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Henry David (Hank) Venema, PhD
Director, Sustainable Natural Resources Management
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Ecological Goods and Service of Sustainable Biofuels
Monday, September 13, 2010
2:00 - 2:30 pm

From Threat to Opportunity - Resolving Lake Eutrophication with Agricultural Biotechnology

Ecosystem management issues such as non-point lake eutrophication present a key opportunity to apply biotechnology portfolios within a regional strategic management plan. As an example in Manitoba, there are numerous opportunities to produce environmentally sustainable biotechnology products from excess nutrient loadings to Lake Winnipeg. Research, development and commercialization of bioenergy, biofibres, and biochemicals produced by harnessing nutrient loads flowing into Lake Winnipeg has great potential to mitigate eutrophication while providing business opportunities to stimulate the economy.

A current initiative of the IISD involves a two-fold review of (1) the linkage between nutrient management and sustainable biotechnology feedstock production within the Lake Winnipeg Watershed and (2) the potential for biotechnology products in the Manitoba portion of Lake Winnipeg Basin. Bioproduct potential will be calculated for predominant ecozones within the Lake Winnipeg Watershed integrating land use and nutrient loading data.

By exploring nutrient loads and innovative bioeconomy opportunities, this research will simultaneously identify effective eutrophication mitigation and economic opportunities to inform policy, business, and management implementation. This research will be presented and discussed with policy makers, business leaders, and other stakeholders at the Lake Winnipeg Basin Summit, hosted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development`s Water Innovation Centre on November 30th and December 1st 2010 in Winnipeg.
photo of Hank Venema
Dr. Venema is a professional engineer, natural resource management consultant and expert speaker and presenter, with extensive experience in rural development, environmental economics, water resources planning, and energy sector planning in North America, Africa, and Asia.

He directs IISD's Sustainable Natural Resources Management Program, which has a thematic focus on water and agricultural issues in Western Canada. He also leads IISD's current research on the Valuation of Natural Capital in Prairie Canada, Institutional Linkages between Payments for Ecosystem Services and Integrated Water Resources Management in Prairie Watersheds, and Governance Models for Lake Winnipeg Stewardship.

Dr. Venema is also the principal investigator of the NRCan-funded project, Adaptation as Resilience Building: A policy study of climate change vulnerability and adaptation on the Canadian Prairies, and co-directs the IDRC-funded project, Adaptive Policy-making for Agriculture and Water Resources in the Face of Climate Change. Other relevant Canadian project experience includes leading the first ever valuation of The Full Costs of Thermal Power in Eastern Canada, based on source-receptor modeling and health and climate externalities. In the international context, Dr. Venema was lead IISD researcher on the CIDA-funded project, Climate Change and Economic Changes in India: The impacts on agriculture, in partnership with The Energy and Resources Institute (New Delhi) and CICERO (Oslo).

His research on systems approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation has appeared in the Journal of Environmental Management, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change and Global Environmental Change, and has been widely cited by the IPCC's Third and Fourth Assessment Reports on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

Dr. Venema also served as an expert consultant on cross-cutting issues and as a Working Group 2 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) reviewer for the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report. His research has appeared in the international development, water resources, hydrology, operations research and renewable energy literature.

PhD in Physics and Civil Engineering: Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba (gold medalist).

PhD in Systems Design Engineering: University of Waterloo

Master's Degree in Water Resources Engineering: University of Ottawa.

Dr. Venema's PhD research concerns landscape-based systems models for integrated rural development and climate change mitigation and adaptation. His field experience includes lengthy assignments with Environment and Development Action (ENDA) in Senegal, and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in India. Dr. Venema has also lived and worked in Sweden and Ethiopia on research and consulting assignments.

English and French.

Click to view Henry Venema's ABIC 2010 presentation