More than 50 researchers from 23 countries collaborated in the report, which highlights that countries must act as soon as possible to allow global biodiversity to be recovered. The document presents an updated assessment on how the biodiversity milestones and goals of the global biodiversity framework can be achieved. Dr. Alana Westwood (not involved in the report) told The Globe and Mail:
“I certainly think they make a strong case that we need transformative change if we want to live on a planet that we share with other species and not some kind of bio-desolate wasteland like see we showing up in our science-fiction television and movies right now.”
In response to Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia’s proposed open-pit gold mine project, Beaver Dam Mine, recommendations for consideration were made for the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, Atlantic Mining Nova Scotia, and federal authorities in the ongoing assessment of the Beaver Dam Mine Project. Dalhousie University graduate students from Dr. Alana Westwood’s class ENVI5001 Environmental Assessment put together these recommendations as part of their coursework. Submission summary can be found here on the Impact Assessment of Canada registry.
The recommendations cover:
Surface water quality and quantity
Community health and safety
Species at risk and wildlife
Wetlands and lichens
Terrain, soil, and parks
Cover letter and Recommendations for Consideration can be downloaded here:
Westwood, A., Doucet, T., Fequet, L., Ho, I., MacLean, N., MacNeil, B., Nguyen, P., Sharan, R., Thapar, K., Thurston, E., Vail, C. 2021. Submission on concerns and recommendations related to the proposed Beaver Dam Mine project in Marinette, Nova Scotia. Prepared for the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. 110pp.
The word carbon is everywhere. But chances are, unless you are a scientist, you might not really know what carbon actually is and how it moves around the planet: in air, land and water. Dr. Alana Westwood weighs in and explains what carbon is, what it does for living things and why burning too much of it into the atmosphere can have a detrimental effect on changing the earth’s climate. Listen to the interview here!
Citation: Westwood, A.R., Baillie, J., Ceci, S., Collison, B., Machat, H., McLean, S., MacNeill, B., Niesink, C., Shaw, J., Sodeinde, O., Suppanz, S., Sutton, P., & Vail, C. (2021). ENVI5050: Special Topics – Forest Ecology & Management class submission to the Government of Nova Scotia regarding the Revised Old Growth Forest Policy. Westwood Lab, Dalhousie University, 11pp. Available at https://westwoodlab.ca/?p=1026
Last week, Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative government introduced Bill 57, the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act into the house. Faculty members of Dalhousie’s SRES, including lab head Dr. Alana Westwood, weighed in on the bill with an open letter.
Although commending and overall supportive of the Bill’s direction and intent, SRES faculty called for an acceleration of targets to meet climate-related goals as well as more transparency in the methods used to meet them. In particular, SRES faculty emphasized the need for clear policy and regulatory incentives to ensure that Nova Scotia Power Inc. is required to meet renewable energy targets given that the 2020 target was not met. The letter urges that in addition to the stated goal of 30% protection of Nova Scotia’s land areas, ecological corridors between protected areas should be prioritized to ensure connectivity and resilience to climate change. The letter also calls for recommendations associated with the Lahey Report on ecological forestry, such as the revised silvicultural guidelines, be enacted immediately. In addition, SRES faculty also encourages stronger provisions related to water protection, modernized environmental assessment legislation, aquaculture, and the circular economy. Although the government passed the bill with almost no new amendments, read the full list of recommendations here.
Members of the Westwood Lab and colleagues from Carleton University, Natural Resources Canada, McGill University and University of Toronto Scarborough were one of the five to win the Digital Poster award at the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA). Their digital poster, “Understanding knowledge exchange in natural resource management”, was presented by Alana Westwood with support from Matthew Falconer (Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service). Congratulations to the winners!
Members of the Westwood Lab and colleagues from Carleton University, Natural Resources Canada, McGill University and University of Toronto Scarborough published systematic map protocol in the open-access journal, Ecological Solutions & Evidence! This paper is Part 1 of a two-part Registered Report that includes the study design of the paper (introduction and methods). This review is looking at how knowledge exchange is achieved between producers and users within the forestry sector.
Citation: Westwood, A.R., Hutchen J., Kapoor, T., Klenk, K., Saturno, J., Wang, J., Falconer, M., & Nguyen, V.M. (2021). A systematic mapping protocol for understanding knowledge exchange in forest science. Ecological Solutions and Evidence, 2(3), e12096. https://doi.org/10.1002/2688-8319.12096
“Can scientists speak?” was a question often asked from 2008-2015, when it was widely documented that federal scientists in Canada were being restricted from communicating with the media. The interference with the ability of scientists to conduct and communicate their work remains a more widespread issue, and one that is likely ongoing in Canada and abroad, especially for those conducting research in the environmental studies and sciences.
It is time for a pulse check on the status of interference in science in Canada.
Dr. Alana Westwood is principal investigator of the now SSHRC-funded project Interference in science: Documenting scientists’ perspectives of their ability to communicate and conduct environmental research in Canada. Collaborators include Dr. Philippe Mongeon (Dalhousie University) and Dr. Don Driscoll (Deakin University), with Evidence for Democracy being the external partner.
The grant application was supported by MES student Manjulika Robertson. She, alongside Honour’s thesis student Samantha Chu, will shed new light on the issue of interference in science and explore the issue from additional lenses of diversity and inclusion. Find out more about the project here and for updates, follow it on ResearchGate.
An election has been called in Nova Scotia! With climate change top of mine for many and a time of transition in forestry, this election is key for charting out the province’s environmental future. Ongoing media coverage includes interviews with lab head Dr. Alana Westwood about environmental priorities for this election.
She told CBC News that there are three big jobs waiting on the other side of the election for any government that’s serious about the environment: mitigating climate change, completing the shift to ecological forestry, and increasing protections for biodiversity and endangered species.
“We have some of the most ambitious [environmental] legislation in North America, but it really needs to be followed up by action.”
In early May, the Faculty of Management presented Facilitating Excellence in Student Learning in Exceptional Times awards to Dr. Alana Westwood and her fellow colleagues who have supported student learning over the past year. Recipients were nominated by students and peers within the Faculty. Congratulations Dr. Westwood!! Read more on this news and the selected recipients here!