Past projects

Adaptation in a Changing Arctic: Ecosystem Services, Communities and Policy (ArcticNet)

The assessment of vulnerabilities and adaptations in and for northern communities has been identified as a priority area for research by policy-makers, local and indigenous communities, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) and the International Polar Year (IPY) planning committee. The ArcticNet project (with B. Smit, University of Guelph) documented and described the physical, biological and socio-economic conditions that Arctic societies need to adapt to today and will likely be faced with in the future, and it identified opportunities and institutional processes for effective strategies and policies to deal with changing conditions. The focus of our research (in collaboration with F. Berkes at University of Manitoba) was to examine the institutional structures and processes – co-management and knowledge co-production specifically – which facilitate or constrain adaptation to changing conditions.

First Nations and Source Waters: Understanding Vulnerabilities and Building Capacity for Environmental Governance

This research enhanced source water governance with several partner First Nation communities in S. Ontario. Key objectives of the research were to 1) develop a culturally-sensitive vulnerability assessment tool and appraise the social and ecological dimensions of vulnerability relating to source waters; 2) examine how source water concerns are being addressed; 3) identify key factors to improve source water protection and build capacity for adaptation; and, 4) enhance source water governance though the development and dissemination of culturally-appropriate, practice-based materials and the implementation of training opportunities (with R. Plummer, Brock and R. de Loë, Waterloo; funded by SSHRC).

Governing Small-scale Fisheries for Wellbeing and Resilience

The collaboration aimed to utilize a novel poverty reduction policy perspective – that of wellbeing – to improve the effectiveness of fisheries governance reforms, and thereby increase the resilience of fisheries and fishing communities, in relation to climate change and economic globalization. The project has adopted a three-fold approach: (1) a comparative analysis of theoretical perspectives drawing on a systematic, analytical review of current literature; (2) study of the insights from two developing country case studies (together with a comparative case from Newfoundland Canada) and; (3) examination of how wellbeing is incorporated in decisions relating to major management instruments commonly adopted in fisheries governance. The project brought together a consortium of fisheries governance specialists from five universities, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the WorldFish Center in Malaysia (funded by CIDA).

Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Arctic Regions (CAVIAR)

The underlying purpose of CAVIAR was to better understand how Arctic communities are affected by environmental changes in order to contribute to the development of adaptive strategies and policies. The multi-partner CAVIAR research program (B. Smit, University of Guelph, Principal Investigator) enhanced the theory, empirical understanding, and practical application of processes that shape adaptation and vulnerability in communities across the polar region. Members of the ECGG worked in the Slave River Delta region of the Northwest Territories and partnered with the community of Fort Resolution.