Photo of Lenore Fahrig

Lenore Fahrig

Chancellor's Professor

Degrees:B.Sc. (Queen's), M.Sc. (Carleton), Ph.D. (Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3856
Office:Office: 339 Nesbitt Building
Lab: 336 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, Arroyo-Rodríguez V, et al. 2019. Is habitat fragmentation bad for biodiversity? Biological Conservation  230: 179–186.

Collins SA, Bellingham L, Mitchell G, Fahrig L. 2019. Life in the slow drain: Landscape structure affects farm ditch water quality. Science of the Total Environment 656: 1157–1167.

Fahrig L. 2019. Habitat fragmentation: a long and tangled tale. Global Ecology and Biogeography 28: 33–41.

Sawatzky ME, Martin AE, Fahrig L. 2018. Landscape context is more important than wetland buffers for farmland amphibians. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 269: 97-106.

Put J, Mitchell G, Fahrig L. 2018. Higher bat and prey abundance at organic than conventional soybean fields. Biological Conservation 226: 177-185.

Martin AE, Fahrig L. 2018. Habitat specialist birds disperse farther and are more migratory than habitat generalist birds. Ecology 99: 2058–2066.

Martin, AE, Graham S, Henry M, Pervin E, Fahrig L. 2018. Flying insect abundance declines with increasing road traffic. Insect Conservation and Diversity 11: 608-613.

Ascensão F, Fahrig L, Clevenger AP, Corlett R, Jaeger J, Laurance WF, Pereira HM. 2018. Environmental challenges for the Belt and Road Initiative.  Nature Sustainability 1:206-209.

Hill M, Hassall C, Oertli B, Fahrig L, Robson B, Biggs J, Samways M, Usio N, Takamura N, Krishnaswamy J, Wood P. 2018. New policy directions for global pond conservation. Conservation Letters 11:e12447.

Bennett J, Maxwell S, Martin A, Chadès I, Fahrig L, Gilbert B. 2018. When to monitor and when to act: Value of information theory for multiple management units and limited budgets. Journal of Applied Ecology 55: 2102-2113.