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Finding Common Ground: The challenge of pollinator conservation in conventional agriculture

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Title: Finding Common Ground: The challenge of pollinator conservation in conventional agriculture
Author: Law, Kathleen
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Bradshaw, Ben
Abstract: Reconciling agriculture and ecology is one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century. To date, most efforts have relied on stewardship programs directed at individual producers or on regulatory measures, when problems become acute, to address environmental externalities. And while such efforts reflect growing recognition that agricultural systems must be sustainable in addition to productive, these governance mechanisms fail to acknowledge, let alone address, the systemic nature of agriculture’s externalities. Increasingly it has been recognized that more adaptive governance approaches are needed to deal with the complex, systemic nature of environmental problems from conventional agriculture. Based on the case of neonicotinoid restrictions and pollinator conservation, this thesis illustrates the limits of current governance approaches and explores the possibility of more adaptive governance in agriculture. Pollinator declines have become a pressing issue at the interface of science and policy, where the uncertainty underlying the exact role of neonicotinoids in pollinator ecology and the need for action have made regulatory measures a highly contentious political endeavor. Prior to 2014, when regulations were enacted, competing claims to scientific certainty impeded genuine collaboration in the search for long-term solutions to bee declines in Ontario. As made clear through engagement with southern Ontario cash crop farmers via interviews and focus groups, collaboration is even less likely following the enactment of regulations on the use of neonicotinoids by Ontario. Barriers include practical and cultural issues at the farm level as well as broader constraints stemming from the availability of technologies and market forces. Insights from this research suggests that there are opportunities to engage with grassroots initiatives at the farm level, but addressing systemic change will require engaging with those grassroots initiatives at higher levels through long-term relationships build on trust and collaboration.
Date: 2016-12
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada