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  1. Abstract Scientific study of issues at the nexus of food–energy–water systems (FEWS) requires grappling with multifaceted, “wicked” problems. FEWS involve interactions occurring directly and indirectly across complex and overlapping spatial and temporal scales; they are also imbued with diverse and sometimes conflicting meanings for the human and more-than-human beings that live within them. In this paper, we consider the role of language in the dynamics of boundary work, recognizing that the language often used in stakeholder and community engagement intended to address FEWS science and decision-making constructs boundaries and limits diverse and inclusive participation. In contrast, some language systems provide opportunities to build bridges rather than boundaries in engagement. Based on our experiences with engagement in FEWS science and with Indigenous knowledges and languages, we consider examples of the role of language in reflecting worldviews, values, practices, and interactions in FEWS science and engagement. We particularly focus on Indigenous knowledges from Anishinaabe and the language of Anishinaabemowin, contrasting languages of boundaries and bridges through concrete examples. These examples are used to unpack the argument of this work, which is that scientific research aiming to engage FEWS issues in working landscapes requires grappling with embedded, practical understandings. This perspective demonstrates themore »importance of grappling with the role of language in creating boundaries or bridges, while recognizing that training in engagement may not critically reflect on the role of language in limiting diversity and inclusivity in engagement efforts. Leaving this reflexive consideration of language unexamined may unknowingly perpetuate boundaries rather than building bridges, thus limiting the effectiveness of engagement that is intended to address wicked problems in working landscapes.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Increased ecological disturbances, species invasions, and climate change are creating severe conservation problems for several plant species that are widespread and foundational. Understanding the genetic diversity of these species and how it relates to adaptation to these stressors are necessary for guiding conservation and restoration efforts. This need is particularly acute for big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata; Asteraceae), which was once the dominant shrub over 1,000,000 km2 in western North America but has since retracted by half and thus has become the target of one of the largest restoration seeding efforts globally. Here, we present the first reference-quality genome assembly for an ecologically important subspecies of big sagebrush (A. tridentata subsp. tridentata) based on short and long reads, as well as chromatin proximity ligation data analyzed using the HiRise pipeline. The final 4.2 Gb assembly consists of 5,492 scaffolds, with nine pseudo-chromosomal scaffolds (nine scaffolds comprising at least 90% of the assembled genome; n = 9). The assembly contains an estimated 43,377 genes based on ab initio gene discovery and transcriptional data analyzed using the MAKER pipeline, with 91.37% of BUSCOs being completely assembled. The final assembly was highly repetitive, with repeat elements comprising 77.99% of the genome, making the Artemisia tridentata subsp. tridentatamore »genome one of the most highly-repetitive plant genomes to be sequenced and assembled. This genome assembly advances studies on plant adaptation to drought and heat stress and provides a valuable tool for future genomic research.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 14, 2023
  3. As pressure on the dairy industry to reduce its environmental impact increases, efficient recycling of manure nutrients through local cropping systems becomes crucial. The aim of this study was to calculate annual nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) budgets in six counties located in the Magic Valley, Idaho and estimate what distance manure would need to be transported to be in balance with crop nutrient demand given current dairy cattle populations and cropping systems. Our analysis suggests that crop N needs will not be met solely by manure, and synthetic fertilizer will need to be applied. However, to balance P with crop production, manure would need to be transported a minimum of 12.9 km from dairies and would have to replace synthetic fertilizer P on 91% of regional cropland. Education of producers and technical specialists would be necessary to improve the management of manure use in regional cropping systems. Technical solutions such as alternative diets for cattle and nutrient capture from manure streams will also likely be necessary to bring regional P into balance to protect environmental quality and improve the sustainability of the regional dairy industry.
  4. null (Ed.)
    Community and stakeholder engagement is increasingly recognized as essential to science at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems (FEWS) to address complex issues surrounding food and energy production and water provision for society. Yet no comprehensive framework exists for supporting best practices in community and stakeholder engagement for FEWS. A review and meta-synthesis were undertaken of a broad range of existing models, frameworks, and toolkits for community and stakeholder engagement. A framework is proposed that comprises situational awareness of the FEWS place or problem, creation of a suitable culture for engagement, focus on power-sharing in the engagement process, co-ownership, co-generation of knowledge and outcomes, the technical process of integration, the monitoring processes of reflective and reflexive experiences, and formative evaluation. The framework is discussed as a scaffolding for supporting the development and application of best practices in community and stakeholder engagement in ways that are arguably essential for sound FEWS science and sustainable management.
  5. One of the factors for the success of simulation studies is close collaboration with stakeholders in developing a conceptual model. Conceptual models are a useful tool for communicating and understanding how real systems work. However, models or frameworks that are not aligned with the perceptions and understanding of local stakeholders can induce uncertainties in the model outcomes. We focus on two sources of epistemic uncertainty in building conceptual models of food-energy-water systems (FEWS): (1) context and framing; and (2) model structure uncertainty. To address these uncertainties, we co-produced a FEWS conceptual model with key stakeholders using the Actor-Resources-Dynamics-Interaction (ARDI) method. The method was adopted to specifically integrate public (and local) knowledge of stakeholders in the Magic Valley region of Southern Idaho into a FEWS model. We first used the ARDI method with scientists and modellers (from various disciplines) conducting research in the system, and then repeated the process with local stakeholders. We compared results from the two cohorts and refined the conceptual model to align with local stakeholders’ understanding of the FEWS. This co-development of a conceptual model with local stakeholders ensured the incorporation of different perspectives and types of knowledge of key actors within the socio-ecological systems models.