Photo of Lenore Fahrig

Lenore Fahrig


Degrees:B.Sc. (Queen's), M.Sc. (Carleton), Ph.D. (Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3856
Office:339 Nesbitt Building
Website:Visit my lab website


I study the effects of landscape structure on abundance, distribution and persistence of organisms. Landscape structure includes the amounts of various kinds of land cover in landscape (e.g., forest, wetland, roads), and the spatial arrangement of these cover types. Landscape sructure affects populations through its effects on reproductions, mortality, and movement. Since landscape structure is strongly affected by human activities such as forestry, agriculture, and development, the results of this research are relevant to land-use decisions. A particular focus in my lab is on the effects of roads and traffic on wildlife populations. We use a combination of spatial simulation modelling and field studies on a wide range of different organisms.

My main research questions include:

What is the minimum amount of habitat required in a landscape for persistence of a population, and what determines that minimum?

What are the effects of roads on distribution and persistence of populations, which species are most vulnerable to roads, and what road patterns are least damaging to wildlife populations, and how can population-level effects of roads be mitigated?

How can agricultural landscapes be structured to reduce pest populations while maintaining high biodiversity without compromising agricultural output?

Under what circumstances does the breaking apart (fragmentation) of habitat affect population persistence?

How does landscape heterogeneity affect population persistence and species richness?

How does dispersal behaviour of an organism affect its response to landscape structure?

What is the role of connectivity (the degree to which a landscape permits movement of organisms across it) in population persistence?

Selected Publications

Fahrig, L. 2013. Rethinking patch size and isolation effects: the habitat amount hypothesis. Journal of Biogeography 40: 1649-1663.

Quesnelle, P., L. Fahrig and K. Lindsay. 2013. Effects of habitat loss, habitat configuration and matrix composition on declining wetland species. Biological Conservation 160: 200-208.

Martin, A.E. and L. Fahrig. 2012. Measuring and selecting scales of effect for landscape predictors in species-habitat models. Ecological Applications 22: 2277–2292.

Coffey, H.M.P. and L. Fahrig. 2012. Relative effects of vehicle pollution, moisture and colonization sources on urban lichens. Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 1467-1474.

Jackson, H.B. and L. Fahrig. 2012. What size is a biologically relevant landscape? Landscape Ecology 27: 929-941.

Flick, T., S. Feagan and L. Fahrig. 2012. Effects of landscape structure on butterfly species richness and abundance in agricultural landscapes in eastern Ontario, Canada. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 156: 123-133.

Rytwinski, T. and L. Fahrig. 2012. Do species life history traits explain population responses to roads? A meta-analysis. Biological Conservation 147: 87-98.