Axis 3

Management and Adaptation to Biodiversity Change

Coordinator: Monica Mulrennan

Research goals: To identify tools to adaptively manage biodiversity and ecosystem services in human-dominated landscapes; to reveal socioeconomic drivers of biodiversity loss; to evaluate market and non-market values of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services; to better understand the role of local communities in biodiversity decision making and management; to generate scientifically sound, socially relevant and politically feasible strategies for biodiversity management and governance.

This research axis emphasizes the socioeconomic dimensions of biodiversity science. Our understanding of the socioeconomic causes and consequences of biodiversity change is still rudimentary in a number of ways. The evaluation of the market and non-market value of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services has only recently emerged as a major field of study. Researchers are discovering new relationships between the economy and biodiversity. The importance of local and indigenous communities in biodiversity management is becoming increasingly recognized on a global scale.

Research in this axis will also explore ways of linking science to policy and governance of Québec’s biodiversity.  Collaborating institutions include the Montréal based Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Ouranos consortium, and the Institute Hydro-Québec – Environment, Development and Society at the Université Laval.

Axis 3 Themes:

Theme 3.1: Biodiversity Planning and Adaptive Management

Theme 3.1 focuses on the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services within human-transformed landscapes. Often ecosystems are managed so as to maximize one or two services, thus leading to reduced biodiversity. If multiple services are considered, the maintenance of biodiversity will likely be facilitated. The objective of this theme is to demonstrate how land use can influence the distribution of biodiversity, and consequently, the ecosystem services of that territory. Research in this theme also studies biodiversity planning and management by local and indigenous communities, including the role of perception and representation of biodiversity in conservation and decision-making.

Theme 3.2: Biodiversity and Decision-Making

This theme focuses on how decisions with biodiversity at stake are made. Economic instruments for valuing and managing biodiversity are key in this regard, but not the only ones. Research in this theme includes the analysis of literature-derived data on the socioeconomic causes of biodiversity loss. In particular, this work builds on the recent discovery that distribution of socioeconomic power may affect biodiversity loss.

Projects in this theme will foster research on the market and non-market valuation of Québec’s biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services. A specific research project will seek to develop tools for businesses to account for their impacts and dependence on biodiversity.

Theme 3.3: Multi-Scale Biodiversity Governance

This theme focuses on the governance of biodiversity across social and ecological scales (from global to local), as well as the implementation and evaluation of biodiversity management policy at local to international levels. It also explores links between governance of biodiversity and the governance of other environmental topics, particularly climate change.