Photo of Michael Brklacich

Michael Brklacich

Human-environment systems; Science and practice; Human security, vulnerability, and environment change

Degrees:B.Sc. (Trent), M.A. (Guelph), Ph.D. (Waterloo)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 7553 or 8056
Office:B457 Loeb Building and 330C Paterson Hall

Effective January 2019, I am not available to be the primary or sole supervisor of graduate students.


Mike joined Carleton’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (DGES) in 1992 and was the DGES Chair from 2006-2012.  His appointment as a Chancellor’s Professor in July 2014 was in recognition by his Carleton colleagues of the “outstanding merit with substantial international impact” of his long-term contributions to human dimensions of global environmental change.  He was educated at Trent University (BSc in Geography in 1976), University of Guelph (MA in Geography in 1980) and the University of Waterloo (PhD in Geography in 1986).  Prior to joining Carleton, Mike was a research scientist with Agriculture Canada.

Mike’s teaching and research interests reflect his long-term interests in interdisciplinary approaches for assessing human – environment relationships, with specific interests in:

  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change including Coupled Human-Environment Systems, Global Environmental Change and Human Security, Agricultural Adaptation to Environmental Change),
  • Food Security,
  • Climatic Change Impacts and Adaptations, and
  • Environmental Policy

2018 – 2019 Courses

  • GEOG 5005 Global Environmental Change: Human Implications


My research program is divided into three broad but related areas:

Social Vulnerability, Human Security and Environment Change: This theme focuses on basic research on understanding human vulnerabilities to environmental change and the capacity of individuals, communities and institutions to adapt to change.  It recognizes the urgency to move beyond investigating environment in isolation and to simultaneously consider environmental stresses relative to human coping and adaptation capacities and the security of human livelihoods.

Coupled Environment – Human Systems: This research theme focuses on the bi-directional relationships between the environment and human well-being, with a focus on rural environments, including farming, the agri-food sector and the long-term sustainability of rural communities in many settings ranging from peri-urban environments to remote communities.  This theme also recognizes that human systems seldom respond to a single stress and provides a framework to investigate how multiple stressors (e.g. climate change, trade agreements, etc) and future uncertainties alter a community’s capacity to secure its future well-being.

Science and Practice: This research theme is in response to growing demand for science accountability and the application of science to issues that are of societal concern.  I employ the term “practice” rather “policy” as policy most often refers to formal institutions and the public sector, where as practice is a broader term which embraces the role of both formal and informal institutions in a wide range of decision-making contexts.

Publications Since 2005

M Ngo & M Brklacich (2013) New Farmers’ Efforts to Create A Sense of Place in Rural Communities: Insights from Southern Ontario, Canada Journal of Agriculture and Human Values doi:10.1007/s10460-013-9447-5 (First published on-line in May 2013)

Fast, S., Brklacich, M. and Saner, M. 2011 A Geography-Based Critique of New US Biofuels Regulations Global Conservation Biology: Bioenergy doi:101111/j.1757-1707-2011.01131.x (First published on-line on 17 Oct 2011)

Oborsteiner, M., Stafford Smith, M., Hiepe, C., Brklacich, M. and Rudder, W. 2010 Green Food Systems for 9 Billion. In Ingram, J., Ericksen P. and Liverman, D. (eds) 2010, Food Security and Global Environmental Change, Earthscan, Washington (pp. 301-317).

Brklacich, M., Chazan, M. and Bohle, H. 2010 Human Security, Vulnerability and Global Environmental Change. In Matthew, R and MacDonald, B. (eds) Global Environmental Change and Human Security MIT Press (pp 15-51)

Sander-Regier, R., Mcleman, R., Brklacich, M., & Woodrow, M. 2010. Planning for climate change in Canadian rural and resource-based communities. Environments, 37(1), 35-57.

Chazan, M., Brklacich, M. and Whiteside, A 2009 Rethinking the Conceptual Terrain of AIDS Scholarship: Lessons from Comparing 27 years of AIDS and Climate Change Research. Globalization and Health 5:12 doi:10.1186/1744-8603-5-12 (

Brklacich, M., Woodrow, M., McLeman, R., and Vodden, K. 2008 Enhancing the Capacity of Canadian Rural Communities to Adapt to Uncertain Futures. Prepared for Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Program, Project A1397, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa.

Tiessen, H. Brklacich, M. Breulmann, G. and Menzes, R. (eds) (2007) Linking the Sciences of Global Environmental Change to Society and Policy. SCOPE 68, Island Press, Washington.

Field, C., Mortsch, L., Brklacich, M., Forbes, D., Kovacs, P., Patz, J., Running, S., Scott, M. (2007) North America. In Parry, M., Cabziani, O., Palutikof, J., van der Linden, P. and Hanson, C. (eds) (2007) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press (pp 617-652).

Brklacich, M., Brown, I., Campos, E., Krusche, A, Lavell, A., Liu, K., Jimenez-Osornio, J, Reyes-Knoche, S. and Wood, C. 2007 Stakeholders and Global Environmental Change Science. In Tiessen, H. Brklacich, M. Breulmann, G. and Menzes, R. (eds) (2007) Linking the Sciences of Global Environmental Change to Society and Policy. SCOPE 68, Island Press, Washington (pp21-34).

Brklacich, M., Chazan, M. and Dawe, A. 2007 Vulnerabilities of societies under global environmental change (GEC). In Tiessen, H, Brklacich, M, Breulmann, G and Menzes, R. (eds) (2007) Linking the Sciences of Global Environmental Change to Society and Policy. SCOPE 68, Island Press, Washington (pp73-87)

Brklacich, M., Wall, E., Smit, B. and Wandel, J. 2007 Impacts-Based Approaches. In E. Wall, B.Smit and J. Wandel (eds) (2007) Farming in a Changing Climate: Agricultural Adaptation in Canada, University of British Columbia Press. (pp13-31)

Brklacich, M. and Woodrow, M. 2007 A Comparative Assessment of the Capacity of Canadian Rural Resource-based Communities to Adapt to Uncertain Futures. Prepared for Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Program, Project A1234, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa.

Brklacich, M. (2006) Advancing Our Understanding of the Vulnerability of Farming to Climate Change. Die Erde 137(3):181-198.

Brklacich, M. & Bohle, H-G. 2006 Assessing Human Vulnerability to Climatic Change. In Kraft, T and Ehliers, E. (eds) 2006 Earth System Science in the Anthropocene: Emerging Issues and Problems. Springer Verlag (pp51-61).

Ingram, J. and Brklacich, M. Global Environmental Change and Food Systems GECAFS: A New Interdisciplinary Research Project. In Kraft, T and Ehliers, E. (eds) 2006 Earth System Science in the Anthropocene: Emerging Issues and Problems. Springer Verlag (pp215-228).

Ingram, J., Gregory, P & Brklacich, M. 2005 Global Environmental Change and Food Systems: Science Plan and Implementation Strategy, Earth System Science Partnership (IGBP, IHDP, WCRP, DIVERSITAS), Report No.2, Wallingford. (GECAFS Report 1 Science Plan and Implementation Strategy)

Gregory, P., Ingram, J. and Brklacich, M. 2005 Climate Change and Food Security.Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B 360(1463):2139-2148.

Graduate Supervisions since 2005


  1. Ojo (In progress, Co-supervision with B Rutherford)
  2. Hardy (In progress)
  3. Mburu (In Progress)

HT Nguyen 2016 Community Resilience, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption: Learning with Coastal Communities in Central Vietnam

  1. Hunsberger 2012 Grand Aims, Small gains: Jatropha-based Biofuels and Competing Development Agendas in Kenya
  2. Quinlan 2012 Interactions among Rural Landowners, Institutions, and Ecosystem Services in a Multi-use Landscape (Co-Supervision with Kathryn Lindsay)
  3. Chazan 2011 Of Solidarity And Survival: Examining the Interface between International Solidarity Efforts and the Everyday Lives of Grandmothers in the Valley of 1000 Hills, South Africa

JC LeVallee 2006 Achieving Food Security Through Food System Resilience: The Case of Belize

P Steenhof 2006 Operationalizing Clean Development Mechanism Baselines: A Case Study of China’s Electrical Sector


  1. Hall (Co-Supervision with J. Schmidt)
  2. Foster (Co-Supervision with M. Richardson)
  3. Neil (Co-Supervision with G. Smart)) 2015) Uncertainty in Climate Change Discourse: An Examination of Regional Canadian Newspapers
  4. Simone (Co-Supervision with S. Dalby) 2014 Cascading Failure in Critical Infrastructure: An Actor-Network Analysis of the 1998 Ice Storm in Ottawa
  5. Sperl 2013 Climate Change Denial in Canada: An Evaluation of the Fraser Institute and Friends of Science Positions
  6. Drummond 2012 Global Governance and Food Security Discourses: The FAO and the Via Campesina
  7. Ngo 2011 Planting Roots, Making Routes: Mapping the Dynamics of Identity, Knowledge and Networks among New Farmers in Alternative Food Initiatives in Ontario
  8. Hildahl 2011 Linking Gender and Climate Mitigation: A Case Study of a Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme Project in Ecuador
  9. Millinga 2009 Conflicting Land Use and Management Strategies in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Northern Tanzania
  10. Fast 2008 On the Need to Incorporate Regional Variation in Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels: A Comparison E5 and Gasoline Fuels in Two Regions in Ontario, Canada
  11. Street 2008 The Influence of Public Participation on Freshwater Management: An Examination of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Canada’s Water Efficiency Master Plan Update
  12. Gilmour 2007 A Woman’s Work: Exploring Gender Roles in Agriculture in Charikar, Afghanistan.
  13. Gilbert 2006 An Evaluation of Environmental Impact Assessment in Barbados
  14. Chazan 2005 Negotiating Human Health in a Rapidly Changing Urban Environment: HIV and AIDS Vulnerabilities among Street Traders in Warwick Junction, Durban, South Africa

Professional Activities External to Carleton since 2005

Program Convener PROVIA (Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation) 2016 Conference on Adaptation Futures 2016: Practices & Solutions (Rotterdam NL, 10-13 May 2016)

Review Editor, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment, Working Group II, Key Vulnerabilities Chapter (2010-2014).

Co-Convener with Gerhard Breulmann, Special Session Collaborative Regional GEC Networks in the Americas: Opportunities for Stakeholders and Governance at the Earth System Science Partnerships Open Science Meeting (Beijing, 9-12 Nov 2006)

Co-organizer with H. Tiessen, O. Sala & Victoria, R. Linking Environmental Science to Society and Policy – Lessons from 10 years of Science Projects in the Americas. An international workshop sponsored by Inter-American Institute for Global Environmental Change and Scientific Committee on Problems in the Environment. 28 Nov – 2 Dec 2005, Ubatuba, Brazil.

Co-organizer with K. O’Brien, N. P. Gleditsch & S. Lonergan. International workshop on Human Security and Climate Change, 21-23 June 2005, Oslo, Norway.

Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change: Fourth Assessment, Working Group II, North American Chapter (2004-2007)

Vice-Chair, Executive Committee, Global Change and Food Systems Project, A Joint Project of International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) (July 2001 to July 2006). (

Chair, Scientific Steering Committee, Global Environmental Change and Human Dimensions Project, A Core Project of the International Human Dimensions Project (2001-2005).