The Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes (SAL) Lab conducts scientific research that contributes to understanding the ecology of, and management for, an agricultural system that meets current needs without compromising the needs of future generations. While sustainable agriculture should ensure that numerous needs are met, including those that are social and economic in nature, the SAL Lab focuses mainly on those related to the environment.
Food, fibre and fuel production now dominates much of the terrestrial landscape, consequently altering the flow of nutrients and energy, the availability of clean water and amount of habitat available for dwindling global biodiversity. The SAL Lab seeks to provide a better understanding of these changes and develop strategies to reverse these trends across a diversity of agroecosystems and social and economic contexts.
A major focus of the lab is to evaluate the multiple environmental impacts and ecological interactions of various agricultural management options. In particular, we are currently focusing on identifying agricultural practices that are effectively regenerative. To be regenerative these practices need to meaningfully build soil health and other resources while mitigating agricultures’ contribution to climate breakdown and enhancing the farm’s reliance to an increasingly unpredictable and disruptive weather. Among the many environmental outcomes of agricultural production, there are likely tradeoffs but also synergies. Many of these tradeoffs and synergies are best understood at the landscape scale. The SAL lab thus works to scale analyses from the plot and field to the landscape and beyond.
Our Acknowledgement of the Land We Work On
We in SAL Lab acknowledge that our place of work is situated within the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) – People of the River Grass. For thousands of years, Indigenous people have managed the soils we study and depend on for our livelihoods. We acknowledge that the land on which the University is located, as well as other lands that we work within and rely on, were taken from Indigenous communities, robbing them of their essential food and cultural relationships to their land. We must take responsibility for the ways in which colonial agriculture has historically interfered with Indigenous food production and cultural practices and the degradation of soil. Furthermore, we should amplify Indigenous voices, support their efforts and decisions related to soil, land and food production, and help to decolonize the agricultural system and academia.