Management of Biosphysical Environment 2017

About this class

This course will examine the concepts and methods used by the state to manage the natural environment. Through an investigation into contemporary environmental issues in Canada (with occasional reference to other areas of the world) we will develop an understanding of the particular rationales for and evolution of state management. Important trends and issues are treated with particular attention to Indigenous rights. As part of the course, we use our developing understanding of course material to write critical blog posts on contemporary  environmental issues.

 

University of Guelph
by caily on November 19, 2017
CBC News discusses the concern of climate change in its column Technology and Science through an article written on February 20, 2017 regarding the concern of the rapidly melting ice glaciers. It is believed that the melting of these glaciers in the North will have many environmental effects on habitats in and around that region.

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University of Guelph
by emelchiorre on November 13, 2017
             The article “’Extremely close to being gone forever’: B.C. fisheries manager says feds failing Interior steelhead” discusses the decline in Thompson River steelhead salmon populations in British Columbia waters (Kelly, 2017). British Columbia’s fisheries manager worries the iconic fish may be on the brink of extinction in this region and conservationists believe the prized fish may soon be gone forever if nothing changes. It is estimated that only 240 steelhead salmon will return to the Fraser River and eventually into the Thompson watershed this year, which is a record low.

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University of Guelph
by KyleF on November 11, 2017
    Fertilizers are often used in agricultural settings to restore a soil’s nutrients for production of crops because the process of growing and removing plants from a field strips the soil of its nutrients. In July of this year, Tatiana Schlossberg, a writer for The New York Times, summarized how the overapplication of fertilizers in agricultural settings is giving rise to negative effects. When fertilizers are overapplied to fields, nutrients like nitrogen can leach into the groundwater or be swept into nearby water bodies due to runoff.

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University of Guelph
by nbitter on November 11, 2017
“ . . . Indigenous communities just don’t seem to be at the head of the line when it comes to dealing with environmental problems.” – Peter Tabuns (NDP Environment Critic)

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University of Guelph
by robnot on November 11, 2017
Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, Dianne Saxe, has released a report that states that the increasing amount of phosphorous is contributing the growing problem of harmful algal blooms in Ontario’s lakes (Riley, 2017). The news article gives a description of how farm practices and other agricultural works are one of the driving mechanisms behind the increase of phosphorus levels. The article also states how climate change is also a factor leading to more phosphorous inputs into the lakes and how this is contributing to the increase in the harmful algal blooms.  

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University of Guelph
by KRB on November 11, 2017
Pacific wild vs. Atlantic farmed In less than 30 years, over 100 Atlantic salmon fish farms have sprung up along the coast of British Columbia (CTV News, 2017). It is just one of several sectors of B.C.’s aquaculture industry, and now the provinces largest agricultural export (BC SFA, 2017). Though the industry contributes over $1-billion annually, there are numerous critics and issues surrounding aquaculture, but more specifically Atlantic salmon farmed in the Pacific.

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University of Guelph
by megpunter on November 10, 2017
King Salmon Dethroned by Invasive Species in the Great Lakes    

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University of Guelph
by rpiotrow on November 10, 2017
In the CBC News article titled “Climate change could have devastating impact on global fisheries,” the author discusses a recent study by Cheung et al. (2016) in which it was found that climate change resulting in a global temperature increase of more than 1.5oC will have a serious negative impact on global fisheries. Many people throughout the world are dependent on fish as an important source of income and food, therefore the collapse of global fisheries could be detrimental.   

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University of Guelph
by steinr on November 10, 2017
The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle species that destroys ash trees, and there is a wave of these pests currently making its way across Canada. The Global News articles I read talks about how the beetle is spreading rapidly across the country, and how municipalities are preparing for the impacts. There is a larger focus on education about the Ash Borer instead of making attempts to replenish tree numbers.

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University of Guelph
by saspin01 on November 10, 2017
It has been reported that killer whales in the UK region are contaminated with record levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) – a manmade toxic chemical that is considered stable and commonly found in plastics, paints and electrical equipment. The PCB contamination crisis in the marine food chain was revealed when a whale named Lulu was tested after found dead in 2016 from failing to free herself from fishing lines she got entangled in off the coast of Scotland.

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University of Guelph
by Andriwagner on November 10, 2017
Growing Concerns in Atlantic Salmon Fish Population

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University of Guelph
by cousinsn on November 10, 2017
Thompson River Steelhead: Change the NRM or Lose Them  

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University of Guelph
by Catriona on November 10, 2017
The article "Consumers `betrayed` over sustainability of world's biggest tuna fishery" by Damian Carrington aims to make people question the sustainability of fishers in the Western and Central Pacific Fishery. This fishery is a major source of tuna certified as sustainably caught, and the article seeks to highlight the difference between what customers thing that certification should mean, and what it means in reality.

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University of Guelph
by IronEclipse on November 10, 2017
There is a lot at stake in terms of power for Nova Scotia residents living in the Halifax community. Why, you may ask? A battle currently wages on three fronts – the first concerns the Canadian government, more specifically officials within the ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Northern Pulp, a manufacturing industry dedicated to processing bleached softwood into pulp, is the second player in this equation. The third and final participants in this confrontation are the people living and thriving in the Halifax community.

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University of Guelph
by Rjpoulin on November 10, 2017
In recent months, there have been a substantial amount of deaths revolving around the population of Northern right whales in Canada. A recent study of the population concluded that this past season has been the worst for right whales in almost 80 years, resulting in the death of approximately 2% of their population (Whittle, 2017).

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University of Guelph
by samgoldhawk on November 10, 2017
This article, published in the Guardian, reports on the current state of the bluefin tuna commercial fishing industry in Japan.  The bluefin tuna population has been in rapid decline in recent years due to commercial overfishing and is now facing historic lows for the past 30 years.  In 2015, the Japanese government and other members of the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission agreed to curtail catches of immature bluefin.  The main purpose of this news article is to draw media attention to the fact that Japanese fisheries have largely ignored the government’s attempts to curb

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University of Guelph
by Jannanc on November 10, 2017
The article that was chosen for this post is titled “'Extremely close to being gone forever': B.C. fisheries manager says feds failing Interior steelhead” written by Ash Kelly on November 6th, 2017. The province of B.C. has had falling numbers of their “iconic” fish, the Thompson River Steelhead. The article outlines that current management practices designed to regulate the commercial salmon industry is failing the Thompson steelhead as the species is experiencing low population numbers. According to Kelly, there has only been 240 fish found in the Thompson watershed this year thus far.

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1 week 5 days ago

Thanks, for the feedback, these are some good questions. I am glad you brought up the different seal species because I think that is one aspect that adds to the complexity of managing seal hunting. I am not sure what the ideal co-management system would look like because there is still a lot I don't know, but I think it would make sense to create co-management programs for different areas because of the different species of seals and unique conditions in each area, as you mentioned. As far as I know from looking up different species of seals, there are only two species considered at risk, so it could be beneficial to have a program looking at these two species. Overall, I think priorities with these co-management systems should be to increase communication between Canadian seal hunters, including Inuit hunters, and the government, to come up with the best possible management practices.

1 week 6 days ago

I really found your blog post intriguing, as well as the article it is based on! I didn't know much about the seal hunting industry, and just reading your blog post gave me a lot of information. I also really liked how you simplified some of the statistics into easily understood and still meaningful explanations.
I agree with you that the article only slightly touches on the subject of Inuit people. You mentioned beginning a co-management approach including Inuit hunters, commercial hunters, and the Canadian government which I agree would be interesting. My only criticism/question is that there are different seal species in the areas you mentioned and different seal species for Inuit hunting and commercial practices. Do you think that they could all be addressed under one management act, or do you think it would be worth the extra work to create programs for different areas or species? Do you think it is more important to create a co-management program for the seals that are in excess to contorl their populations, or species with populations at risk more prevelant?

1 month 2 weeks ago
Hi!

Hi!
You picked an interesting topic to write about, and I really liked your explanation about what types of conflict are present and why you think regulations are the best option in the situation.
Did your belief that the residents know the cost progress would have come from your extra reading on the topic or the article? It wasn't entirely clear which it was, in context.

1 month 2 weeks ago

Canada was actually built on a staples economy. The British used Canada for their resources and only colonized to extract resources more easily. Resource extraction can be quite damaging to the environment and to those who depend on nature as a part of their livelihoods. Although oil can create many jobs for people it is more often then not that these people are not locals, who need the jobs.

1 month 2 weeks ago

It is important to conserve land due to the ecosystems that need the area to survive. Parks are especially important for species who are at risk or cannot adapt to human intervention. First Nations often lived off the now conserved land and were displaced in order to build the National Parks. So if the government decides to get rid of the parks the land should go back to the rightful owners. The government should keep the parks and conserve the land by providing more funding to Parks Canada.

1 year 1 week ago

Hey Leo,
I really enjoyed your radio transcript on ocean acidification, it had all the important information and each topic flowed nicely into the next. I enjoyed that you used humour to try and engage the audience on the seriousness of the issue. Perhaps something you could have talked about is how many people around the world rely on the oceans for not just their food, but also their income. The collapse of fisheries can have huge consequences on the economy of a region. Perhaps tying it into the economy would be something that could make listeners think twice the next time they do a fossil fuel intensive activity, or vote, as the economy is something everyone wants to improve. I also thought that by just saying that the oceans will heal themselves with time and that we just need to take a step back, might make listeners put it at the back of their mind and may never think of it again as there is not much they can do. Perhaps there would be a better call to action? I'm not exactly sure what that would be either, because ocean acidification is a huge problem and there is no quick fix, just time like you and Harriet already mentioned. Its unfortunate that we as humans have a tendency to not want to deal with issues that are not an immediate threat or one in the not too distant future.
Great job, it was informative!

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About the author

Associate Professor of Geography, University of Guelph.

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