Protecting the future of our freshwater
Humans are having a greater impact on our ecosystems than ever before. Freshwater resources in particular have been, and continue to be, stressed as a result. Serious concerns about the future of our freshwater resources include increasing scarcity, decreasing quality, and a loss of the wide range of “goods and services” they provide to other ecosystems and to humans.
As Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience, Dr. Julia Baird’s research addresses these concerns, with a focus on water resilience. She describes resilience as the ability of freshwater systems to continue to function in a way that ensures their well being while continuing to benefit those systems that rely on them for their survival. Resilience is about being able to persist in the face of a challenge, while also being able to adapt to and change with fluctuating conditions.
Baird aims to understand how freshwater resilience can be fostered by society. She focuses her research on the capacities needed to address the stresses that freshwater systems are under, the level of success of emerging approaches to manage and govern freshwater (and how these can be improved), and the reasons why individuals engage in freshwater stewardship.
Ultimately, Baird’s research will contribute to improved decision making and action related to freshwater systems, supporting and enhancing freshwater resilience and addressing mounting concerns about this critical resource.