The new transdisciplinary centre will focus on conservation and restoration, protected areas and adaptation of humans and other organisms. Ecosystems, with their wealth of biological diversity, provide essential sources of food, materials and natural spaces for people.
The centre’s researchers, drawn from the natural, physical, mathematical and social sciences, aim to help decision-makers develop better policy and governance to buffer ecosystems against unwanted and unprecedented change. Their innovative ecological work to date has resulted in advanced ecological modelling, new conservation and restoration policies for parks and protected areas, and multiple approaches for integrated management of invasive species. The researchers are based at Waterloo and at other universities and organizations.
In the future, the researchers will focus on:
* how ecosystems respond in the face of changes created by human activities,
* how organisms within ecosystems adapt to change,
* when, and how, people should actively assist ecosystems in order to boost resilience, and
* how human activities should change in order to improve ecosystem resilience.
Researchers will investigate new approaches to prevent and repair damaged ecosystems in order to maintain or restore resilience. Also, they will probe the role of protected areas in facilitating ecosystem resilience and adaptation, along with the capacity for ecosystem components to adapt to changes in the environment.
Work at the centre complements the diploma in ecological restoration and rehabilitation offered by Waterloo’s faculty of environment. The diploma provides students with specific knowledge and opportunities to work on real-world projects.