The SES research group is housed in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. We conduct problem-focused research that is motivated by the perspective that social science insights provide essential contributions for understanding and developing solutions for challenges such as adapting to climate change, minimizing biodiversity and forest loss, and fostering sustainable, self-determined livelihoods. Research in the SES lab covers a wide-range of topics including: assessing the social acceptability of novel forest management interventions in response to climate change; identifying behavioral and institutional barriers to fire preparedness, tracing the impacts of globally-defined conservation regimes on local livelihoods, and examining values-based aspects of rapidly changing and contested conservation mandates in a human dominated – Anthropocene – world. The SES research group is led by Shannon Hagerman, an assistant professor in the department of Forest Resources Management. Shannon is an interdisciplinary, social scientist whose research interests center on the science-policy interface, and a curiosity to understand the social processes by which different forms of knowledge are incorporated into conservation and resource management decisions. Recently, this work has focused on:
Shannon teaches Foundations of Conservation in the Faculty of Forestry’s undergraduate program, as well as a graduate seminar on Qualitative Methods and Research Design. Progress towards addressing contemporary environmental challenges, like adaptation to climate change, requires collaborations between social and natural scientists. Within the Faculty of Forestry, the SES lab provides social science leadership and expertise on projects with the Tree Ring Lab, the Centre for Forest Conservation Genetics, the FACT lab, the Zerriffi Research Group, and the Landscape Ecology Lab. Outside of UBC, our collaborations extend to universities (e.g. Charles Darwin University, University of Central Asia, Duke), First Nations communities (the Yunesit’in Government), and non-governmental organizations (e.g. Northern Rangelands Trust, Natura Foundation Bolivia and RECOFTC-The Center for People and Forests).
Who works in the SES research group?
The SES research group is comprised of a diverse, interdisciplinary, and highly talented group of undergraduate (co-op, work-learn) and graduate students as well as visiting scholars and post-doctoral fellows. Currently there are 3 PhD students, 3 MSc students and 1 undergraduate student. A number of students are cosupervised by faculty in other departments or from different disciplines to reflect a commitment to interdisciplinary research and to create rich learning opportunities. Four of the 7 lab members are international students from countries including Bolivia, Nigeria, the UK and the US. Three students are from Canada.
What does the work entail?
We conduct empirical, problem-focused research at local, regional and global scales using qualitative and mixed methods inquiry (eg interviews, document analysis, surveys). Depending on the problem being investigated, students in the SES lab pursue collaborative, and researcher-driven designs. The former entails close consultation with community partners to co-develop the research to ensure respectful engagement and produce meaningful outcomes. Current field sites include domestic (British Columbia, Canada) and international (Bolivia, Cambodia, Kenya, Central Asia, US) contexts. Our work is published in top ranked environmental studies and conservation journals including Global Environmental Change, Conservation Letters, Ecology & Society and Land Use Policy.
What is currently going in the SES research group?
Here is a summary of the research that students in the SES lab are currently working on:
Yemi Adeyeye (PhD student) is UBC Public Scholar and Liu Scholar working with Natura Foundation Bolivia to study the politics of different knowledge systems in the development of an indigenous-driven, alternative REDD+ program in Boliva.
Kasmira Cockerill (MSc student) is building on her 4 years of experience with conservation conservancies in Kenya to examine plural views about conservation in the conservancies of the Northern Rangelands Trust, so as to better understand successes and dilemmas in practice.
Alice Henry (MSc student, co-supervised with Rob Kozak) is studying how different actors involved in the Great Bear Rainforest negotiations perceive the role of informal institutions (eg bridging organizations) in fostering or eroding the legitimacy of the agreement.
Sophie Lewis (PhD student) is building on her 4 years’ experience working with RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests on community forestry in Cambodia, to examine the impacts of internationally-driven forest conservation and EU Timber Regulation on local livelihoods.
Ricardo Pelai (past co-op, and current undergraduate work-learn student) has been centrally involved in a number of projects within the SES lab including a recently published analysis of the implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in Canada. He is currently working on a systematic review of recommendations for forest management given climate change.
Angeline Robertson (PhD student co-supervised with Rob Kozak) comes to the SES lab with years of international experience in forest certification and compliance with the Forest Stewardship Council and Accreditation Services International. Angeline is developing equitable and ‘climatesmart’ approaches to protecting species and ecosystems.
Natalie Swift (MSc student co-supervised with Janette Bulkan) is working through Ecotrust Canada for and with the Tsilhqot’in community of Yunesit’in to develop forestbased livelihood initiatives that are informed by the local culture, that empower women and youth, and that support the community’s vision for financial independence.
Who funds the work in the SES research group
Research in the SES group is funded by 4 main sources. Federal sources, including from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Genome Canada’s GE3LS program, comprise the majority of funding for our past and current work. Owing to the calibre of talent in our lab, many students are funded by Scholarships and Fellowships (eg UBC Four Year Fellowships), as well as the highly prestigious UBC Public Scholars and Liu Scholars awards. Our lab also attracts Internal UBC Research Funds (eg UBC Hampton Fund) which has supported exceptional opportunities for student fieldwork. Finally, we work with Non-Governmental Organizations, most recently the Northern Rangelands Trust, and the Dr Leigh Munro Trust, who generously support student research.
How can you can contact the SES RG?
The SES research group is committed to making both scholarly and societal contributions. We aim to foster a positive space to grapple with, and foster solutions for addressing dilemmas relating to biodiversity conservation and resource management. If you would like to learn more about the group, visit them at our website: http://ses.forestry.ubc.ca.
Shannon Hagerman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.