CMN researchers looking to the past and future to understand human impacts on mountains
Mountains make up one-quarter of Canada’s land-mass, and most are in British Columbia (BC). As our population continues to grow, mountain ecosystems face unprecedented threats to their sustainability, including climate change impacts, biodiversity loss and lack of water. All relate to human impacts and our relationship to the natural environment.
What will our mountains look like 100 years from now? Vancouver Island University researchers are studying both past data and future projections over 100 years to discover how mountain ecosystems are changing due to human activity. The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) is proud to support this three-year project entitled, The View from 2117: Human Actions, Consequences, and Perspectives on Mountain Regions. The View from 2117 refers both to the vertical extent of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR), where the study takes place, and to the study’s projections to the year 2117.
This group of researchers, led by Dr. Pamela Shaw, Research Director of the MABR Institute, is examining how population growth and behaviour, societal change and regulatory regimes have affected and will affect mountain environments, mountain peoples and First Nations communities. Their methodology includes demographic analyses, indicator development, field research, surveys, focus groups, and psychological assessments, which speak to the interconnectedness of people, economies, cultures and environments.
The project focuses on the UNESCO-designated MABR, which overlaps the territories of seven First Nations, four biogeoclimatic zones and three local governments. MABR contains a mix of ecosystems, including alpine meadows, old-growth forests and resource lands as well as industrial, commercial areas and residential areas. Mount Arrowsmith is also the largest mountain on southern Vancouver Island, BC.
Project partners include representatives from the Qualicum, K’òmoks, and Snaw Naw As First Nations, as well as industry and local government representatives. They will provide insights on regulations, demographics, and societal change to reduce human impacts on mountain ecosystems and help improve policy and regulatory frameworks.
The study will then be broadened and replicated to include other biosphere regions across Canada and other mountain regions. The research aims to influence how we view and regulate mountain landscapes and contribute to a better understanding of our relationship with these fragile and changing environments.
Read about the study here: