Faculty profile headshot photo of Sarah Gergel

Sarah Gergel

Professor of Landscape Ecology & Conservation
Associate Dean, Academic

Forest Sciences Centre
3024-2424 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

work phone: 604-827-5163

Research Areas include:

  • Mapping and Quantifying Ecosystem Services
  • Social-ecological Landscapes and Resilience
  • Historical Dynamics of Large River-floodplains
  • Mapping & Monitoring with First Nations and LEK
  • High Resolution Image Analysis (satellite imagery and historical aerial photographs)


Please see my lab website for more details:



2021 Gender Diversity and Inclusion Award Canadian Institute of Forestry

2020 Distinguished Landscape Practitioner IALE-North America

2018 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Selected Publications

Duriaux-Chavarría, J.-Y., F. Baudron, S. Gergel, K. Yang, I. Eddy & T. Sunderland (2021). More people, more trees: a reversal of deforestation trends in Southern Ethiopia Land Degradation and Development 32:1440–1451
Gergel, SE, B Powell, F Baudron, S Wood, J Rhemtulla, G Kennedy, LV Rasmussen, A Ickowitz, M Fagan, EAH Smithwick, J Raneri , SS Wood, J Grootand TCH Sunderland. (2020). Conceptual linkages between landscape diversity and diet diversity: a roadmap for transdisciplinary research BioScience
Yang, KF, SE Gergel and Frédéric Baudron (2020). Forest restoration scenarios produce synergies for agricultural production in southern Ethiopia Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 295: 106888
Jarvis, I, SE Gergel, M Koehoorn and M van den Bosch (2020). Greenspace access does not correspond to nature exposure: Measures of urban natural space with implications for health research Landscape and Urban Planning 194:103683
Yang, KF, SE Gergel, J-Y Duriaux, F Baudron (2020). Forest edges enhance wheat productivity in smallholder farms in southern Ethiopia Frontiers: Sustainable Intensification and Ecosystem Services 4: 130
Jarvis I; M. Koehoorn; S.E. Gergel; M. van den Bosch (2020). Different types of urban natural environments influence various dimensions of self-reported health Environmental Research 186: 109614
Selgrath, JC, and SE Gergel (2019). How much is enough? Improving participatory mapping using rarefaction curves Land 8:166
Levine, J, A Isaeva, H Zerriffi, IMS Eddy, M Foggin, SE Gergel, and SM Hagerman (2019). Testing for consensus on Kyrgyz rangelands: local perceptions in Naryn Oblast Ecology & Society 24: 36
Baudron, F, J Schultner, J-Y Duriaux, SE Gergel, TCH Sunderland (2019). Agriculturally productive yet biodiverse: human benefits and conservation values along a forest-agriculture gradient in Southern Ethiopia Landscape Ecology 34: 341-356
Jin, J, SE Gergel, Yuhao Lu, Nicholas C. Coops and Cheng Wang (2019). Asian cities are greening while some North American cities are browning: long-term patterns in greenspace in 16 cities of the Pan Pacific Ecosystems
Baudron, F., S. Gergel, J. Groot, B. Powell, S. Tomscha & T. Sunderland (2019). Testing the various pathways linking forest cover to dietary diversity in tropical landscapes Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3: 97
Rasmussen, L.V., J. Rhemtulla, M. Fagan, A. Ickowitz, S. Wood, G. Kennedy, B. Powell, F. Baudron, S. Gergel, E. Smithwick, T. Sunderland & S. Wood (2019). Forest pattern, not just amount, influences dietary quality in five African countries Global Food Security. 25: 100331
Xiaofeng Ruan, Jieying Huang, Dave A.R. Williams, Karly J. Harker, Sarah E. Gergel (2019). High spatial resolution landscape indicators show promise in explaining water quality in urban streams Ecological Indicators 103: 321–330
Anna Rallings, Sean Smukler, Sarah Gergel, Kent Mullinix (2019). Towards multifunctional land use in an agricultural landscape: A trade-off and synergy analysis in the Lower Fraser Valley, Canada Landscape and Urban Planning 184: 88–100
Williams, D., Matasci, G., Coops, N.C., Gergel, S (2018). Object-based urban landcover mapping methodology using high spatial resolution imagery and airborne laser scanning JOURNAL OF APPLIED REMOTE SENSING 12: 046020
Guo., X., Coops, N.C., Gergel, S et al (2018). Integrating airborne lidar and satellite imagery to model habitat connectivity dynamics for spatial conservation prioritization Landscape Ecology 33(3) 491-511
JC Selgrath, SE Gergel, ACJ Vincent (2018). Shifting gears: Diversification, intensification, and effort increases in small-scale fisheries (1950-2010) PLoS One 13(3):e0190232
Tomscha, S.A., Gergel. S.E., and M.J. Tomlinson (2017). The spatial organization of ecosystem services in river-floodplains Ecosphere 8(3):e01728. 10.1002/ecs2.1728
Gallagher, T. L., and S. E. Gergel. (2017). Landscape indicators of groundwater nitrate concentrations: an approach for trans-border aquifer monitoring Ecosphere 8(12):e02047. 10.1002/ecs2.2047
Sarah E Gergel and Monica G Turner, editors (2017). Learning Landscape Ecology, 2nd Edition © Springer 2017
Terry Sunderland, Rabdo Abdoulaye, Ronju Ahammad, Stella Asaha, Frederic Baudron, Elizabeth Deakin, Jean-Yves Duriaux, Ian Eddy, Samson Foli, Davison Gumbo, Mumba Kondwania, Mrigesh Kshatriya, Laurio Leonald, Dominic Rowland, Natasha Stacey, Stephanie Tomsha, Kevin Yang, Sarah E. Gergel, and Josh Van Vianen (2017). A Methodological Approach for Assessing Cross-Site Landscape Change: Understanding Socio-Ecological Systems Forest Policy & Economics 84:83-91
Selgrath, JS, Gergel, SE and AJ Vicent (2017). Incorporating spatial dynamics greatly improves estimates of fishing pressure: Long-term participatory mapping of coral reef fisheries ICES Journal of Marine Science 75(1): 210–220
Jordan Levine, Aiganysh Isaeva, Ian Eddy, Marc Foggin, Sarah Gergel, Shannon Hagerman and Hisham Zerriffi (2017). A cognitive approach to the post-Soviet Central Asian pasture puzzle with a cognitive lens: new data from Kyrgyzstan Regional Environmental Change 17:941-947
RP Powers, NC Coops, VJ Tulloch, SE Gergel, TA Nelson, MA Wulder (2017). A conservation assessment of Canada's boreal forest incorporating alternate climate change scenarios Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation
Eddy, IMS, Sarah E Gergel, Nicholas C Coops, Geoffrey M Henebry, Jordan Levine, Hisham Zerriffi, Evgenii Shibkov (2017). Integrating remote sensing and local ecological knowledge to monitor rangeland dynamics Ecological indicators 82: 106-116
Selgrath, Jennifer, C., Roelfsema, C., Gergel S.E. and A.C. Vincent (2016). Mapping for coral reef conservation: Comparing the value of participatory and remote sensing approaches Ecosphere 7(5):e01325
Tomscha, S.A. and S.E. Gergel (2016). Ecosystem service trade-offs and synergies misunderstood without landscape history Ecology & Society 21(1):43
Paulo G. Molin, Sarah E. Gergel, Britaldo S. Soares Filho & Silvio F. B. Ferraz (2016). Spatial determinants of Atlantic Forest loss and recovery in Brazil Landscape Ecology
Jackson, Michelle M., Topp, E., Gergel. S.E., Martin, K.M., Pirotti, F. and T. Sitzia (2016). Expansion of subalpine woody vegetation over 40 years on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada Canadian Journal of Forest Research 46:437-443
Pickell PD, Coops NC, Gergel SE, Andison DW and PL Marshall (2016). Evolution of Canada’s boreal forest spatial patterns as seen from space PLoS ONE 11(7): e0157736
Sutherland IJ, Gergel SE and EM Bennett (2016). Seeing the forest for its multiple ecosystem services: indicators for cultural services in heterogeneous forests Ecological Indicators 17:123-133
Tomscha SA, Sutherland I, Renard D, Gergel SE, Rhemtulla JR, Bennett EM, Daniels LD, Eddy IMS and E Clark (2016). A Guide to Historical Data Sets for Reconstructing Ecosystem Service Change over Time Bioscience 66 (9):747-762
Sutherland IJ, Bennett EM and SE Gergel (2016). Recovery trends for multiple ecosystem services reveal non-linear responses and long-term tradeoffs from temperate forest harvesting Forest Ecology and Management 374: 61-70
Bryanna Thiel; Maja Krzic; Sarah Gergel; Christine Terpsma; Andrew Black; Rachhpal Jassal; Sean M. Smukler (2016). Soil CO2, N2O, and CH4 fluxes from production fields with planted and remnant hedgerows in the Fraser River Delta of British Columbia Agroforestry Systems
Paul D. Pickell, David W. Andison, Nicholas C. Coops, Sarah E. Gergel, Peter L. Marshall (2015). The spatial patterns of anthropogenic disturbance in the western Canadian boreal forest following oil and gas development Canadian Journal of Forest Research 45 Issue: 6 Pages: 732-743
Jackson, M., Gergel, S.E. and Martin, K. (2015). Effects of climate change on habitat availability and configuration for an endemic coastal alpine bird PLoS ONE 10(11): e0142110.
Tomscha, S.A. and S.E. Gergel (2015). Historic land surveys present opportunities for reconstructing frontier settlement patterns in North America Landscape Ecology 30: 203-213
Eddy, I.M.S. and S.E. Gergel (2015). Why landscape ecologists should assist Life Cycle approaches Landscape Ecology 30(2):215-228
Jackson, M.E., S.E. Gergel, and K. Martin (2015). Citizen science and field survey observations provide comparable results for mapping Vancouver Island White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura saxatilis) distributions Biological Conservation 162-172
Marcoux, H.M., L.D. Daniels, S.E. Gergel, E.D. Silva, Z.M. Gedalof and P.F. Hessburg (2015). Differentiating mixed- and high-severity fire regimes in mixed-conifer forests of the Canadian Cordillera Forest Ecology and Management 341, 1 April 2015, Pages 45–58
Thiel, B., S. Smukler, M. Krzic, S.E. Gergel, C. Terpsma (2015). Farmland hedgerow carbon storage and biodiversity in the Fraser River Delta of British Columbia Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 70(4): 247-256
Tallis, H. and J. Lubchenco and 238 co-signatories (2014). A call for inclusive conservation Nature 515: 27-28
Jones, T.G., Coops, N.C., Gergel, S. and Sharma, T. (2014). Employing Measures of Heterogeneity and an Object-Based Approach to Extrapolate Tree Species Distribution Data MDPI Diversity 6(3): 396-414
Arnett, J., Coops, N.C., Gergel, S., Falls, R., and Baker, R., (2014). Detecting stand replacing disturbance using RapidEye imagery: a Tasseled Cap transformation and modified disturbance index Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing; 40(1): 1-14
Paul D. Pickell, Sarah E. Gergel, Nicholas C. Coops and David W. Andison (2014). Monitoring Forest Change in Landscapes Under-Going Rapid Energy Development: Challenges and New Perspectives Land 3(3): 617-638
Marcoux, H., Gergel, S.E., and L.D. Daniels (2013). Mixed-severity fire regimes: How well are they represented by existing fire-regime classification systems? Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Volume: 43 Issue: 7 Pages: 658-668 Published: JUL 2013
Caldwell, I.R. and S.E. Gergel (2013). Thresholds in seascape connectivity: Influence of mobility, habitat distribution, and current strength on fish movement Landscape Ecology Volume: 28 Issue: 10 Pages: 1937-1948 Published: DEC 2013
Morgan, J.L. and S.E. Gergel (2013). Automated analysis of aerial photographs and potential for historic forest mapping Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Volume: 43 Issue: 8 Pages: 699-710 Published: AUG 2013
Tomlinson, M.J., S.E. Gergel, T.J. Beechie, and M.M. McClure. (2011). Long-term changes in river-floodplain dynamics: Implications for salmonid habitat in the Interior Columbia Basin, USA Ecological Applications 21(5):1643-1658
Soverel, N.O., Coops, N.C., Perrakis, D.B., Daniels, L., & Gergel, S. (2011). The transferability of a dNBR derived model to predict burn severity across ten wildland fires in Western Canada. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 20: 1 - 14
Lantz, T.C., S.E. Gergel and G.H.R. Henry (2010). Response of green alder (Alnus viridis subsp. fruticosa) and plant community composition to fire and regional climate in Northwestern Canada Journal of Biogeography 37: 1597-1610
Morgan, J.L., Gergel, S.E., and N.C. Coops (2010). Aerial photography: A rapidly evolving tool for ecological management BioScience 60(1):47-59
Lantz, T.C., S.E. Gergel and S.V. Kokelj (2010). Spatial heterogeneity in the shrub tundra ecotone in the Mackenzie Delta Region, NWT: Implications for Arctic Environmental Change Ecosystems 13(2):194-204
Coops, N.C., Gillanders, S., Wulder, M.A., Gergel, S.E., Nelson, T., Goodwin, N.R (2010). Evaluation of forest fragmentation and loss of connectivity using multitemporal Landsat imagery: quantifying natural and anthropogenic disturbance Forest Ecology and Management. 259:2355-2365
Morgan, J.L. and S.E. Gergel (2010). Quantifying landscape heterogeneity from historic aerial photographs using object-based analysis Landscape Ecology 25: 985-998
Bater, C.W., Coops, N.C., Gergel, S.E., LeMay, V.M. and Collins, D. (2009). Estimation of standing dead tree class distributions in northwest coastal forests using lidar remote sensing NRC Press Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38: 6, 1080-1091.
Lantz, T.C., S.V. Kokelj, S.E. Gergel, and G.H.R. Henry (2009). Relative impacts of disturbance and temperature: persistent changes in microenvironment and vegetation in retrogressive thaw slumps Global Change Biology 15(7):1664-1675
Predick, K.I., Gergel S.E. and M.G. Turner. (2009). Effect of flood regime on tree growth in the floodplain and surrounding uplands of the Wisconsin River. River Research and Applications 25(3):283-296
Thompson, S.D. and S.E. Gergel (2008). Conservation implications of mapping rare habitats using high spatial resolution imagery: Recommendations for heterogeneous and fragmented landscapes Landscape Ecology 23(9):1023-1037
Thompson, S.D., Gergel, S.E. and N.C. Coops (2008). Classification of Late seral Coastal Temperate Rainforests with High Spatial Resolution QuickBird Imagery Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing: 34(S2): 460-470
Gillanders, S.N., Coops, N.C., Wulder, M.A., Gergel, S.E., Nelson, T. (2008). Multitemporal remote sensing of landscape dynamics and pattern change: Describing natural and anthropogenic trends. Progress in Physical Geography: 32(5) 503-528.
Gergel, S.E. (2007). New directions in landscape pattern analysis and linkages with remote sensing Taylor and Francis. in M.A. Wulder and S.E. Franklin (editors), Understanding Forest Disturbance and Spatial Pattern: Remote Sensing and GIS Approaches.
Gonzales, E. K. and S. E. Gergel. (2007). Testing assumptions of cost surface analysis: A tool for invasive species management Landscape Ecology 22(8): 1155-1168
Gergel, S.E. and M.G. Turner, editors. (2007). Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques. In Korean. Life Science Publisher Co, Seoul, Korea.
Gergel, S.E., Y. Stange, N.C. Coops, C. Bater, K. Johansen, and K.R. Kirby. (2007). What is the value of a good map? An example using high spatial resolution imagery to aid riparian restoration. Ecosystems 10: 688-702
Jewell, K.J. P. Arcese, S.E. Gergel (2007). Robust predictions of species distribution: spatial habitat models for a brood parasite Biological Conservation 140: 259-272
Gergel, S.E., and T. Reed-Andersen (2007). Modeling ecosystem processes Life Science Publisher Co, Seoul, Korea in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques. In Korean
Gergel, S.E., M.G. Turner and D.J. Mladenoff (2007). Collecting spatial data at broad scales Life Science Publisher Co, Seoul, Korea in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques.
Greenberg, J.G., S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (2007). Understanding landscape metrics II: Effects of changes in scale Life Science Publisher Co, Seoul, Korea in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques. In Korean
Turner, M.G., D.B. Tinker and S.E. Gergel (2007). Landscape disturbance: location, pattern and dynamics Life Science Publisher Co, Seoul, Korea in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques. In Korean
Langford, W., S.E. Gergel, T.G. Dietterich, W. Cohen. (2006). Map misclassification can cause large errors in landscape pattern indices: examples from habitat fragmentation. Ecosystems 9(3):474-488
Cardille, J.A., M.G. Turner, M. Clayton, S.E. Gergel and S. Price. (2005). METALAND: Characterizing spatial patterns and statistical context of landscape metrics. Bioscience 55(11)983-988
Gergel, S.E. (2005). Spatial and non-spatial factors: when do they impact the utility of landscape indicators of water quality? Landscape Ecology 20(2):177 - 189
Gergel, S.E., S.R. Carpenter, and E.H. Stanley. (2005). Do dams and levees impact nitrogen cycling? Simulating the effects of flood alterations on floodplain denitrification Global Change Biology 11:1352-1367
Turner, M.G., S.E. Gergel, M.D. Dixon, and J.R. Miller. (2004). Distribution and abundance of trees in floodplain forests of the Wisconsin River: environmental influences at different scales. Journal of Vegetation Science 15: 729-738
Gergel, S.E., E.M. Bennett, B.K. Greenfield, S. King, C.A. Overdevest, and B. Stumborg (2004). A test of the environmental Kuznets curve using long-term watershed inputs Ecological Applications 14(2):555–570
McClain M.E., E.W. Boyer, C.L. Dent, S.E. Gergel, N.B. Grimm, P.M. Groffman, S.C. Hart, J.W. Harvey, C.A. Johnston, E. Mayorga, W.H. McDowell, and G. Pinay (2003). Biogeochemical Hotspots and Hot moments at the Interface of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems Ecosystems 6:301-312
Nancy B. Grimm, Sarah E. Gergel, William H. McDowell, Elizabeth W. Boyer, C. Lisa Dent, Peter Groffman, Stephen C. Hart, Judson Harvey, Carol Johnston, Emilio Mayorga, Michael E. McClain, Gilles Pinay (2003). Merging aquatic and terrestrial perspectives of nutrient biogeochemistry Oecologia 442:485-501
Gergel, S.E., M.G. Turner, J.R. Miller, J.M. Melack, and E.H. Stanley (2002). Landscape indicators of human impacts to riverine systems Aquatic Sciences 64:118-128
Gergel, S.E. (2002). Assessing cumulative impacts of levees and dams on floodplain ponds: A neutral-terrain model approach. Ecological Applications 12(6):1740-1754
Gergel, S.E., M.D. Dixon, and M.G. Turner (2002). Consequences of human-altered floods: Levees, floods, and floodplain forests along the Wisconsin River. Ecological Applications 12(6):1755-1770
S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner, editors (2001). Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques Springer-Verlag, NY
Gergel, S.E and T. Reed-Andersen. (2001). Modeling ecosystem processes Springer-Verlag, New York Pp. 266-277 in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques.
Gergel, S.E., M.G. Turner and D.J. Mladenoff (2001). Collecting spatial data at broad scales Springer-Verlag, New York. Pp. 9-16 in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques.
Greenberg, J.G., S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner. (2001). Understanding landscape metrics II: Effects of changes in scale Springer-Verlag, New York. Pp. 101-111in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques.
Turner, M.G., D.B. Tinker and S.E. Gergel. (2001). Landscape disturbance: location, pattern and dynamics Springer-Verlag, New York. Pp. 147-165 in S.E. Gergel and M.G. Turner (eds.), Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques.
Gergel, S.E., M.G. Turner, and T.K. Kratz (1999). Dissolved organic carbon as an indicator of the scale of watershed influence on lakes and rivers Ecological Applications 9(4):1377-1390
Harris, L.D., T.S. Hoctor and S.E. Gergel. (1996). Landscape processes and their significance to biodiversity conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Pp. 319-347 in O.E. Rhodes, R.K. Chesser and M.H. Smith (eds.), Population Dynamics in Ecological Space and Time.