Capstone Team G: Applying the RAD Framework in Climate Informed Planning and Decision Making

This post was written to report the work of Capstone Team G, one of the teams of Park Leaders involved in the Winter 2021 Park Leaders Development Program

With the growing pressure of climate change, cultural and natural heritage sites in Canada’s parks and protected areas are facing continuously greater challenges. Parks leaders and stakeholders are having to problem solve on tight timelines, tighter budgets, and with the knowledge that many Canadians have a vested interest in the outcome of their decisions. Our capstone team was interested in understanding the challenges that come with making these decisions, and ways in which to simplify complex decision making processes.

Our interest began with wanting to explore both the natural and cultural impacts of climate change. Often, cultural landmarks are left out of the discussion when talking about the impacts of climate change on Canada’s landscape. However, valuable cultural sites, such as the centuries old Totem Pole stand at Haida Gwaii, are facing possible destruction as a direct result of rising sea levels. Important decisions are being made on whether or not to preserve these landmarks, and how to do so.

Our group was first inspired by the infographic created by Capstone Team A in the Fall 2020 CPCIL eResidency. Capstone Team A had created an infographic outlining climate-informed planning and decision making when responding to climate change in Canada’s parks and protected areas. Our goal was to further their study by focusing on one decision making tool to see how it would fare in climate-informed decision making. 

 

During the winter 2021 eResidency, we learned about the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) framework for decision making. Published in December 2020, the RAD framework is a decision making tool created by the National Park Service. The decision maker has three options when approaching a problem: resist change, accept change, or direct change. The RAD framework lays out clear avenues of thought when making climate change-related decisions. Throughout the months that followed the eResidency, our team researched many decision making tools, however the RAD framework continued to prove the most relevant when approaching natural and cultural heritage.

 

With this in mind, and the permission of Capstone Team A, we decided to update their infographic to integrate the RAD framework and include cultural resources as well as natural resources. We found the RAD framework could be tested using real conservation case studies. We also found in our exploration of decision making tools, that while many tools exist, few are tailored specifically to climate change, and even fewer address climate change as it relates to natural and cultural heritage sites. This is an area where little work has been done. We think that expanding upon this topic will not only be of interest in the future, but necessary to preserve, or accept the loss of, Canada’s natural and cultural heritage landmarks.

Open .pdf of Infographic

 Decision making in Canada’s parks and protected areas will only get more complex with the increasing pressure of climate change. The infographic that we have created can contribute to park leadership by laying out a simple, yet effective method of working through difficult decisions. It also shows that these decisions do not need to be made in isolation. Many leaders across Canada are facing similar issues, and coming together to discuss seemingly impossible decisions will help foster a dialogue in which ideas can be shared, problems can be solved, and ultimately, responsible and tough decisions can be made.

 

Moving forward, we believe next steps could include:

  1. Sharing the updated graphic across the parks network via the CPCIL website 
  2. Our team sharing the infographic internally within our park organizations, and offering our cohort to do the same
  3. Future CPCIL Capstone groups looking further into case studies, and put this theory into practice with the help of site managers and stakeholders. Examples our team explored to determine the usefulness of decision making tools include:
  • The declining Woodland Caribou herd in Jasper National Park due to altered predator-prey dynamics, human disturbance, and habitat loss.
  • Rising sea levels impacting the existence of the totem poles in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.
  • Other sensitive climate change impacted examples currently under review with various park agencies.

Climate Change and Protected Places: Parks Canada’s adaptation framework and workshop approach

Journal: Parks Stewardship Forum, 36(1)

Title: Parks Canada’s adaptation framework and workshop approach: Lessons learned across a diverse series of adaptation workshops

Permalinkhttps://escholarship.org/uc/item/4jf7c0x1

Authors: Nelson, Elizabeth, Mathieu, Elyse, Thomas, Julia, et al.

Publication Date: 2020

Citation:

Nelson, Elizabeth, Elyse Mathieu, Julia Thomas, Hilary Harrop Archibald, Hilary Ta, David Scar-
lett, Lydia Miller, Blythe MacInnis, Virginia Sheehan, Kristina Pompura, Donya Hassanzadeh,
Lillith Brook, Jennifer Grant, Dawn Carr, Laura Graham, Jenny Harms, Ramon Sales, Karen
Hartley, Robert Cameron, Cameron Eckert, Jessica Elliot, Delaney Boyd, and Dinah Tambalo.
2020. Parks Canada’s adaptation framework and workshop approach: Lessons learned across a
diverse series of adaptation workshops. Parks Stewardship Forum 36(1): 77–83.
https://escholarship.org/uc/psf

Abstract:

In 2017, the Canadian Parks Council Climate Change Working Group, a team of federal, provincial, and territorial representatives, developed a Climate Change Adaptation Framework for Parks and Protected Areas, guiding practi- tioners through a simple, effective five-step adaptation process. This framework was adapted by Parks Canada into a two-day adaptation workshop approach, with 11 workshops subsequently held from September 2017 to May 2019 at Parks Canada sites in the Yukon, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Ontario. Lessons learned from each workshop have been integrated into the approach, with the development of tools and guidance for each phase of the process, and a shareable, visual “placemat” that describes each step of the framework, acting as a map for those navigating the process.

Link to Article

Conservation Through Reconciliation Resources

Working Towards a Solutions Bundle

The Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership is working with its partners to create The Solutions Bundle, an interactive website designed in Ethical Space to help build knowledge, capacity, and relationships in support of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and Indigenous conservation leadership. The Solutions Bundle will combine the concepts of a western toolkit and an Indigenous medicine bundle and will serve as an example of Two-Eyed Seeing where Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge systems will be valued equally.  

The CRP is aiming to launch the Solutions Bundle in June 2021. In the meantime, we have created a temporary research engine to house resources and help share information.

Please visit https://conservation-reconciliation.ca/ipcaresources to learn more. To contribute resources or share ideas for improving the search function, please contact crpinfo@uoguelph.ca.