Balancing human resource use with the natural world
Estuaries are amongst the most important and productive marine ecosystems globally. They also are amongst the most at risk. British Columbia’s Fraser River Estuary (FRE) provides valuable goods and services to the people of Canada and abroad. Not least, it is the mouth of the largest salmon bearing river in the world, supports the highest concentration of migratory birds in Canada (up to 1.4 million during peak migration times), and is home to half of BC’s rapidly expanding urban population.
Without timely and effective conservation management, these goods and services are at risk. Water pollution and loss of habitat resulting from industrial and urban development, exploitation of fish stocks, and climate change are a few of the key threats. Research effort to date in the FRE has focused on identifying its natural assets and their threats. It is now time to focus research on the identification of the key management actions needed to ensure the long-term resilience of this unique estuary.
This project brings together experts in the ecology, sociology, economics and management of estuarine systems and the FRE, including those from government, First Nations, industries (fishing, agriculture, forestry), academia and environmental non-government organisations, along with fishers and other nonspecialists with local knowledge. Together these experts, policy makers, and stakeholders will estimate the costs and benefits of alternative management actions.
The outcome of this project will be a prospectus for cost-effective management actions to ensure the resilience of the FRE’s natural assets.
My PhD research focussed on the global relationship between food and fauna. Growing food is essential for human well-being but is also one of the main drivers of the current biodiversity crisis. As land use increases rapidly in the coming decades due to human population growth, surging consumption and the growing importance of bioenergy, the question of how future land use change may affect global biodiversity patterns becomes increasingly important.
This project investigated the relationship between food and fauna by, first, providing improved knowledge about the spatial concordance of the many facets of land-use intensity and biodiversity and thus highlighting regions that could pose a threat to biodiversity (Kehoe et al, 2015). Second, shedding new light on novel aspects of species-area relationships at a global scale, showing that land-use intensity indicators rival biomes in predicting broad scale patterns of species richness (Kehoe et al, 2016). Finally, assessing the biodiversity impact of alternative future agricultural pathways (paper in review).
The project was funded by the Einstein Foundation and carried out in collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Environmental Research Centre (UFZ) in Leipzig, the Institute for Social Ecology in Vienna, Princeton University, and the University of Göttingen.