May-June 2018 Biosphere Research and Education Program Update

Laura Loucks, CBT’s Research Director, has been busy this spring working on a number of environmental research and education projects within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region, and presenting on CBT activities at two conferences on the east coast! Read more below:

The Clayoquot Sound Natural Area Conservation Plan:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is working with local advisors to create a Clayoquot Sound Natural Area Conservation Plan. The geographic area of the proposed plan corresponds closely with the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Designation, extending seaward from HesquiahtPeninsula south and including provincial and federal protected areas with inland boundaries following the height of land along the watershed boundaries. Last month local team members Saya Masso,  Barb Beasely, Josie Osborne and Laura Loucks, met with NCC staff Jocylyn Wood and Tamara Baldwin to review ecological targets, threats and indicators for Clayoquot Sound. Once the background knowledge has been researched, NCC staff will return to Tofino and present the proposed conservation plan to achieve the following vision:

“The Clayoquot Sound Natural Area is a functioning, resilient, coastal ecosystem that provides for thriving plant, animal, and human communities. In the spirit of collaboration, conservation groups work together with community groups and Indigenous, provincial and federal governments to ensure ecological and cultural values are protected, while supporting sustainable use of natural resources to achieve greater well-being of communities and nature in this landscape”. NCC Clayoquot Sound NACP planning notes, May 18, 2018.


Community, Conservation & Livelihood Conference, May 27-29, Halifax, Nova Scotia:

The innovative West Coast NEST (Nature. Education. Sustainability. Transformation) attracted numerous viewers at a recent conference co-hosted by the Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  The conference brought together indigenous, community, university, government, and NGO people from 52 countries to share important lessons on conservation livelihoods, build partnerships, and shape future linkages between community members, academics and policy makers. You can read more about the West Coast NEST and other west coast community conservation stories including the Clayoquot Sound Salmon Roundtable and the Nuu-chah-nulth Fishing Rights, on the CCRN website.

The conference also hosted a special session on Ecosystem Governance and Biosphere Reserves. CBT Research Director, Dr. Laura Loucks joined panel participants Dr. Liette Vasseur, President of Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and Dr. Esperanza Arnes, co-chair of the Biosphere Group for the IUCN Commission for Ecosystem Management, to discuss governing Biosphere Reserve designated areas. Several common challenges among Biosphere Reserve communities included: 1) the large scale of area to manage; 2) the need to build shared awareness of sustainability and what it means to be designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; 3) the importance of ongoing funding support; and 4) the relationship between Indigenous language revitalization and sustainable governance models. For more information, check-out the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management Biosphere Reserve working group website.

Community Conservation Research Network Meeting, May 30-31, Martin’s River, Nova Scotia:

Over 50 researchers from around the world have contributed to the Community Conservation Research Network since its inception in 2011. Last month the core group met for the last time to share their knowledge on collaborative approaches to sustainable community governance. Much of their research and writing over the last seven years has focused on community resilience, including the ability to cope with and adapt to change. CCRN member Dr. Fikret Berkes, and keynote lecturer, highlighted the importance of understanding community conservation as a commons problem. Moreover, the attributes that contribute to social-ecological interdependency are also essential factors for successful conservation practices and sustainable community livelihoods. Several CCRN west coast members participated in the meeting, including Dawn Foxcroft, from Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Fisheries, Tawney Lem, Executive Director of West Coast Aquatic, and Laura Loucks, from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. Findings from the CCRN team of researchers are highlighted in their recent book, Governing the Coastal Commons: Communities, Resilience and Transformation, edited by Derek ArmitageAnthony Charles, and Fikret Berkes. Detailed case studies in the book explore how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and governing the coastal commons, emphasizing a social-ecological systems perspective, and the role of resilience and transformation.