May 2018: Queen Elizabeth Scholar, Sajida Awan, in a Pakistani village conducting interviews with local farmers. To read the full story: Queen Elizabeth Scholar works with local community to adapt to climate change.

October 2017: ECGG is hosting another field school to India’s Chilika Lagoon from February 18-24, 2018. The field school, “Coastal Commons, Social-Ecological Resilience and Transformation” is being organized in collaboration with the Rekhi Centre of Excellence for the Science of Happiness, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and NIRMAN Odisha. For more information, please see our India field school page and our Field School on Environmental Change and Governance brochure (PDF).

August 2017: Ana Carolina E. Dias collaborated with Professor Teresa de Paiva at the Department of Biotechnology of the School of Engineering of Lorena (EEL), University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil, from July to August as a visiting researcher. The purpose of her visit was to investigate the integration between policy and science in the management of the Paraíba do Sul River Basin. She conducted interviews with researchers and managers, and as a result, suggests creating a Reference Center for research, capacity building, and knowledge mobilization.

July 2017: Several ECGG members presented (JPG) at the biennial conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons in Utrecht, the Netherlands, from July 10-14, 2017. The title of the conference was “Practicing the commons: Self-governance, cooperation and institutional change”.

July 2017: Another ECGG student in the spotlight! Cheryl Chan discusses her research experiences in the community of Bluefields, Jamaica, for the Community Conservation Research Network.

June 2017: Governing the coastal commons: Communities, resilience and transformation (PDF), edited by Derek Armitage, Anthony Charles, and Fikret Berkes, is now published! The volume examines how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and the attributes of governance that foster deliberate transformations and help to build resilience of social and ecological systems.

June 2017: Several new publications from ECGG members!

April 2017: Congratulations to Evan Andrews for being awarded a doctoral SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship!

April 2017: We had our final Instagram takeover of Ontario Research Matters on April 18. This takeover was about why environmental governance research matters.

April 2017: Congratulations to Cheryl Chan, who is one of the top 25 finalists in the SSHRC 2017 Storytellers challenge! Her video is entitled “Fish for our Future: Communities and Marine Conservation”. Cheryl also was also recently an emcee for the Ontario Provincial 3 Minute Thesis competition on April 12 at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

April 2017: Mark Andrachuk and colleagues have recently published a paper which interrogates the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises for transformative change towards more sustainable futures. The paper also examines the likelihood of enterprises to translate potential into action, and discusses governance implications.

April 2017: ECGG is excited to announce that we are organizing a field school to India’s Chilika Lagoon from May 4 – 8, 2017. The field school, “Coastal Wellbeing and Ecosystem Services Amidst Rapid Change” is being organized in collaboration with the Rekhi Centre of Excellence for the Science of Happiness, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and NIRMAN Odisha. For more information, please see our India field school page and our brochure (PDF).

March 2017: On March 21, ECGG is once again taking over Ontario Research Matters’ Instagram! The theme of the takeover is “People, fish, and water”. Be sure to take a look!

March 2017: Ana Carolina Esteves Dias was put in the spotlight by the Community Conservation Research Network. She discusses her research on human interactions with coastal zones and future research plans!

March 2017: Irene Brueckner-Irwin presented a poster at the Canadian Parks Conference, which was held in Banff, Alberta from March 8-11. Her poster presented initial research findings on the implications of marine protected areas on the wellbeing of coastal communities in the Bay of Fundy.

March 2017: Dani Lindamood has been busy reflecting on her experiences in the Collaborative Water Program and her time in India as researcher and a participant of the Water Innovation Lab. Her blog posts have been featured by the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment and Water Institute.

February 2017: Congratulations to Graham Epstein and colleagues who have published a paper on the social, ecological, and governance characteristics of successful large marine protected areas. They identify factors affecting social wellbeing and ecological performance of large MPAs using a global meta-analysis of cases.

February 2017: ECGG takes over Your Ontario Research Matters’ Instagram account on February 21! The theme of the takeover is “A day in the life of interdisciplinary science” and showcases the interdisciplinary nature of the research being undertaken by ECGG members.

February 2017: Congratulations to Evan Andrews and Derek Armitage for publishing the first OceanCanada working paper in the new OceanCanada Working Paper Series. The paper is titled “Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Regime Shifts in Coastal Fishery Systems: A Case Study of a Potential Regime Shift in a Shrimp Fishery System in Northern Newfoundland, Canada” and examines key sources of uncertainty for decision-making for regime shifts in a governance context.

February 2017: Evan Andrews, Derek Armitage, and colleague Carie Hoover have led OceanCanada’s Governance and Wellbeing Cluster in developing an expert survey to understand successes and patterns of fisheries governance. This is an ongoing initiative which aims to contribute to a shared vision for Canada’s fisheries governance.

February 2017: Irene Brueckner-Irwin competed in the Faculty of Environment’s heat for the 3-Minute Thesis at the University of Waterloo on February 13. The topic of her presentation was “The Implications of Marine Protected Areas on Coastal Community Wellbeing.”

February 2017: On February 9, Dr. Emily Darling of the Wildlife Conservation Society gave a guest lecture in Sustainability Applications, a graduate course at the University of Waterloo. Following her lecture, Graham Epstein and Irene Brueckner-Irwin participated on a panel about transdisciplinary frameworks for linked social-ecological systems.

November 2016: ECGG members have contributed to two new papers! Ahmed Khan and Derek Armitage, along with Tony Charles at Saint Mary’s University, have authored a paper in Climate Policy addressing the mismatch between sector-based adaptation and municipal adaptation efforts in Nova Scotia. Graham Epstein also collaborated on a paper in Biological Conservation about the conservation sciences, traversing an impressive interdisciplinary terrain.

November 2016: On November 16, Irene Brueckner-Irwin participated in a panel at the St. Andrews Biological Station (DFO) about perspectives on marine protected areas in the Bay of Fundy. The panel brought together diverse perspectives on objectives for marine resources in the bay, and the potential impact of marine protected areas. It was part of UNB Saint John’s Marine Biology Fall semester based at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre.

November 2016: Congratulations to Jeremy Pittman and colleagues on their just published and very cool paper in Frontiers in Marine Science on negotiating biodiversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdictions. Their poster on the same topic presented at the recent PICES (North Pacific Marine Science Organization meeting also won the best poster award!

October 2016: Cheryl Chan was recently awarded a David Johnston International Experience Award (McCall MacBain), an award from the University of Waterloo that supports students gaining international experience in a developing country. She will use this award to return to her research site in Bluefields, Jamaica, where she plans to share her research findings with the community.

October 2016: On October 27, 2016, Cheryl Chan and Ana Carolina Dias guest lectured in Coastal Social-Ecological Systems, a third year undergraduate course at the University of Waterloo. The theme of the class was Elinor Ostrom’s design principles. Cheryl presented her current master’s research on an MPA in Bluefields, Jamaica, and Ana Carolina shared her completed master’s work on an MPA in Tarituba, Brazil.

October 2016: On October 29, 2016, Cheryl Chan co-chaired and presented at a session for CAGONT 2016, titled “Trials and Tribulations of Field Work”. This session which also involved other ECGG members and focused on the experiences of researchers while they are in the field and on how to build resilient research practices. It was well-attended and generated great discussion.

October 2016: Derek Armitage gave a ‘lunchtime’ talk recently at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), along with his colleagues from the SRC and Brock University. They were at the SRC for a week-long workshop on diagnosing and assessing how adaptive co-management works in the context of biosphere reserves in Canada and Sweden. A major emphasis in this project is to quantitatively measure how ‘outcomes’ from community conservation initiatives like those associated with biosphere reserves, can be empirically linked to specific types of collaborative practices and learning processes.

August 2016: ECGG’s Jeremy Pittman and the Conservation Planning Group’s Jorge Álvarez-Romero recently teamed up on a blog post about governance across the land-sea interface based on a session at the International Marine Conservation Congress (July 30 to August 3, 2016 in St. John’s, NL). The session was organized by Jeremy and Derek Armitage, and included scholars working around the world on land-sea sustainability issues. ECGG’s Prateep Nayak also presented in the session.

August 2016: Evan Andrews has won the graduate student prize for his paper, “Diverse knowledge types for hydroelectric dam management: Empirical evidence for a two-eyed seeing approach in the Saskatchewan River Delta” through the Society for the Policy Sciences. Congratulations!

June 2016: Congratulations to Sajida Awan, Ashok Selvaraj and Steven Alexander on graduating from their programs at the University of Waterloo! All three have had many successes and have made impressive contributions to their programs, fields of research, and to ECGG. Steven Alexander was also named a 2016 recipient of an “Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies” award.

June 2016: ECGG members continue to publish compelling articles. See our 2016 publications. Of note is a new paper published by Kaitlyn Rathwell and Derek Armitage in Ecology and Society, which has been profiled on the Glacierhub blog: Indigenous Art Promotes Resilience to Climate Change. This paper is one of the first of its kind to empirically assess the role of art and artistic processes as a source of knowledge and insight about environmental change.

June 2016: Spring has been conference season for several ECGG members, and various meetings have been important venues for knowledge sharing and collaboration. Derek Armitage, Prateep Nayak, Cheryl Chan, Evan Andrews, and Graham Epstein all presented at the Coastal Zone Canada conference from June 12-16 in Toronto. The theme of the conference was “Coastal Futures; Resilience through Collaboration”. Irene Brueckner-Irwin presented a poster at the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership biennial science workshop from June 8-10 in Fredericton. The theme of the meeting was “Fundy in Flux: Challenges for Science, Policy and Society”. You can read about her experience at the workshop in our blog.

May 2016: Five members of ECGG attended the OceanCanada Partnership (OCP) Conference at the University of British Columbia from May 24-27 in Vancouver. More than 50 partners attended for a productive multi-disciplinary meeting about OCP’s core themes and collaboration as the partnership moves forward.

May 2016: Congratulations to the ECGG members who have recently received awards to pursue their research! Evan Andrews and Cheryl Chan have both been awarded Ontario Graduate Scholarships. Irene Brueckner-Irwin has been awarded a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship. Dani Lindamood has been awarded both the David Johnston International Experience Award and a Mitacs Globalink Research Award to study in India. The School of Environment, Enterprise and Development has written about her success.

April 2016: ECGG member, Jeremy Pittman, was part of a recent paper that documented the lessons learned over the last few decades for conducting inter- and transdisciplinary research on socio-environmental systems. The paper highlights (1) the benefits of co-design and co-production, (2) the need for comprehensive planning and adaptive project management, and (3) the value of engaging with diverse knowledge. The paper was led by Dr. Billie Lee Turner II from Arizona State University, and it is published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

April 2016: Congratulations to Noori Khan for being selected as one of 25 finalists in SSHRC’s annual Storytellers contest. This nation-wide contest challenges post-secondary students to show Canadians how research is affecting our world for the better. Noori’s video, Coastal Changes: A Case-Study of Fisheries in Chilika Lagoon. She will go on to compete in The Storytellers Showcase at the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences later this spring in Calgary.

April 2016: Steven Alexander, Mark Andrachuk, and Derek Armitage have just published an article in
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment to help researchers and practitioners explore governance networks and the social relationships that influence community-based conservation. They identify three “waypoints” to think about the networks of actors who influence conservation practice, examine the values and interests of diverse actors in governance, and consider how the structure and dynamics of networks can reveal insights for community-based conservation at multiple scales and levels.

March 2016: Congratulations to Cheryl Chan for winning the runner-up prize in the University of Waterloo’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final competition! Cheryl competed against 17 other finalists from across all university faculties with her thesis topic, “Fish for our future: A community-based approach to marine conservation.” See the winners’ information on the University of Waterloo’s 3MT website.

March 2016: In their new publication in the International Journal of the Commons, Abdullah Mamum, Ryan Brook, and Thomas Dyck examine how capacity development tools were supportive in implementing co-management of fisheries and other resources in southern Bangladesh. Using a governance lens, they investigated six cases to understand co-management approaches used to develop local capacity. Their findings show that a variety of capacity-enhancing strategies have had mixed results in developing governance that supports livelihoods.

March 2016: Congratulations to Cheryl Chan and Danielle Lindamood, both of whom competed in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in the Faculty of Environment. Cheryl Chan will pitch her research about marine protected areas, wellbeing, and ecosystem services once again – she has been selected to represent the Faculty of Environment at the university-wide 3MT competition later this month.

February 2016: Congratulations to Prateep Nayak who has been invited to join the Human Dimensions Working Group of the internationally recognized Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) program. The HDWG focuses on interactions between human and ocean systems, and the role of human institutions in mitigating anthropogenic perturbations of the ocean system, and in fostering adaptation to change.

February 2016: Derek Armitage has joined a unique initiative to incorporate human dimensions and governance issues into the management of Pacific herring. The Ocean Modeling Forum is bringing together scientists and managers to generate integrated social-ecological assessments to improve decision making on ocean issues of critical importance.

February 2016: Congratulations to Steve Alexander and Jeremy Pittman, both of whom have been awarded a prestigious post-doctoral fellowship. Steve will be based at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Maryland, while Jeremy will be taking up a Liber Ero Fellowship.

February 2016: Kaitlyn Rathwell recently gave a keynote talk and performance on her work about bridging knowledge systems through art at the ‘Combining 2 Cultures (C2C)’. C2C is an annual conference for students pursuing interdisciplinary post-secondary education.

February 2016: Jeremy Pittman worked with Holm Tiessen and Elma Montaña from the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) to examine how researchers make the transition from disciplinary to interdisciplinary research and how funders can facilitate these transitions. Their findings, recently published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, suggest that a mix of networking, mentorship, and learning help researchers make the jump towards interdisciplinarity. Pittman et al.’s research was part of a broader initiative, led by Dr. Hal Mooney and funded by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, examining the value of interdisciplinary research in multiple case studies from around the globe.

January 2016: In their recently published article in PLoS ONE, Samantha Berdej and Derek Armitage highlight the importance of bridging organizations on governance outcomes for marine conservation, by mapping the social connections in two conservation networks in Indonesia. Bridging organizations connect diverse social actors for collaboration and information exchange, with implications for effective governance and conservation. Learn about their findings from the Faculty of Environment.

December 2015: Mark Andrachuk and Derek Armitage have published a paper in Ecology and Society that characterizes social-ecological transformations in the Cau Hai lagoon, Vietnam, by applying local knowledge and perceptions of resource-users. The paper demonstrates the multitude of interacting factors that drive social-ecological transformations that are beyond the control of any one individual or group.

October 2015: Steve Alexander is part of an international team of scientists who are advocating for more meaningful and effective collaboration with local communities and researchers. Opinion papers in Frontiers in Marine Science and National Geographic focus on marine conservation for small-island states, encouraging researchers to build long-term relationships, align priorities with local interests, enhance local capacity, and share research products. See also UWaterloo write-up.

October 2015: Establishment of co-management for Jamaican marine reserves has benefitted from the presence of institutional entrepreneurs, tightly connected social networks of fishers, and the ways that community-based organizations have formed multi-level relationships. These findings from Steve Alexander’s PhD research, based on social network analysis, helped identify ways to build social capital and leadership for improving co-management success.

September 2015: The Coral Triangle Initiative is a groundbreaking effort to coordinate marine conservation efforts among six nations in Southeast Asia. Some conservation challenges have been framed as a “crisis” and others have been framed as an opportunity to build social-ecological resilience. Samantha Berdej, Mark Andrachuk and Derek Armitage offer insights on how these competing narratives can influence conservation priorities and on-the-ground practices.

September 2015: As part of his Master’s research for the Sustainability Management program, Ashok Selvaraj travelled to Khirisahi Island in the Chilika Lagoon (India) to investigate how villagers perceive and adapt to environmental change. Among a series of recommendations, Ashok found that increasing the voice of minority fishers in policy-making and returning to traditional fishing techniques were key for supporting villagers.

August 2015: Climate change adaptation requires new types of leadership. As a chapter author in a new book, Brad May looks at the role that social-ecological inventories can play in catalyzing leadership at the community level.

August 2015: Kaitlyn Rathwell led a new paper with Derek Armitage and Fikret Berkes (University of Manitoba) that helps think through and make sense of the different ‘settings’ in which knowledge bridging takes place. The paper, published in The Commons Journal, also touches on the implications of bridging knowledge systems for environmental governance.

July 2015: Nunavut’s Climate Change Centre has featured Kaitlyn Rathwell’s community report on her PhD research (PDF). With an intent to bridge knowledge systems to inform science and policy, Kaitlyn’s report shows how she worked with artists to learn about the ways that they make sense of environmental change.

June 2015: New approaches are required to understand water resource protection issues in First Nations communities. Thomas Dyck’s PhD research uses a multi-barrier approach to reveal the importance of local attitudes, cultural practices, legislation and regulations, and relationships in three Ontario FN communities.

June 2015: Samantha Berdej, Cheryl Chan, Prateep Nayak, and Derek Armitage headed to beautiful Tofino, British Columbia this month to participate in a Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) meeting and helped set the project’s research agenda for the next three years: how can communities initiate and participate in environmental conservation and stewardship?

June 2015: Recent ECGG PhD Abdullah Al Mamum’s paper in Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal argues that capacity building within fisheries co-management programs should use a needs-based approach that supports local livelihoods.

May 2015: Gurus of commons scholarship have valuable insights on the history of commons research and diverse personal stories about how they ended up in this field. Sajida Awan, Cheryl Chan, and Fatima Khan collected stories from 11 Gurus and reflect on prospects for their own commons research in The Commons Digest.

May 2015: What are the emerging concepts that will guide the future of adaptive management? A group of ECGG members shared their thoughts in the Adaptive Management of Social-ecological Systems book.

March 2015: Collaboration led by Graham Epstein (Ostrom Workshop, Indiana U.) and Jeremy Pittman has resulted in a new paper that develops a typology of three types of fit between institutions and social-ecological systems.

March 2015: Key science-policy processes for effective water governance have been synthesized by Derek Armitage and colleagues in a new Ambio paper.

March 2015: Ahmed Khan has been busy pulling together research papers on Ebola and the food security nexus in West Africa (PDF) and ecosystem-based adaptation and marine spatial planning in Seychelles.

February 2015: Prateep Nayak continues to bring governance insights for coastal lagoons to life as lead author on two new publications:
(1) Chapter on institutional pluralism, multilevel arrangements and polycentrism in a new book edited by M. Bavinck and A. Jyotishi.
(2) Nayak, Armitage and Andrachuk paper on power & politics of regime shifts in coastal lagoons in Regional Environmental Change.

December 2014: Opportunities now open for incoming grad students (MES and PhD) on the OceanCanada project! PhD applicants should also look at the Faculty of Environment’s new funding initiative.

November 2014: Steve Alexander and Jeremy Pittman are getting started on a new SESYNC-funded project looking at the role of governance in dealing with surprises.

Fall 2014: Several new ECGG-led publications are recently available online:
J. Pittman et al. on governance for climate change in the Caribbean in Marine Policy.
P. Nayak et al. on threats to social-ecological resilience in India and Brazil in Ecology & Society.
S. Alexander commentary in Aquatic Conservation on social dimensions of marine protected area networks.

October 2014: Derek Armitage is a partner on the recently announced OceanCanada Partnership that will look at approaches for how to build resilience for our coastal communities and marine ecosystems. Team members involved with the coastal communities component met in Port Mouton, Nova Scotia to kick off the project and were featured in local news.

October 2014: Prateep Nayak and Mark Andrachuk joined Micaela Trimble (Uruguay) for a seminar on small-scale fisheries at Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre. Video of the seminar is available on YouTube.

September 2014: ECGG had a large representation (JPG) at the 2nd World Small-scale Fisheries Congress in Merida, Mexico.