Environmental degradation is destroying ecosystems and pushing species to the point of extinction at an accelerating rate. To address this growing crisis and to ensure a healthy environment for future generations, researchers in the Centre for Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation (ERA) at the University of Waterloo are working to repair damaged ecosystems, conserve rare habitats, and protect species-at-risk.
Ecosystems are essential sources of food, materials, and natural spaces for people and provide a wealth of biological diversity. While most ecosystem research focuses on natural science, governance, or one location, professors in ERA are using their foundation in natural and physical sciences to go further and help decision-makers develop better policy and governance relating to ecosystems. As a result, ERA focuses on:
Professors at UW have done pioneering research relating to biosphere reserves, planning and management in parks and protected areas, and new approaches to ecological restoration. This work has led to advanced ecological modeling, new conservation and restoration policies for parks and protected areas, and multiple approaches for integrated management of invasive species.
The Centre builds on these accomplishments by increasing the number of researchers working on large-scale projects, such as landscape processes that affect ecological restoration and how climate change might increase the spread of invasive species into protected areas.
To increase the impact of its research, the Centre focuses on three main themes:
Researchers in the Centre play key roles in several regional and national organizations. The Parks Research Forum of Ontario, Society of Ecological Restoration Ontario, and Carolinian Canada Coalition are co-ordinated by professors in the Faculty. Researchers also have numerous linkages to NGOs, government agencies, and businesses involved in ecosystem research, management, and action.
Faculty members have been leaders in merging social and environmental integrity and have contributed to Canada’s national committee for the UNESCO Biosphere program, the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and pursued research that led to the formation of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
Public interest in ecological restoration is growing. ERA‘s research will help citizens to bring back indigenous species and ecological processes that may have disappeared from their communities. Many environmental success stories start at the neighbourhood level where people are connected to their local surroundings.
The Centre’s work will complement the Diploma in Ecological Restoration and Rehabilitation offered by the Faculty of Environment. The diploma gives students a jump on their careers by providing specific knowledge and opportunities to work on real-world projects.
Housed in an multidisciplinary Faculty of Environment, the Centre’s researchers are addressing the impacts of global change through collaboration with UW-based Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, Canadian Water Network, and Adaptations and Impacts Research Division of Environment Canada.
By partnering with other leaders in ecosystem research such as Parks Canada, the University of Victoria, Texas A&M University, State University of New York at Buffalo, Rutgers University, and Murdoch University in Australia, professors in the Centre will be key international contributors and strengthen Waterloo’s position as Canada’s leading research centre on ecological resilience.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Stephen Murphy
Department of Environment and Resource Studies
University of Waterloo
Waterloo ON N2L 3G1
519-888-4567, ext. 35616