Meet the FABLE Canada team
The team is led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Waterloo. UBC is known for its award-winning teaching programs and leading-edge research on a wide range of subjects. Its research continually strives to redefine and broaden the conception of forestry by addressing a wide variety of issues from biodiversity conservation, environmental justice, and climate change mitigation to sustainable forest management, urban forestry, and bioproducts development, to name a few. The University of Waterloo (Department of Knowledge Integration) provides a home and a context for a distinctive undergraduate degree, with a commitment to integrating knowledge across disciplines.
The team has been primarily focused on assessing how Canada, a large and underpopulated country with most of its agroforestry production being exported, can make a greater contribution to mitigating climate change and improving biodiversity protection, both domestically and internationally. This involves increasing productivity. Additionally, the team is interested in exploring how healthier diets and lifestyles can aid in advancing these goals. They are also studying policies aimed at promoting sustainable forest practices, as well as the utilization of timber and lignocellulosic materials for various purposes such as construction, energy, and biomaterials. All of these efforts are taking place against the backdrop of the country's challenge in recognizing and strengthening indigenous land rights over vast areas of Canada.
Models used by the team: FABLE Calculator.
Transforming food and land-use systems in Canada
Canada, the second largest country in the world, has a population of less than 40 million people. Approximately 50% of the country's terrestrial territory is covered by forests, many of which are located in remote and inaccessible areas. Meanwhile, Canada holds a strategic position as one of the main producers and exporters of several crops, including wheat, canola, and lentils, making it crucial for global food supply.
The impact of climate change, such as altered temperatures, rainfall patterns, and changes in the growing season, has both positive and negative effects on the agroforestry sector in Canada. However, the spillover effects of these changes on land-use dynamics and biodiversity in other countries have not been adequately studied. With the implementation of effective policies, Canada has the potential to enhance its role as a sustainable and reliable source of food and biomaterials worldwide. Moreover, such efforts would alleviate pressure on more fragile ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and contribute to achieving social goals.
Although Canada does not face issues related to illegal logging and deforestation, the health of its forests is significantly impacted by climate change. Pests and wildfires are causing degradation in vast forested areas, leading to a reduction in the timber supply for the industry. This poses a key challenge, as timber plays a crucial role as a raw material in the emerging low-carbon economy, particularly in sectors such as construction, biomaterials, and energy.
Furthermore, Canadian farmers are grappling with substantial changes in weather conditions, which affect the cultivation of their main crops. While some changes may improve crop yields, others necessitate a fundamental shift in established farming practices. These challenges are exacerbated by a context of war and deglobalization, resulting in higher prices for essential agricultural inputs like fertilizers, gasoline, and pesticides.
Within the framework of the FABLE initiative, Canada's significance lies not in terms of domestic consumption, imports, or ecological degradation but rather as a country capable of contributing to global food and biomaterial supplies at a reasonable cost, without compromising key ecosystems and enabling the achievement of other social goals. Nonetheless, Canada faces its own social challenges, including the recognition of indigenous land rights, immigration and social integration, and economic dependence on certain trade partners. These factors may limit the country's ability to implement sustainable public policies effectively.
Key national objectives and targets