, but changes do not need to be extensive to meet cultural needs, c) significant localized data is required to produce the calculator to greater levels of accuracy, rather than just national data, and d) there is resistance to community level calculators when humanity’s footprint is driven most extensively by corporations.