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’s main areas of interest have in modelling sustainable pathways for the forestry sector, the impact of a sustainability transition on employment and inequality, stakeholder engagement, and cross-disciplinary knowledge integration and the design of scenarios for the human dimensions of large-scale environmental change.
Models used by the team: FABLE Calculator.
Transforming food and land-use systems in Canada
Canada is the world’s second largest country, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and reaching the Arctic Ocean. The country is mostly covered by forests and freshwater lakes, as well as mountains and plains to a smaller extent. Around 11 percent of the terrestrial area is protected, notably by various national parks, but Canada’s biodiversity faces challenges related to energy production, mining, pollution, wildfires, and diseases.
Although Canada’s agricultural sector accounts for less than 7% of GDP, it is an important food producer. The Canadian internal market for agricultural products is small compared to the country’s productive capacity and much of Canada’s production is oriented towards the international market, especially the US and China. Canadian agricultural production is moderately concentrated in a group of crops: rapeseed, wheat, barley, soybeans, and lentils. All of this implies a high level of economic dependency and vulnerability.
Diets and lifestyles are key drivers of land-use outcomes in Canada, with diets and food waste contributing to a high share of greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s high-fat diet contributes to its high obesity rate (more than a third of the population is affected), while one in eight households is food insecure.
Forests have a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting biodiversity, and preserving fresh water supply. From this perspective, preventing agricultural expansion into forest areas through deforestation bans beyond 2030 could have a significant impact on Canada’s contribution to climate change mitigation. This would be especially relevant in provinces where agriculture is concentrated and continuously expanding Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.
Key national objectives and targets