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Leopoldo Rocca: CSBO Forestry Internship Student bids farewell and references a sincere request!

Mr. GH is a Stong House resident at 3105 Steeles Ave. The first time I met Mr. GH was in early May of 2012. I was having lunch, sitting on the main entrance stairs of the Stong House. We did not talk too much, we just stared at each other. After three months of frequent encounters around the forests and trees of Keele campus, we both were more comfortable in our communication. Although we weren’t able to talk directly, I understood his plea for me to help “keep the forest alive”.  

Keeping the forests and trees alive is a matter of life or death for Mr. GH. He has built a subterranean infrastructure around campus in order to get access to food from trees, mostly Austrian pines that, for some reason, are in severe decline.

Keeping the physical and natural infrastructure are key elements in achieving SCBO’s vision of a sustainable campus. Wild animals, trees, and forest – natural infrastructure – provide a number of services for our community in terms of human health, economics, ecological and aesthetic benefits. With the ongoing and future development on campus – TTC and PanAm Stadium – we can expect a negative impact on our urban forests, tress and wild animals. CSBO will be challenged to conserve and improve the present forests as requested by Mr. GH.

I am a student in the Master of Forest Conservation program at U or Toronto and have been doing my internship with SCBO for the past three months. In summary, my work was to assess to quality and quantity of urban trees on the Keele campus as part of what will become an overall Urban Forest Strategy.

Mr. GH is a Groundhog (Marmota monax) and I do not know how big his population is. Actually, I do not even know if Mr. GH is “He” or “She” or why GH is building an underground system around the campus Austrian pines and Oaks. That brings opportunity for biological research and an opportunity to engage students and staff with the need to conserve the natural infrastructure in Keele campus. I hope my internship’s results will be a step closer to attend Mr. GH request. Understanding the forest structure and functions are essential knowledge for the design of a sustainable Urban Forest Strategy.

I want to express my sincere thanks to all the CSBO staff for eat support I received enabling me to complete my work. I met some wonderful people and got to see what York is really like from the inside. I will always remember my summer with fond memories.

Leopoldo Rocca

Master of Forest Conservation student

University of Toronto – Faculty of Forestry

Kevin McKague defends his PhD – Making Markets Work for the Poor

Interest in market-based approaches to reduce poverty has grown substantially in the last decade. To date, however, explanations in the management literature of how this can be achieved have focused on viewing the poor as consumers at the base of the economic pyramid, as microentrepreneurs in need of microfinance loans, and as potential employees of local small and medium-sized enterprises. Missing from the core of the management conversation has been an adequate understanding of the poor as primary producers and an explanation that situates them within their broader market and institutional context. Drawing on an in-depth study of market-based poverty alleviation initiatives for smallholder farmers by a non-governmental organization in a least developed economy, this dissertation offers the first theoretical model to explain the process by which a non-state organization can strategically enhance market practices in ways that reduce poverty for poor producers and improve overall market functioning. Findings suggest that meaningful improvements in income can be explained by the enhancement of market practices that redistribute social control toward poor producers in ways that reduce market and government failures. In addition, data revealed that the effectiveness of market development and poverty alleviation strategies is moderated by the extent of institutional leveraging to incentivize market changes in alignment with existing norms and logics. The model offers an integrated explanation of how market-based approaches can alleviate poverty and grow inclusive markets for poor producers. Findings suggest a number of business implications, including the importance of rebalancing power relations and enhancing productivity throughout an entire value chain. In addition, findings contribute to the literatures on business and poverty alleviation and the literatures on institutional change.


News from the former IRS Coordinator Tony Morris!

I began working at IRIS in 2007 starting as a Graduate Assistant, quickly becoming Coordinator until 2009 when I finished my Masters program. My experience at IRIS prepared me for my present career as a Regulatory Specialist at the Sahtu Land and Water Board in the Northwest Territories, where I have been since December 2011.

Working at IRIS gave me the confidence to lead projects, and helped me to develop skills related to research, analysis, administration, and project coordination. All of these skills, have contributed significantly to my present career. Working at IRIS with an interdisciplinary team of colleagues gave me the necessary expertise to now work across disciplines in the regulatory field; from technical scientific fields to policy and legislation. As a Regulatory Specialist, I am responsible for administering and managing land use permit and water licence applications for development in a remote land claim region of the Northwest Territories. The region I work in has mainly oil and gas exploration. Given the remote and ecologically fragile nature of the Northwest Territories, environmental considerations are top of mind when it comes to any development. My work at IRIS, with its various interdisciplinary projects, prepared me for this career in balancing environmental, social and economic considerations.

I owe IRIS and particularly Professor Bazely immensely for the experience I gained at IRIS, which has fundamentally contributed to my current unique and challenging career.

Tony Morris

Former IRIS Coordinator.

November 24, 2012