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Key Message

The management of natural resources is on the frontline of the struggle for more sustainable and equitable development.


Dimple Roy· Dimple Roy
Director, Water
Henry David Venema· Henry David Venema
Vice-President, Business Development
Mark Anielski· Mark Anielski
Stephan Barg· Stephan Barg
Livia Bizikova· Livia Bizikova
Senior Researcher
Robert B. Brennan· Robert B. Brennan
Senior Fellow and Associate
David B. Brooks· David B. Brooks
Richard Grosshans· Richard Grosshans
Senior Research Scientist
Peter Hardi· Peter Hardi
Richard Lawford· Richard Lawford
Jim Perry· Jim Perry
László Pintér· László Pintér
Senior Fellow and Associate
Todd Scaletta· Todd Scaletta
Charles Thrift· Charles Thrift
Project Manager
Bishunarine Tulsie· Bishunarine Tulsie
Stephen Tyler· Stephen Tyler
Vivek Voora· Vivek Voora
Karla Zubrycki· Karla Zubrycki
Project Manager
Jean Perras· Jean Perras
Robert Smith· Robert Smith
Ingeborg Niestroy· Ingeborg Niestroy
Pauline Gerrard· Pauline Gerrard
Project Manager
Kimberly Lewtas· Kimberly Lewtas
Research Assistant

Natural Resources

Building resilient ecosystems

What's New in Natural Resources?

  • The First Nations Carbon Collaborative (FNCC)
    The First Nations Carbon Collaborative is a community-driven initiative spearheaded by IISD, the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and three First Nations living within Canada's frontier forests. Undefined carbon rights and a lack of experience prevent First Nations from accessing carbon markets, even though many of them live within and around the boreal forest region, which stores 30 per cent of the world's carbon, according to 2007 research by Woods Hole Research Center.

    The First Nations Carbon Collaborative—Indigenous Peoples and Carbon Markets: An annotated bibliography indicates there is little information about First Nations in Canada and carbon markets and that this void will need to be filled in order for First Nations to become active carbon market participants. The First Nations Carbon Collaborative—Indigenous Carbon Leadership: Voices from the field found that local ownership enhances potential carbon market benefits, well beyond job creation. The review highlights the need to establish realistic time frames, as capacity building can take considerable resources and time to deal with such issues as governance, transmitting local and traditional knowledge, operational training, youth development and succession planning.

The Sustainable Natural Resources Management (SNRM) program carries out policy research, provides advice and builds capacity for integrated, participatory and sustainable natural resources management. IISD's work in Sustainable Natural Resources Management recognizes that the litmus test of good policy—regardless of its origins (global, federal, provincial, municipal)—is if it promotes local resilience. IISD believes that adaptive management builds resilient ecosystems. "Adaptive management" views each management action as an opportunity to further learn how to adapt to changing circumstances—learning by judicious doing. IISD is committed to the research, dissemination and application of those policies, tools and techniques at all scales that build community-level resilience.

The SNRM program's current projects focus on Western Canadian water and agriculture. The Prairie Water Policy Symposium, held in 2005 in Winnipeg, convened 100 water experts to discuss IISD's research on cumulative stresses on prairie water and the capacity to manage adaptively. IISD is now pursuing policy research on the conjunction of Integrated Water Resources Management and Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Canadian Prairie context.

Application of the tools and methodologies being developed by the SNRM program extend well beyond the Canadian Prairies. SNRM's international work also emphasizes building community-scale resilience to environmental stressors such as climate change and natural hazards. The uniquely tragic events of the 2004 Asian tsunami spurred members of IISD's SNRM team to undertake Natural Disasters and Resource Rights: Building Resilience, Rebuilding Lives, a project funded by IISD's Innovation Fund. The project examined the role of resource rights (such as ownership of land, and access to sea and forest products) in community resilience to natural disasters and the effectiveness of post-disaster reconstruction.

IISD's work in the field of natural resources follows a tradition of non-partisan, multi-disciplinary research leading to practical policy advice, and cuts across the following areas.