Expanding the scope of species at risk research: A social-ecological dimension


  • Abdullah Al Mamun, Postdoctoral Fellow, Indigenous Land Management Institute, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, Canada (aam099@mail.usask.ca)
  • Naomi Carriere, Ph.D. Student, School of Environment and Sustainability & Indigenous Land Management Institute, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Ryan Brook, Assistant Professor, Indigenous Land Management Institute & Department of Animal and Poultry Science, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

This session will focus on current research methods including theoretical, conceptual understanding on social-ecological issues concerning Species at Risk in Canada. Under federal legislation, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) considers actions needed to recover a species with a status of threatened or endangered (Reid 2014). Once a species is listed under this legislation, target oriented approaches are often proposed by scientists, with specific focus on conservation of critical habitat (Desmet and Cowling 2004). Development and implementation of recovery strategies are ostensibly science-based and may include Traditional Ecological Knowledge as well. Furthermore, they are highly political and often very controversial, for example with current efforts in Canada to kill thousands of wolves to ‘protect’ woodland caribou populations and delisting of humpback whales. Given this understanding, a target oriented approach to support Species at Risk should have social, ecological, ethical and power dimensions and must be investigated using  multiple frameworks. Resilience theory has come to include a wide range of ideas that are rooted in a systems perspective (social-ecological systems, power dynamics, rights and livelihoods etc.) and provide a holistic framework to analysis issues of conservation (Gunderson 2013). How much model driven approach is effective in supporting habitat conservation for managing issues surrounding species at risk? What are the social-ecological implications of proposing conservation reserves? These are some of the questions we would like to discuss in a session on Species at Risk.  We encourage submitting scholarly works from natural resources managers, including graduate students and researchers of related disciplines. Topics may include:

  • Innovative methodologies in social-ecological systems
  • Participatory approaches to species at risk
  • Governance at multiple scales
  • Policy and power dynamics
  • Property rights
  • Traditional knowledge systems
  • Ethno-ecological modeling
  • Common property systems

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please submit your contact details, proposed paper title and abstract (200 words max.) to Abdullah Al Mamun (aam099@mail.usask.ca) by 15 February 2015.

Desmet, P. and R. Cowling. 2004. Using the species–area relationship to set baseline targets for conservation. Ecology and Society 9(2): 11. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss2/art11
Gunderson, L. 2013. How the Endangered Species Act promotes unintelligent, misplaced tinkering. Ecology and Society 18(1): 12. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05601-180112
Government of Canada. 1982. Constitution Act, 1982, s35.
Reid, T-L. 2014. Canadian Wildlife Federation. Issues Update: Species at Risk (URL: http://cwf-cf.org/en/discover-wildlife/resources/online-articles/species-at-risk.html)