Island Researchers Offer Timely and Defensible Knowledge

Every response to a large-scale disaster presents a window of opportunity to create profound change.   What are the opportunities for Islands Trust?  Our community has a renewed appetite for planning the community – they want a community and an economy that can be resilient to shocks, like pandemics or storms.

Decades of poor resource management are manifesting themselves in declining fish populations, fragmentation of forest ecosystems, and loss of species diversity and habitat.  There are growing frustrations with land use planning and regulatory systems – not just ours but throughout the various levels of government.

I believe it is time to clearly embrace the other powerful words in the Trust’s objective – “in cooperation with.” We need to work with residents, other partners and First Nations to protect our ecosystems, and to sustain this generation and those of the future. We have to help our island communities become more resilient in the times that lie ahead.

In a University of Waterloo paper from 1999 titled “Limping Towards Sustainability”, the Islands Trust was found to have all the ingredients for local ecological governance.  However, we are no longer the lone Canadian example – BC’s Great Bear Rain Forest has embedded ecosystem-based management into regulation.

Trust Council held its inaugural electronic meeting this week.  After 11 hours of Zoom meetings, I am proud to report that the highlight of the meeting was the presentation by a delegation from Salt Spring, the Ecological Research Network.  This is a group of island-based researchers comprising the technical working group of the Climate Action Plan and island researchers with support from Dr. Tara Martin’s research team in the Department of Forests and Conservation Sciences at UBC.  This network offered to help the Islands Trust by providing timely and defensible knowledge to inform Ecosystem Based Management.

Our island ecosystems are at risk from a number of impacts, including land use change, climate change, loss of understory, fire ecology and invasive species.  Dr. Gary Bull, UBC Forestry, recently said “Research and policy normally has a ten-year lag.  We can’t afford that lag anymore.” Teaming with the Ecosystem Research Network will support the Islands Trust in developing timely ecosystem-based policy and regulation.  (If you are wondering what is meant by ecosystem-based management, in general terms it is a management approach that recognizes all interactions within and among ecosystems, including human interactions, instead of an approach that focuses on a single species or on an ecosystem in isolation of others – Healthy People, Healthy Society, Healthy Environment.

June 22, 2020 9:06 AM

Community Comments

  • I read Limping Towards Sustainability ...this is the link . My take on the article is quite different from yours. I read it as a failure, as in it The Trust has no teeth to actually protect ecosystems because of its limited scope of land use planning only. It is quite a stretch to declare that this team will deliver Healthy People, Healthy Society, Healthy Environment when we can see that the Trust has effectively strangled proper governance which is essential for a healthy communities.

  • Avatar SSIDancer says:

    I think the dialogue would be more appropriate if it cooperation with.” We need to work with First Nations, residents and other partners to protect our eco systems and to sustain this generation and those of the future.
    It should not read.... residents, other partners and First Nations to protect our ecosystems, and to sustain this generation and those of the future.
    The 150-200 years of First Nations globaly being an after thought; their culture and well being being paid lip service must end. This always needs to always be reflected in dialogue that acknowledges their Nation status, the significance and the importance of the treaties entered into with First Nations. The writers statement does not respect that.

  • Avatar myna lee johnstone says:

    private roads/driveways punched into properties everywhere +autocentric society ruin ecosystems

  • Avatar brad nychyporuk says:

    100% Myna Lee .. the first order of business should be to eliminate approximately half the automobile population on the island - at a bare minimum - a 70% reduction would be better - and that means more bus service everywhere - people in other countries uses buses and trams, and they seem to live happily, and the majority of them don't have places as special as Saltspring Island to protect - the use of cars for anything non-essential is an unaffordable extravagance which the entire western world is struggling with - civic engineers have been saying for years one can build a community for people, or one can build a community for cars, but not both -- and the second order of business should be the elimination of the 10 year greening plan, the one that suggests reducing the island's carbon footprint by 50% in ten years -- a plan which states the reduction is to take place in ten years is essentially the same as saying, yes, there is a problem, but we're not going to do anything about it for at least ten years -- it's a cop-out plan put together by people whose only desire is to continue doing what they've been doing all along -- a real plan means stating and pressing for a reduction now, not some distant point in the future

  • Avatar BB Farm says:

    Dear SSI Dancer,

    Respectfully, are you suggesting the way forward is the manner in which BC Parks and First Nations are developing Xwaaqw'um/Burgoyne Bay Park in a completely Non Transparent Fashion from those who are adjacent landowners and impacted? And, those Island Residents who use this BC Park on day to day basis? BC Parks refuses to apply "Due Process" contained in their own 65 page report - "Burgoyne Bay Park Management Plan". Penned March 2015 and posted on BC Parks website. We have no less than 2 Certified Biologists, 2 PEng Hydrologists and a Geoscientist on Island. All experienced and passionate about Salmon Enhancement and Wetlands Development. BC Parks goes about their clandestine business hiring off island Wetland Specialists. With no credentials and convinces the BC Wildlife Federation (to which I'm a Member) to pay for half the costs associated. Meanwhile we have experts locally that are prepared to volunteer their own time for the most part. To create something truly unique in Xwaaqw'um/Burgoyne Bay Park. Meanwhile BC Parks continues to quietly send in off island contractors with no credentials and develop without sanctioned approvals.

    Now that's a shame, in my opinion.

    What Trustee Patrick is tendering is transparent dialogue between all Stakeholders. That's something that BC Parks refuses to do with regards to the Local BC Parks on Salt Spring Island and Our Residents/Land Owners & The Community at Large.

    That attitude is refreshing indeed!