Working together for boreal sustainability
Boreal ecosystems and communities are unique in their structure, and globally significant with respect to regulating climate change, their vast resource development potential, and their cultural diversity. In Canada, over 500 Indigenous communities and 2.5 million people live in boreal environments, which support approximately 400,000 jobs and honour rich traditional livelihoods.
Often, communities and industries in natural, resource-rich settings must adapt to the social and environmental pressures associated with large-scale development and a changing climate.
Transformation in renewable resource sectors has led to industry synergies and unique partnerships involving diverse groups. This creates new opportunities for learning and innovation.
For example, after a long period of Indigenous exclusion, collaborative arrangements are increasing, in the form of Indigenous-owned and operated development corporations, impact and benefits agreements, resource revenue sharing, and the involvement of Indigenous governments, residents and businesses in large-scale infrastructure projects. In such settings, trust, learning and team work are key traits needed to support new ways of working together. However, technical, financial, institutional and political capacities are also required.
As Canada Research Chair in Human-Environment Interactions, Dr. Ryan Bullock’s research focuses on the new potential of cross-cultural collaboration in shaping northern economies, communities and ecosystems. He works with communities, governments and industries to increase responsiveness to environmental and social change, and to engage vulnerable boreal populations.
The conditions that support innovative, cross-cultural arrangements for sustainable boreal development need to be better defined. Bullock and his colleagues will help advance new insights, tools and policies to analyze and build adaptive capacity among communities, governments and industries, both in Canada and internationally.