Our Research Partners

ALUS partners with leading research institutions across Canada, North America and the world.

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ALUS projects are fertile laboratories for primary scientific research. ALUS partners with leading academic institutions across Canada, North America and the world who are researching such topics as ecosystem services, species at risk, pollinator health, water quality, climate change adaptation, and much more.

ALUS Canada is proud to collaborate with the following research partners:

Department of Geography, University of Guelph

ALUS Canada works with Dr. Wanhong Yang, a Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at the University of Guelph, to quantify the environmental benefits of different agricultural conservation practices, such as wetlands and riparian buffers, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of conservation programs in agricultural watersheds. This work is ongoing in two provinces: In Ontario, Dr. Yang is conducting a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of ALUS projects for phosphorus reduction within the priority regions identified by the Great Lakes Protection Initiative. This research is supported by a grant from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ALUS Norfolk, ALUS Middlesex and ALUS Chatham-Kent). In Alberta, Dr. Yang’s work is focused on the Modeste subwatershed of the North Saskatchewan River, which the Government of Alberta has identified as being a high priority for flood mitigation and water quality, and a moderate-high priority for drought (ALUS Parkland, ALUS Brazeau, and ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc). This research is supported by a grant from Alberta Environment and Parks’ Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP).

InnoTech Alberta

ALUS Canada works with InnoTech Alberta on the Modeste Natural Infrastructure Project. InnoTech Alberta’s Dr Marian Webber is conducting an economic analysis of the costs and benefits of using nature to deliver infrastructure-related services in the Modeste subwatershed (ALUS Parkland, ALUS Brazeau, and ALUS Wetaskiwin-Leduc). This research is supported by a grant from Alberta Environment and Parks’ Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP).

MacDougall Ecology Lab, University of Guelph

The MacDougall Ecology Lab works in collaboration with ALUS Canada to examine how farmland restoration can help society produce more food while reducing local environmental impacts by providing ecosystem services. Dr. Andrew MacDougall and his students, from the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, are quantifying the various ecosystem services being produced on ALUS projects, primarily in ALUS Norfolk and ALUS Elgin. Specifically, they are looking at the role of prairie strips in: 1) providing habitat for arthropods thus promoting diversity in agroecosystems; 2) serving as a soil carbon sink/storage; and 3) impeding nutrients from synthetic fertilizers, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, from leaching into ground and surface waters.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

ALUS Canada works with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry on a number of research projects. For example, Land Use Unit Lead Karen Raven and Geographical Information Systems Lead David Speiss have conducted social science research in the form of a multi-criteria decision mapping process with some ALUS Partnership Advisory Committees in Alberta.

Nigel Raine Lab, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph

Dr. Nigel Raine, the Rebanks Family Chair for Pollinator Conservation at the University of Guelph, has led a three-year study documenting the species richness and abundance of native pollinators in Ontario from which to establish baselines to track declines and causes of pollinator losses in the coming years. The Nigel Raine Lab is currently conducting baseline studies of native pollinators on a number of ALUS farms in Ontario.

The Ontario Badger Project

ALUS works with the Badger Recovery Team to help reestablish the North American badger in Ontario. Once fairly common, the species has suffered from habitat fragmentation and is now listed as endangered both federally and provincially in Ontario, where there are only 200 badgers left (as of 2018). The Badger Recovery Team is currently radio-tracking badgers on 28 ALUS Norfolk farms, to track their movements and study their habitat and habits. People who see a badger or find a badger burrow on their farms are asked to report their sightings to Josh Sayers of the Ontario Badger Project: 1-877-715-9299.

Institut des Sciences de la Forêt tempérée, Université du Québec en Outaouais

ALUS Prince Edward Island has worked closely with Dr. Vijay Kolinjivadi, a researcher from the Université du Québec en Outaouais’ Institute of Temperate Forest Sciences (l’Institut des Sciences de la Forêt tempérée, ISFORT) to facilitate interviews with participating farmers across PEI in 2017. The resulting work, “Putting nature ‘to work’ through Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES),” was published in Land Use Policy (81, 2019).