VIU Canada Research Chair Developing Tools to Inform Forest Recovery Initiatives

Sean Sloan faces the camera while standing in front of a canopy of trees.

Dr. Sean Sloan is VIU’s Canada Research Chair in the Human Dimensions of Sustainability and Resilience. Photo submitted

June 15, 2021 - 2:30pm

Dr. Sean Sloan will build on expertise in the field of forest management, wildfire dynamics, and satellite Earth observation to develop a new understanding of the geography of forest recovery and burning, with applications for sustainable forest management.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is pleased to welcome Dr. Sean Sloan as the new Canada Research Chair in the Human Dimensions of Sustainability and Resilience.

“I’m honoured and excited by the opportunity that being the research chair affords me to pursue my research in its fullness,” says Sloan. 

Sloan will build on VIU’s expertise in forest management and wildfire dynamics. He’ll launch a program that examines forest renewal and burning across diverse landscapes, including British Columbia, the Pacific Rim and the Global South. 

Sloan’s research project aims to reveal the dynamics of reforestation and wildfires and how they arise from ongoing transitions to the environment, including new trends in land use and forest management. He is examining where such dynamics occur, how emergent dynamics arise out of earlier precedents, and why they occur as they do from place to place. 

He’ll also revise understandings of global forest change by developing satellite-image observations to examine forest recovery trajectories following from changing land use and forest management practices over recent decades. His research is expected to inform various multi-lateral and international initiatives seeking to mitigate climate change in part by pursuing forest restoration.

Sloan is recognized as a leader in land-change science relating to the human dimensions of reforestation and wildfire dynamics. He’s authored some 70 research articles in leading journals, such Global Environmental Change, produced 37 conference papers, and has received numerous accolades. 

“We’re very pleased to have Dr. Sloan join VIU as our new Canada Research Chair,” says Dr. Nicole Vaugeois, Associate Vice-President Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity. “VIU is committed to supporting sustainability and Dr. Sloan's work will enable us to contribute critical new knowledge to understand reforestation, conservation and development planning and wildfire dynamics."

Sloan received his PhD in Geography from the University of Melbourne, Australia, while holding a Research Fellowship with the Organization of American States at The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama. He has also served as a Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow at The Centre for Tropical Environment and Sustainability Science at James Cook University, Australia, and was a Visiting Research Fellow at The Australia National University and The Centre for International Forestry Research, Indonesia.

Sloan was also recently awarded a $16,960 grant by the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The funding is meant to help institutions “remain internationally competitive in areas of research and technology development that are aligned with their strategic priorities.”

The Canada Research Chairs Program aims to attract and retain some of the “world’s most accomplished and promising minds” to achieve research excellence in the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. VIU also has three other Canada Research Chairs and two BC Regional Innovation Chairs


Media Contact:

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: | T: @VIUNews

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