Quebec Studies

Bridging the Biophysical and Social in Transboundary Water Governance: Québec and its Neighbors

Quebec Studies (2006), 42, (1), 133–140.

Abstract

133 Bridging the Biophysical and Social in Transboundary Water Governance: Québec and its Neighbors Amy Lauren Lovecraft University of Alaska Fairbanks Regional problem context Human behaviors have always altered ecological systems. However, in the past few decades human actions have begun to change the fundamental properties of ecosystems at a faster pace and more extensively than ever recorded in human history (Chapin et al. 2006; Millennium Ecosystems Assessment [MEA] 2005). Freshwater ecosystems are particularly vulner­ able to the suite of changes caused by human activities. Over the next few decades increasing demands for water and climate change acceleration will contribute to major physical, ecological, social, and economic changes across North-American watersheds. Changes of this magnitude are likely to fundamentally alter the current patterns of natural resource use and gov­ ernance in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence water system. How can we plan to protect and distribute water effectively under conditions of change? How should governance between nations, states, provinces, and munici­ palities be structured to provide both equity and efficiency in water delivery? What roles do history and culture play in creating and imple­ menting water policy in this region? The articles in this volume are each a part of the answers to these interrelated questions. The complex set of ecosystems contained in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed are vulnerable to an uncertain ecological future where the stakeholders (e.g. businesses, citizens, municipalities) and natural sys­ tems (e.g. rivers, lakes, wetlands, wildlife) discussed in this volume are vul­ nerable to policy decisions that can provide or remove the freshwater resources they depend upon. While it may seem odd to discuss issues of water scarcity in a region with such vast resources, it is important to remember the interconnectedness of the system. Changes to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system directly affect both water quantity and quality, changes in water levels and quality directly affect the health and well-being of the region's populations, and conflicts over water have the potential to heighten intra- and inter-national political tensions. The preceding authors demonstrate the need to evaluate the role of Québec in relation to the other governments sharing its waters. This article engages their contributions and suggests an approach to bridge the natural and social sciences in a way that can focus policymakers and scholars toward designing effective and equitable institutions for the long-term sustainability of water resources in the region. Québec Studies, Volume 42, Fall 2006/Winter 2007

Access Token
£25.00

Agrawal, Arun (2005a). Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects. Durham, NC: Duke UP. Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects Google Scholar

Agrawal, Arun (2005b). "Environmentality: Community, Intimate Government, and the Making of Environmental Subjects in Kumaon, India." Current Anthropology 46. 2: 161-90. Environmentality: Community, Intimate Government, and the Making of Environmental Subjects in Kumaon, India Current Anthropology 46 161 90 Google Scholar

Anderies, J. M., M. A. Janssen, E. Ostrom (2004). "A Framework to Analyze the Robustness of Social-ecological Systems from an Institutional Perspective." Ecology and Society 9.1:18. A Framework to Analyze the Robustness of Social-ecological Systems from an Institutional Perspective Ecology and Society 9 18 Google Scholar

Berkes, F. and Folke, C. (1998). Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience, eds. F. Berkes and C. Folke. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience Google Scholar

Brosius, Peter (1999). "Analyses and Interventions: Anthropological Engagements with Environmentalism." Current Anthropology 40. 3 (June): 277-309. Analyses and Interventions: Anthropological Engagements with Environmentalism Current Anthropology 40 277 309 Google Scholar

Chapin, F. S., III, A. L. Lovecraft, E. S. Zavaleta, J. Nelson, M. D. Robards, G. P. Kofinas, S. F. Trainor, G. Peterson, H. P. Huntington, and R. L. Naylor (2006). "Policy Strategies to Address Sustainability of Alaskan Boreal Forests in Response to a Directionally Changing Climate." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the Early Edition: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0606955103 www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0606955103 Policy Strategies to Address Sustainability of Alaskan Boreal Forests in Response to a Directionally Changing Climate Google Scholar

Constanza, R.L, L. Wainger, C. Folke, K. Maler (1993). "Modeling Complex Ecological Economic Systems: Toward an Evolutionary, Dynamic Understanding of People and Nature." BioScience 43. 8: 545-55. Modeling Complex Ecological Economic Systems: Toward an Evolutionary, Dynamic Understanding of People and Nature BioScience 43 545 55 Google Scholar

Donahue, John and Barbara Rose Johnston (1998). Water, Culture, and Power: Local Struggles in a Global Context. Washington D. C.: Island Press. Water, Culture, and Power: Local Struggles in a Global Context Google Scholar

Folke, C, T. Hahn, P. Olsson, and J. Norberg (2005). "Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Systems." Annual Review of Environmental Resources 30: 441-73. Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Systems Annual Review of Environmental Resources 30 441 73 Google Scholar

Gunderson, L. H. and C. S. Holling, eds. (2002). Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. Washington, DC: Island Press. Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems Google Scholar

Kehoe, Terence (1997). Cleaning Up the Great Lakes: From Cooperation to Confrontation. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois UP. Cleaning Up the Great Lakes: From Cooperation to Confrontation Google Scholar

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Washington, D. C.: Island Press. Google Scholar

Ostrom, Elinor (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. New York: Cambridge UP. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action Google Scholar

Young, Oran R. (2002). The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental Change: Fit Interplay and Scale. Cambridge, MA.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology P. The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental Change: Fit Interplay and Scale Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Lovecraft, Amy