Month: January 2015

Dr. Wanhong Yang

Integrated economic-hydrologic modelling for supporting conservation investments on agricultural landscapes

JANUARY 9, 2015
in SS 2125


Growing concerns about the adverse environmental effects of agriculture have led to the establishment of various public, private and partnership programs for implementing landscape conservation practices. These programs call for science-based answers to these two critical policy and management questions: First, given the vastness and heterogeneity of the agricultural region, how can we prioritize locations for conservation investments in order to maximize the environmental and ecological benefits within a given financial budget? Second, given historic and existing placement of conservation practices on agricultural landscapes, how can we evaluate the cost effectiveness of these conservation investments? In this talk I will begin with an overview of various integrated economic-hydrologic modelling initiatives in my research program for supporting spatial targeting and cost-effectiveness evaluation of conservation investments on agricultural landscapes. Following this I will introduce similar integrated economic-hydrologic modelling initiatives in developed market economies. Finally, I will discuss a research agenda on integrated landscape assessment modelling at various spatial scales to support conservation investments for enhancing ecological goods and services including water quantity and quality.


Dr. Wanhong Yang is a professor in the Department of Geography, University of Guelph. Dr. Yang obtained his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign in 2000. Dr. Yang has expertise in GIS, environmental economics, and hydrology and has developed a research program on examining the cost effectiveness of agricultural conservation programs using integrated economic-hydrologic-GIS modelling. Dr. Yang has conducted a wide range of integrated watershed modelling projects both in Canada and the United States. Dr. Yang was the leader for hydrologic and integrated modelling for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Watershed Evaluation of BMPs (WEBs) program during 2005-2013, and also the leader for hydrologic modelling for Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s Watershed Based BMP Evaluation (WBBE) program during 2010-2013. Dr. Yang published widely in prestigious journals such as Hydrological Processes, Transactions of the ASABE, and Ecological Economics, and is currently serving as an associate editor for Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.

Sameera Khan & Shilpa Phadke

The New Discourse on Gender and Violence in Urban India

Shilpa Phadke & Sameera Khan, co-authors Why Loiter?: Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets

Thursday, 22 January
3 to 5 pm
in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2125Why Loiter - cover image

In the wake of protests and critical amendments in the law following the gang rape and murder of a young woman on the streets of New Delhi in December 2012, a new discourse of gendered safety has emerged in India. This presentation will engage with the conversations now taking place in urban India among many different constituents with regard to women, public space, safety, urban design and planning, law, and the media. It will attempt to examine the ways in which multiple voices coming from different ideological positions get themselves heard in this conversation, making it both deeply contested and impossibly complicated, and the implications this has for women in India laying claim to public space in the city.

This event is co-sponsored with the Centre of Criminology and Sociolegal Studies

Why Loiter authors

Shilpa Phadke and Sameera Khan (along with Shilpa Ranade) are the authors of the critically-acclaimed book Why Loiter?: Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets (Penguin Books India, 2011) wherein they examine women’s access to public space.

Shilpa Phadke is a sociologist, researcher and teacher. She is Assistant Professor at the School of Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and is currently researching in two separate projects, feminist mothering and the location of young men on streets in Mumbai. She has been educated at St. Xavier’s College, SNDT University, TISS in Mumbai and the University of Cambridge, UK. She has published both in academic journals and anthologies and in the popular media. Her areas of concern include gender and the politics of space, the middle classes, sexuality and the body, feminist politics among young women, reproductive subjectivities, feminist parenting, and pedagogic practices.

Sameera Khan is an independent Mumbai-based journalist and researcher who research and writing in recent years has focused on issues related to women, the media, Muslims, and Mumbai. A former Assistant Editor with The Times of India, she teaches journalism at the School for Media & Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has contributed essays to several anthologies including Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai (Penguin Books 2003), Missing Half the Story: Journalism as if Gender Matters (Zubaan Books, 2010), Chawls of Mumbai: Galleries of Life (Imprint One, 2011) and Dharavi: The City Within (HarperCollins, 2013). An active founder member of the Network of Women in Media, India, she co-authored the first Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) India Report 2010. She has a BA in History and Anthropology from St. Xavier’s College (University of Bombay), a Diploma in mass communications from Sophia Polytechnic, and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University, New York.

Stephane Belair

Optimizing the role and impact of land surface in Environment Canada’s numerical environmental prediction systems
Friday, 23 January
3 to 5 pm
in SS 2125

The importance of land surface in numerical prediction systems for weather and hydrology is increasingly recognized in national forecasting centers. Knowledge of land surface characteristics and processes related to orography, water fractional coverage, land use and cover, urban geometry, and soil texture, has been significantly improved in current numerical forecasting systems. In this presentation, the systems used at Environment Canada to specify these land surface characteristics will be described with some details, together with some of the models that are used to represent land surface processes (soils, vegetation, cities). The process for assimilating surface and space-based observations to initialize land surface variables such as surface temperature, soil moisture, and snow, will be explained. Finally, evidence of the impact, role, and importance of all these components on numerical prediction will be presented.

As a research scientist in the Recherche en prevision numérique (RPN) section of Environment Canada (Montreal) since 1997, Dr. Bélair mainly worked on improving the representation of physical processes in numerical weather prediction systems.  Dr. Bélair was the scientific lead for several major operational implementations at the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC), at local, regional, and global scales.  He was the lead of RPN`s global modeling group from 2001 to 2006, of the land surface modeling and assimilation group between 2006 and 2011, and since then of the land surface, clouds, and precipitation processes group.  He is also member of several international committees and initiatives, including the Science Team of NASA’s Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) mission, the Working Group on Mesoscale Weather Forecasting of the World Weather Research Program, and the science steering committee of the Forecast and Research:  the Olympic Sochi Testbed (FROST), and of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area Convection Study (TOMACS).