New Articles

Both technological innovations and cultural change are key to a sustainability transition

We are said to be living in the Anthropocene, a time when human activities are having as great an impact on the Earth system as other geological forces. According to the “Planetary Boundaries” framework, which uses the past 10,000 years (the Holocene) as a benchmark, human influence on the Earth system has greatly exceeded the “safe operating space” across multiple indicators, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and nutrient pollution. A critical message is that even if we solve the climate problem, the biodiversity and nutrient pollution challenges will remain.

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Navin Ramankutty.

The benefits of climate change mitigation to retaining rainbow trout habitat in British Columbia, Canada

Climate change is increasing stream temperatures and thereby changing habitat suitability for a variety of freshwater fishes. We investigate how suitable stream habitat for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), a valuable cold-water species, may change in British Columbia, Canada, currently near the north end of their range. 

Read more in article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Rashid Sumaila  and colleagues.

Variable species establishment in response to microhabitat indicates different likelihoods of climate-driven range shifts

Climate change is causing geographic range shifts globally, and understanding the factors that influence species’ range expansions is crucial for predicting future changes in biodiversity. A common, yet untested, assumption in forecasting approaches is that species will shift beyond current range edges into new habitats as they become macroclimatically suitable, even though microhabitat variability could have overriding effects on local population dynamics.

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Amy Angert and colleagues.

Combating the unsustainable exotic pet trade: Effects of conservation messaging on attitudes, demands, and civic intentions

The exotic pet trade poses a major threat to biodiversity conservation. To combat biodiversity loss, it is essential to reduce demand for exotic pets and engage people in civic actions for wildlife conservation. Although messaging has been extensively used in conservation practice, little is known about how it can influence attitudes and various types of actions pertaining to the exotic pet trade. This study examined the impact of conservation messaging in the context of exotic pet ownership and wildlife entertainment visitation as common practices of the exotic pet trade.

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Jiaying Zhao and colleagues.

Community Forests advance local wildfire governance and proactive management in British Columbia, Canada

As wildfires are increasingly causing negative impacts to communities and their livelihoods, many communities are demanding more proactive and locally driven approaches to address wildfire risk. This marks a shift away from centralized governance models where decision-making is concentrated in government agencies that prioritize reactive wildfire suppression. In British Columbia (BC), Canada, Community Forests – a long-term, area-based tenure granted to Indigenous and/or local communities – are emerging as local leaders facilitating proactive wildfire management. 

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Shannon Hagerman and Colleagues.

Spatializing oil and gas subsidies in endangered caribou habitat: Identifying political-economic drivers of defaunation

“Reforming environmentally harmful subsidies is an international priority under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Research that links industrial subsidies to negative ecological impacts, however, is limited. This paper contributes to the emerging agenda of global “subsidy accountability” research by linking oil and gas subsidies to the decline of endangered caribou herds in British Columbia, Canada. While existing research concretely attributes the decline of caribou herds to industrial activity, including oil and gas development, we suggest there is a need to identify the political-economic structures which drive ongoing industrial development in caribou habitat, including public subsidies. We use government data to map oil and gas wells in critical caribou habitat and determine how many are run by operators receiving provincial fossil fuel “royalty credits”.”

Read more in the article by IBioS Student Fellow Audrey Irvine-Broque and colleagues.

The benefits of climate change mitigation to retaining rainbow trout habitat in British Columbia, Canada

“Climate change is increasing stream temperatures and thereby changing habitat suitability for a variety of freshwater fishes. We investigate how suitable stream habitat for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), a valuable cold-water species, may change in British Columbia, Canada, currently near the north end of their range. We examine a no-mitigation climate change scenario (RCP 8.5), and one with moderate mitigation (RCP 4.5). We used a watershed-scale regression model incorporating topographic, hydrological and climatic variables to estimate current and projected maximum weekly average stream temperatures throughout the province.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Kai Chan.

A global biodiversity observing system to unite monitoring and guide action

“The rate and extent of global biodiversity change is surpassing our ability to measure, monitor and forecast trends. We propose an interconnected worldwide system of observation networks — a global biodiversity observing system (GBiOS) — to coordinate monitoring worldwide and inform action to reach international biodiversity targets.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Mary O’Connor and colleagues.

Dynamics in the landscape ecology of institutions: lags, legacies, and feedbacks drive path-dependency of forest landscapes in British Columbia, Canada 1858–2020

“Many landscapes are constrained into pathways featuring deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and rising mega-disturbances due to legacies and feedbacks preserved in ecosystems and institutions. Institutions are the norms and rules that emerge locally or are set by prevailing powers, and that mediate coupled social-ecological dynamics.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Jeanine Rhemtulla and colleagues.

Visualizing sustainable landscapes : understanding and negotiating conservation and development trade-offs using visual techniques

“The aim of this manual is to strengthen the community of practitioners who are using an innovative range of visual techniques in dealing with conservation and development situations. Visualization techniques are used to compare visions of stakeholders and to negotiate trade-offs through comparing these visions. Different visualization techniques are already widely used and several of these are discussed in this manual.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Intu Boedhihartono.

Equity and Justice should underpin the discourse on Tipping Points

“Radical and quick transformations towards sustainability have winners and losers, with equity and justice embedded to a greater or a lesser extent. According to research, only the wealthiest 1-4% of the global population will radically need to change their consumption, behaviours, societal values and beliefs in order to make space for an equitable and sustainable future for nature and people. However, narratives around many ‘positive’ tipping points, such as the energy transition, do not take into account the entire spectrum of impacts the proposed alternatives could have or still rely on narratives that maintain current unsustainable behaviours and marginalise many people. One such example is the move from petrol-based to electric vehicles. An energy transition that remains based on natural resource inputs from the Global South must be unpacked with an equity and justice lens to understand the “true cost” of this transition. Another is the role of ‘nature-based solutions’ to address climate resilience, where ‘nature’ in some parts of the world needs to be maintained as an offset for the continued lifestyles of the wealthy, usually in different parts of the world from where this nature is supposed to be maintained.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Rashid Sumaila and colleagues.

A systematic literature review of climate change research on Europe’s threatened commercial fish species

“Climate change poses a major challenge for global marine ecosystems and species, leading to a wide range of biological and social-ecological impacts. Fisheries are among the well-known sectors influenced by multiple effects of climate change, with associated impacts highly variable among species and regions. To successfully manage fisheries, scientific evidence about the potential direct and indirect impacts of climate change on the species targeted by fisheries is needed to inform decision-making processes. This is particularly pertinent for fisheries within European seas, as they include some of the fastest warming water bodies globally, and are thus experiencing some of the greatest impacts.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Rashid Sumaila and colleagues.