Photo of Lenore Fahrig

Lenore Fahrig

Chancellor’s Professor and Gray Merriam Chair in Landscape Ecology

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

Riva F, Fahrig L. 2023. Minimum patch size criteria hinder biodiversity conservation. Conservation Biology, e14092.

Anderson CA, Fahrig L, Rausch J, Martin J-L, Daufresne T, Smith PA. 2023. Climate-related range shifts in Arctic-breeding shorebirds. Ecology and Evolution 13: e9797.

Martin A, Lockhart JK, Fahrig L. 2023. Are weak dispersers more vulnerable than strong dispersers to land use intensification? Proceedings of the Royal Society B 290: 20220909. 

Arroyo-Rodriguez V, Martínez-Ruiz M, Bezerra JS, Galán-Acedo C, San-José M, Fahrig L. 2023. Does a species’ mobility determine the scale at which it is influenced by the surrounding landscape pattern? Current Landscape Ecology Reports 8: 23–33.

Riva F, Fahrig L. 2023. Landscape-scale habitat fragmentation is positively related to biodiversity, despite patch-scale ecosystem decay. Ecology Letters 26:268–277.

Herrero-Jáuregui C, Camba GH, Andries DM, Aguiar S, Mastrangelo M, Fahrig L. 2022. Past and present effects of habitat amount and fragmentation per se on plant species richness, composition and traits. Biological Conservation 276: 109815.

Riva F, Martin CJ, Millard K, Fahrig L. 2022. Loss of the world’s smallest forests. Global Change Biology 28: 7164-7166.

Riva F, Fahrig L. 2022. The disproportionately high value of small patches for biodiversity conservation. Conservation Letters 15: e12881.

Cazetta E, Fahrig L. 2022. The effects of human-altered habitat spatial pattern on frugivory and seed dispersal: a global meta-analysis. Oikos: e08288.

Fahrig L, Watling JI, Arnillas CA, Arroyo-Rodríguez V, Jörger-Hickfang T, Müller J, Pereira H, Riva F, Rösch V, Seibold S, Tscharntke T, May F. 2022. Resolving the SLOSS dilemma for biodiversity conservation: a research agenda. Biological Reviews 97: 99–114.

Murphy RE, Martin AE, Fahrig L. 2022. Reduced predation on roadside nests can compensate for road mortality in road-adjacent turtle populations. Ecosphere 13: e3946.