VIU researchers to analyse mountain environments to project future sustainability threats

VIU researchers to analyse mountain environments to project future sustainability threats
Vancouver Island University research will study rising stresses on mountain ecosystems.

A team of researchers from Vancouver Island University (VIU) will attempt to project 100 years into the future of mountain environments by what is happening in today’s ecosystems.

VIU says a project will look at connections between humans and nature, starting at Mount Arrowsmith, and examine man-made impacts that threaten mountain systems sustainability.

“Without a full understanding of human-caused impacts and a focus on solutions, efforts to conserve fragile mountain ecosystems are certain to fail,” says Research Director of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI) Dr. Pam Shaw in a statement.

Shaw is part of a research team that received $135,000-a-year for the next three years from the Canadian Mountain Network (CMN), based at the University of Alberta.

Over the three years, researchers will analyze a region’s ecosystem, a vital signs study for the Oceanside community, new governance and regulatory studies, and examines what draws people to mountains.

It’s part of a CMN project called, “The View from 2117: Human Actions, Consequences, and Perspectives on Canada’s Mountain Regions”.

A release from VIU says mountains make up one-quarter of Canada’s land-mass, most of which are in B.C.

Researchers say as the population grows, mountain systems face sustainability threats including climate change, biodiversity loss and a lack of water they say all relate to human impacts and “our relationship to the natural environment.”

VIU says a series of projects will take place from the peak of Mount Arrowsmith to the bottom of the Salish Sea, a distance of more than 2.1 kilometres.

“We will then broaden the research to include other biosphere regions across Canada and other mountain regions with layers of jurisdictional complexity,” MABRRI Research & Community Engagement Coordinator Graham Sakaki said in a release.

“If we look at Mount Arrowsmith, there are several jurisdictional authorities that have enacted regulations or policies that would impact people or places and ecosystems on the mountain,” Shaw says.

“We feel there must be a better, uncomplicated way to govern place, one that is perhaps a ‘made on Vancouver Island’ way.


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