Policy Stream 1: REGIONAL PLANNING FOR ECOSYSTEM GOODS & SERVICES
Steve Price (introduction)
Vic Adamowicz (moderator)
Some of the goods and services that we value most come not from markets, but from our natural surroundings. From clean water to carbon sequestration, public recreation to flood mitigation, many benefits to society come from ecosystems, and the organisms they support. When the people who own these ecosystems are compensated for maintaining the benefits they provide, the product being sold is called an ‘ecosystem service’.
As concerns about ecosystem services become more common, questions arise. How do government boundaries and planning processes impact ecosystem services? How are municipalities responding to the need for ecosystem services planning? Can coordination between jurisdictions really work to mitigate floods, or purify water? How can priorities be set between different needs, in different areas?
This policy stream explores the importance of regional planning in supporting the provision of ecosystem services, with sessions addressing real-world examples from Alberta and abroad.
Plenary Session: Regional Approach on Prioritization of Ecosystem Services (9:00 - 9:45)
Many jurisdictions around the world are striving to conserve or enhance the provision of ecosystem goods and services as part of their development plans. These services, provided by natural systems, include flood protection, water quality improvements, pollination, recreation and other benefits of natural capital. But how are priorities for the different environmental services being set? How is the provision of ecosystem services balanced with regional and municipal development objectives? What mechanisms are being used to provide ecosystem services and how are they being incorporated into regional planning?
This plenary presentation explores experiences from other jurisdictions that have prioritized ecosystem service provision and linked ecosystem service to regional planning, particularly in Australia. The lessons learned regarding the development of priorities and the implementation of mechanisms for the provision of ecosystem services will be highlighted and related to the Alberta situation.
Panel Discussion: Ecosystem Services & Municipal Priorities (9:45 - 10:45)
Irena Creed - "Wetlands Restoration can help us Fast Track the Return of Watershed Ecosystem Services."
The importance of ecosystem services is an integral part of municipal planning and land use. How do municipalities currently incorporate ecosystem services into their planning processes? What questions do municipalities have about utilizing ecosystem services to meet their planning objectives, and how can ecosystem services help them meet potential objectives?
Concurrent Session A: Conservation Offsets and Regulatory Mechanisms for Ecosystem Services (11:00 - 12:00)
Through regulations such as its newly-implemented Wetland Policy, the Government of Alberta is introducing conservation offsets as a strategy for sustainability. How does this system operate, what questions remain around its implementation and effectiveness, and what alternative systems might be considered in an Alberta context?
Concurrent Session B: Ecosystem Services, Science, and Municipal Risk Management (11:00 - 12:00)
Ecosystem services play an important role in mitigating certain risks faced by municipalities. For issues related to water, such as flooding and water quality, how can the presence of wetlands provide significant benefits for municipalities? How is research contributing to our understanding of these issues?
May 4, 2016 - Afternoon
Policy Stream 2: ALBERTA'S AGRICULTURE INDUSTRIES IN A CHANGING CONTEXT
Human development is creating new and unprecedented pressures on land use around the world. Statistics Canada has noted that Alberta is Canada’s fastest-growing province, and this development that places pressure on 52 million acres of farmland, and the water that serves the province’s agriculture. The resulting fragmentation and conversion of farmland, and the perceived need for new water management policies, represent a significant regional planning concern for the province.
How are new pressures on operations affecting farmers? How are Alberta’s agricultural industries and irrigators responding to competing water demands? How are governments setting priorities, and creating policy that either addresses or contributes to this changing reality? How do people feel about the changes?
This policy stream examines how land use in Alberta is influenced by a changing context, and how regional planning could influence developments in irrigation, land conversion, and municipal growth policies.
Plenary Session: Land Use and Competing Demands in a Global Context (1:15 - 2:00)
On a global scale, human development is causing land use change, impacting the ecosystem services. What are the forces affecting land use and ecosystem service provision? What policies can be used to address potential adverse outcomes or risks associated with these changes? How are policy makers balancing development with potential impacts on the landscapes which provide ecosystem services? How are they accommodating changes in available ecosystem services within their regions?
Panel Discussion: Demands, Pressures and Attitudes Surrounding Farmland in Alberta(2:00 - 3:00)
In Alberta, the pressures of development in the ‘white zone’ are more acutely noted in the agricultural industry. This panel explores specific pressures relating to the conversion and fragmentation of Alberta’s agricultural land, competing water demands for Alberta’s irrigation sector, and public attitudes towards the changing agricultural environment.
Concurrent Session A: Agricultural Land Conversion in Alberta(3:15 - 4:15)
It is commonly thought that agricultural land in Alberta is being fragmented or converted to non-agricultural uses on a wide scale. Across Alberta’s white zone, how much agricultural land is being converted or fragmented, what factors might be influencing these changes, and what areas are seeing the greatest impact?
Note: Arturo Sánchez-Azofeifawas scheduled to present during this session, but was unable to participate due to unforeseen circumstances.
Concurrent Session B: Municipal Tools and Pressures on Land Use (3:15 - 4:15)
Lisa Holmes - "Municipal Tools and Pressures on Land Use."
As municipalities face growing demands to generate revenue, the tools they use may contribute to the pressures placed upon surrounding landscapes. What tools in use by Alberta’s municipalities contribute to fragmentation and conversion of agricultural land, and other impacts on the landscape, and what other options might municipalities have available to reduce any adverse impacts?
May 5, 2016 - Morning
Policy Stream 3: GOVERNANCE & REGIONAL PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABILITY
In Alberta, expansive regional planning began with the development of the Land Use Framework, and the creation of the Alberta Land Stewardship Act in 2011. As that policy approaches its fifth year, many questions remain about how regional planning is conducted in the province, and how governance can continue to evolve to support sustainability.
How have international jurisdictions undertaken regional planning? How has the Land Use Framework performed to date? How is sustainability defined, and how might it be supported by municipal structures?
This policy stream considers real-world examples of how regional planning can be implemented effectively, and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the pioneering land management policies adopted in the province of Alberta.
Plenary Session: An International Perspective onGovernance and Regional Planning(8:30 - 9:15)
Regional planning has been undertaken in a variety of jurisdictions around the world. Drawing upon the experience of an individual closely involved in one such process, what practical lessons can be learned about governance and regional planning? What common challenges can be identified, and how might they be avoided? Can sustainable practices incorporated into this process?
Panel Discussion: Report Card on the Land Use Framework (9:15 - 10:45)
The Land Use Framework guides regional planning in Alberta. How successful has this framework been in promoting sustainable planning across the province? What concerns have been raised by municipal leaders, planners, and environmental advocates working within the framework? How might the framework be improved?
Concurrent Session A: Municipal Planning Within the Land Use Framework (11:00 - 12:00)
Municipalities in Alberta continue to plan individually or collectively, but must do so in accordance with the guidelines established in the Land Use Framework. How can planners working in the municipal context adhere to these guidelines while accommodating their needs, priorities, and obligations to citizens?
Concurrent Session B: Thresholds in the Land Use Framework: The Science-Policy Linkage (11:00 - 12:00)
The Land Use Framework sets out thresholds that must be avoided in a variety of areas, such as air quality, biodiversity and water quality. How have these thresholds been established? How can planners in Alberta understand these thresholds, and work to accommodate them within their regional plans?
May 5, 2016 - Afternoon
Keynote Address: The National Ecosystem Assessment and Ecosystem Services Planning in the United Kingdom (1:15 - 2:15)
In the United Kingdom, the National Ecosystem Assessment (UK-NEA) established a framework for ecosystem services planning. Dr. Ian Bateman OBE, FRSA, FRSB, was the head of economics for UK-NEA, and led the economics component for the assessment’s second phase. In his keynote address at Land Use 2016, Ian will share stories about that process, some lessons learned, and some practical advice. He will also discuss the ongoing relationship between economic research and environmental policy development in the United Kingdom.