Simon Fraser University

Ken Lertzman

Professor • Director of CRMI
Forest Ecology
B.Sc. (Zoology, University of Manitoba)
M.Sc. (Zoology, University of British Columbia)
Ph.D. (Zoology, University of British Columbia)

Dr. Ken Lertzman is interested in a broad range of topics related to ecosystem dynamics, conservation, and management. His research has focused on how natural disturbance regimes and management interact to produce pattern and dynamics in forest stands and landscapes. Dr. Lertzman has an ongoing interest in how changing climate drives ecosystems and the landscapes and resources available to people who live in them.
Increasingly Ken’s work focuses on trying to understand the complex dynamics and resilience of coupled social-ecological systems. This is being applied in his collaborative, multi-disciplinary work associated with the Hakai Institute on the Central Coast of British Columbia, where Ken works in partnership with First Nations and others to conduct and apply research about ecosystem-based management and sustainability on the British Columbia Coast. Ken helps lead the Hakai Institute’s Kwakshua Watershed’s research program which focuses on the drivers of forest variability and understanding biogeochemical and hydrological connections between hypermaritime watersheds and the nearshore marine environment (
Dr. Lertzman and his students work closely with researchers from other disciplines, as well as representatives of government agencies, First Nations, industries, and other non-governmental groups in applying their research to problems in ecosystem conservation, restoration, and management.

Representative recent publications:

  • Mori, A.S., K. Lertzman, L. Gustafson. In Press. Biodiversity and ecosystem services in forest ecosystems: a research agenda for applied forest ecology. Journal of Applied Ecology.
  • Hoffman K.M., D. G. Gavin, K. P. Lertzman, D. J. Smith and B. M. Starzomski. In press. 13,000 years of fire history derived from soil charcoal in a British Columbia coastal temperate rainforest. Ecosphere.
  • Savo V., D.S. Lepofsky, J.P. Benner, K.E. Kohfeld, H.J. Bailey, and K.P. Lertzman. 2016. Observations of climate change among subsistence-oriented communities around the world. Nature Climate Change 6:462–473.
  • Spry, C.M., K.E. Kohfeld, D.M. Allen, D. Dunkley and K. Lertzman. 2014. Characterizing Pineapple Express Storms in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Canadian Water Resources Journal 39:302-323.
  • Benner, J., K. Lertzman, E.W. Pinkerton. 2014. Social contracts and community forestry: How can we design forest policies and tenure arrangements to generate local benefits? Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44:903-913.
  • Palen, W.P, T.D. Sisk, M.E. Ryan, J.L. Arvai, M. Jaccard, A.K. Salomon, T. Homer-Dixon, and K.P. Lertzman. 2014. Consider the global impacts of oil pipelines: debates over oil-sands infrastructure obscure a broken policy process that overlooks broad climate, energy and environment issues. Nature (June 26) 510:465-467.
  • McKechnie, I, D. Lepofsky, M.L. Moss, V.L. Butler, T.J. Orchard, G. Coupland, F. Fosterg, M. Caldwell, and K. Lertzman. 2014. Archaeological Data Provide Alternative Hypotheses on Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasii) Distribution, Abundance, and Variability. PNAS 111(9):E807-E816.
  • Heyerdahl, E.K., K. Lertzman, and C. M. Wong. 2012. Mixed-severity fire regimes in dry forests of southern interior British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42: 88–98.
  • Mori, A.S. and K.P. Lertzman. 2011. Historic variability in fire-generated landscape heterogeneity of subalpine forests in the Canadian Rockies. Journal of Vegetation Science 22:45–58.

He teaches Introduction to Forestry (REM 670), Research Approaches for REM Ph.D. Students (REM 802) and Forest Ecosystem Management (REM 471).