Co-imagining futures of Canada’s landscapes in the Anthropocene

Published: 15 November 2023

We live in the Anthropocene era. Human actions have become the major driving force behind unprecedented environmental challenges, creating delicate complexities and uncertainties about the future of the planet and humanity. Canada’s critical landscapes are not spared from these challenges, threatening the well-being of human and non-human communities that depend on them for various natural benefits. Thus, our ability to prepare, plan, and reflect for the future has never been as important to ensure that Canada’s landscapes thrive sustainably and resiliently in the Anthropocene.

This is the challenge being addressed by McGill's research team at the Department of Natural Resource Sciences (NRS), which explores the question: “What are the plausible futures of Canada’s critical landscapes given emerging challenges in the Anthropocene?”

With professors Elena Bennett and Gordon Hickey, the team works with other researchers across Canada to lead the creation of “storylines of the futures” or “scenarios” for several of Canada’s critical landscapes. This research is part of NSERC ResNet, a pan-Canada research network that studies the management, modeling, and monitoring of these landscapes for sustainability and resilience.

Recently, NRS PhD candidate Elson Ian Nyl Galang and other research team members published a report presenting scenarios for the tidal wetland-dykeland landscape of Canada’s iconic Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. This report underscores the importance of more proactive climate action, whether through inter-organizational collaborations or private-sector leadership. 

"We hope that our report can help guide research, policy, and practice to help communities in the Bay of Fundy landscape to prepare and plan for a future that is not only resilient but also equitable to all groups dependent on the landscape," Galang wrote in a new McGill Reporter article on the subject.

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