On Tuesday, February 23, Jérôme Dupras spoke at the Éco-corridor Laurentiens conference on natural infrastructures to fight climate change. With the current climate and biodiversity crises, we take measure of human activity's impact on the environment. The world is now subject to global changes, which are pressure factors that disrupt human and natural environments; the most well-known being global warming and the erosion of biodiversity.
During the conference, Jérôme Dupras explained that five factors transform our relationship with nature: changes in land and sea use, the overexploitation of species, climate change, invasive species, and systemic pollution. Ecosystems provide us with a variety of benefits and services. Therefore, we must protect nature and develop a sustainable land-use plan. Today, the five biggest threats to humanity and the economy are environmental. The number of climate refugees exceeds the number of war refugees.
Jérôme Dupras highlighted the importance of examining the state of our landscapes and understanding the ecological, social and economic value of nature. We need to develop tools to increase resilience and offer solutions to address the underlying trends of climate change and the erosion of biodiversity. Natural infrastructures and ecological connectivity are the most promising solutions for the future, he explained. "Nature-based solutions are strategies developed by public and private organizations to protect, restore and manage natural and agricultural environments. They ensure the well-being of humans and maximize benefits for biodiversity", he says. These solutions include sustainable forestry, natural corridors, agro-environmental practices, citizen mobilization and reforestation.
"In the greater Montreal area, 80% of ecological connectivity has been lost since the 1960s because of urban sprawl. This has major impacts on biodiversity", he adds. Jérôme Dupras explains that ecological connectivity must be considered when developing sustainable land-use plans.
Ecological connectivity consolidates and connects ecological ecosystems. Jérôme Dupras shared with us a modeling tool developed by Eco2urb co-founder Andrew Gonzalez that allows us to identify essential corridors for biodiversity protection. For more information on this subject, follow this link: https://quebio.ca/connect/files/Rapport%20Final_140518_20181120.pdf
Furthermore, Jérôme Dupras insists that ecological corridors cannot be created just anywhere. Today, the new opportunity is agricultural coulées. "These are sloping areas near bodies of water, where the slope is too steep to cultivate, and they are basically abandoned. Nearly 50,000 hectares of these agricultural coulées could be transformed into ecological corridors", he explains. "Natural capital has a major impact on our quality of life. For the Greater Montreal area, they provide $2.2 billion in ecosystem services every year", he says. Harnessing the power of nature is an exceptional solution in the face of this unprecedented crisis. Finally, the health crisis we are experiencing has only increased social inequalities and conflicts. "This is what will also happen with climate change. It's the same song playing at different tempos", he adds. We must develop Québec in the right way, and fight global changes by promoting our natural infrastructure, by developing and restoring it," he concludes.
Our co-founder Jérôme Dupras is taking part in the Festival The Nature Of Cities (TNOC), which takes place from February 22 to 26, 2021. He will join the conversation on nature-based urban infrastructures, specifically the integration of functions, landscape and nature, with Jonathan Cha from Parc Jean Drapeau and Alison Munson from Université Laval.
The TNOC Festival sparks conversations about different ways of thinking and acting to foster a collaborative and transdisciplinary movement for green, fair, liveable, resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities.
Five days to radically imagine the cities of tomorrow alongside scientists, planners, architects, artists, decision-makers, activists, and more. Jérôme Dupras will take the stage on Thursday, February 25 at 7 pm. The conversation will be held in French, but the sessions will be translated live into 12 languages.For those who have their tickets, join us! :) For more information about the TNOC festival, click here: https://tnoc-festival.com/wp/. Discover the five-day program here: https://tnoc-festival.com/wp/schedule/#thur.
How does one make a maple grove more resilient to climatic and biotic uncertainties? Our project coordinator Fanny Maure (PhD) and our co-founder Christian Messier share Eco2urb’s approach, which is based on the functional diversity of trees, in a very interesting article published this week by the magazine Progrès Forestier.
« It is now increasingly recognized that a wide variety of tree species increases the resilience of the forest to disruption », Fanny and Christian write. « Ecologists have developed a new way of assessing diversity based on the biological characteristics of tree species, also known as functional traits. These traits are morphological (maximum tree height, seed size, root depth), physiological (rate of photosynthesis, sensitivity to cavitation, drought tolerance, rejection capacity) or phenological (beginning and end of the annual growing season). » You can download the article below (written in French) to learn more about the functional characteristics of the trees in a typical southern Quebec sugar shack setting, and how scientists make recommendations based on these characteristics to increase a forest’s diversity and resiliency. This article by Christian Messier and Fanny Maure is exclusive to the Winter 2021 edition of Progrès Forestier magazine. The complete editions of Progrès Forestier in both paper and digital format are available by annual subscription. You can click here to go to the magazine’s website.
Intuitively, we tend to think of diversity in terms of numbers of species. However, this concept has been challenged in recent years. Imagine the following: two ecosystems, each with three species. In the first ecosystem, there are two pine species and one spruce - a coniferous forest with all trees having about the same height, a dense evergreen canopy and no understory vegetation. The second ecosystem, has one pine, one maple and one fern species. In other words, one evergreen and one deciduous tree species with ferns in the understory. Now, although species numbers do not vary between these two forests, most people would intuitively call the second one somewhat more diverse. Do you agree? If so, how can we quantify this diversity?
In recent decades, unprecedented changes have impacted ecosystems all over the world causing habitat degradation and loss. The increasing occurrence of extreme climatic events (hurricanes, storms, floods) or the arrival of new insects and diseases (emerald ash borer, Dutch elm disease) are just a few examples of those changes.