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Assessment of Invasive Alien Species in Ontario

Invasive alien species (IAS) represent the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss, and their impacts are increasing worldwide with the rise of globalization. Once established, IAS can cause irreparable ecological harm and can threaten human health and food security. This project is in response to the long standing and unresolved issues surrounding IAS in Ontario. With the introduction of Ontario's Biodiversity Strategy and Canada's commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity there is a pressing need for a comprehensive assessment of IAS issues in Ontario. In order to move forward Ontario must determine priorities and appropriate management techniques to solve these complex and increasingly pervasive issues.

This research will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to examine current and potential future IAS threats, their ecological and socio-economic impacts, and our preparedness to prevent and manage IAS in Ontario. A comparative analysis of IAS efforts undertaken by other jurisdictions will also be conducted. The goal of this project is to connect scientific knowledge on IAS with appropriate policy in order to meet Ontario's objectives and commitments relating to biodiversity conservation. The work will be conducted in close consultation with the Ontario Biodiversity Science Forum and the Ontario Biodiversity Council, two advisory bodies guiding implementation of the province's Biodiversity Strategy. Research results will be used to inform the provincial government's 2010 State of Ontario's Biodiversity Report.

Andrea Smith, post-doctoral fellow for IRIS, and her graduate assistant, Tony Morris, are leading this project.

Publications

Missing the Boat on Invasive Alien Species: A Review of Post-Secondary Curricula in Canada

Norm and Dawn have been teaching about invasive non-indigenous species for over a decade, and together with Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Andrea Smith, turned their research towards the question of why there are not more courses and programmes focussed on this issue

Authors: Andrea L. Smith, Dawn R. Bazely and Norman D. Yan

Journal: Canadian Journal of Higher Education 2011. 41: 34 – 47

Date: 2011

Abstract: Invasive alien species (IAS) cause major environmental and economic damage worldwide, and also threaten human food security and health. The impacts of IAS are expected to rise with continued globalization, land use modification, and climate change. Developing eff ective strategies to deal with IAS requires a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, in which scientists norman yan

work co-operatively with social scientists and policy-makers. Higher education can contribute to this process by training professionals to balance the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of the IAS problem. We examined the extent of such training in Canada by reviewing undergraduate and graduate university curricula at all 94 member institutions of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada for IAS content.  We found that degree and diploma programs focusing on IAS issues are lacking at Canadian post-secondary institutions. Furthermore, few courses are devoted solely to IAS, and those that are typically adopt an ecological perspective. We argue that the absence of interdisciplinary university curricula on IAS in Canada negatively aff ects our ability to respond to this growing global challenge. We present several international educational programs on IAS as case studies on how to better integrate training on invasive species into university curricula in Canada.Links: http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/cjhe/article/view/2174

Re-print request to: Dawn Bazely and Norman Yan, Department of Biology, York University, 4700 Keele Stree, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

Copyright: Copyright © 2011 Candian Journal of Higher Education

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