Terry Sunderland

I am currently a Professor in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia focusing on the biological and human dimensions of the sustainable management and utilization of tropical forests. I was previously a Senior/Principal Scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia, where I coordinated CIFOR’s work on forests and food security, biodiversity conservation and integrated landscape management.  Prior to joining CIFOR in early 2006, I was based in West Africa for over fifteen years and worked on numerous conservation and livelihood-focused projects.

Having both a field practitioner and academic background gives me a wide perspective on conservation, livelihoods and related issues. I have a Masters degree in Forestry from the University of Oxford and a PhD from the University of London. I have published more than 240 research papers, book chapters and books. I am an active blogger and engage regularly with the media on disseminating research for policy influence and outreach.

ResearchGate | Google Scholar  | Twitter

Visiting Professors


Sima Fakheran

Dr. Sima Fakheran is currently a Visiting Associate Professor in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, and an Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran.

Her research interests include Monitoring Landscape Pattern Change and its Impacts on Biodiversity, Ecological Impacts of Road Networks, Corridor Design, Climate change, and Conservation Planning.

She did her Ph.D. at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and has been Head of the Swiss desk (Leading House for Iran–Switzerland Science and Technology Collaboration) since 2017.

Graduating from two different continents in different languages, environments, and cultures; consulting many students, founding and working in several professional organizations; sitting on the board of directors for the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) as Vice president, IALE-Iran President, Director of International Affairs of the Isfahan University of Technology, Head of the department of environmental sciences at the Isfahan University of Technology; and many other environmental and international activities provided her with a unique set of skills to listen, understand, solution, plan, develop and deliver. She is passionate about helping organizations to foster development and innovations through international networking, communication, and learning.


ResearchGate | Google Scholar | Twitter


PhD students

Alida O’Connor is a PhD student working under the supervision of Dr. Terry Sunderland. Her research contributes to COLANDS, a collaborative initiative between UBC, the University of Amsterdam, and the Center for International Forestry Research that seeks to operationalize integrated landscape approaches in Ghana, Zambia, and Indonesia.  Alida holds a double major in International Development Studies and Environment, Sustainability and Society from Dalhousie University where she completed an undergraduate thesis on the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area and a placement at a conservation project in Zimbabwe.  Alida earned her Master’s degree at UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability.  She  partnered with the World Wildlife Fund Namibia to identify wellbeing indicators in the communal conservancies in the Zambezi region. Following her Master’s, she worked as a research fellow with Dr. Sunderland on a number of papers and projects  with an overarching focus on forests and livelihoods. Her current work seeks to understand land use priorities, decision making power, and collaborative natural resource management in Ghana and Zambia.

ResearchGate | Google Scholar Twitter


Winy Vasquez

My name is Winy Vasquez and I completed my undergraduate studies in the Faculty of Forestry in the Natural Resources Conservation program in 2017. I joined Dr. Sunderland’s lab as a Master’s student in 2019. During my undergraduate degree in Forestry I joined the co-op program which paved the way for my interest in academia as I was able to work at research institutes both abroad, in Chile and India and at home, in the Faculty of Forestry. For my thesis research I will be working in collaboration with an Indigenous community in Peru that lives inside of, or in proximity to, a protected area in order to assess how their food security may be impacted and to gain a better understanding of what their local food system entails. I will be undertaking fieldwork in Peru in 2020, where I will be employing a variety of research methods such as household questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and photovoice exercises with youth. By undertaking this research, I hope to be able to highlight the many contributions forests make to healthy and sustainable diets as well as contribute to better-informed food related policies that strengthen Indigenous food systems.

ResearchGate | Google Scholar | Twitter


Debbie Pierce is a PhD student in the Sunderland lab. Her research is in tropical forestry, land tenure, and gender. She grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated with a double major in economics and environmental policy from the University of Michigan. After graduation she spent a year working in environmental philanthropy and non-profit organizations in New York City. She received a masters in environmental science and management from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she worked to develop a business model for the sale of biochar on California farms and vineyards. While at the University of California, Santa Barbara she worked with Dr. Gary Libecap on a land demarcation and land value project in California and Ohio. Prior to beginning her PhD she spent four years at the World Bank in Washington, DC working on indigenous peoples, gender and forestry issues. During this time she worked in Latin America and Africa, specifically working with forest-dependent communities in Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Burkina Faso.


Personal Website | ResearchGate | Google Scholar | Twitter


Samuel Adeyanju

I am a PhD student (Four Year Doctoral Fellow) under the supervision of Dr. Terry Sunderland. My research broadly focuses on African environmental politics with special interests in livelihoods and community forestry. I was a Mastercard Foundation Scholar (2017 – 2020) at the University of British Columbia, Canada where I obtained an MSc in Forestry. My MSc research focused on the co-existence of formal and informal institutional arrangements in managing cultural landscapes in Southwest Nigeria. I have researched various forest management and environmental related issues in Ghana, Zambia, and Tanzania. In 2020, I interned at the Food and Agriculture Organization Headquarters in Rome and traveled for conferences in Germany, Rwanda, Ghana, United Kingdom, and the United States. I graduated with a First Class in Forestry and Wood Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria in 2016.

Personal Website

ResearchGate | Google Scholar | Twitter


Masters Students

Bridget Nwabueze

I am Bridget Nwabueze, a passionate geologist currently pursuing a master’s in forestry at the prestigious University of British Columbia under the supervision of Professor Sunderland, seamlessly merging my geological expertise with a commitment to sustainable land management. Originating from Nigeria, my interest with Earth’s processes began early, fueled by childhood explorations of local ecosystems.

I earned my Bachelor’s in Geology from University of Benin, Nigeria, where fieldwork and research projects deepened my understanding of geological principles. Drawn to the complex relationship between geology and forestry, I embarked on a Master’s journey at UBC.

My academic pursuits focus on combining geological insights into forestry practices, emphasizing sustainable resource management. I engage in collaborative projects, exploring the impact of geological factors on forest ecosystems. Through research and fieldwork, I aim to contribute valuable insights to the intersection of geology and forestry.

My passion extends beyond the academic realm, as I actively seek opportunities to bridge the gap between geological science and practical forestry applications. As I progress through my master’s program, I aspire to research deeper into the complexities of forest geology, exploring innovative solutions for sustainable land use. My goal is to contribute meaningful research that informs forestry practices, promoting conservation and strength in the face of environmental challenges.

Looking ahead, I see a career at the forefront of forestry research and sustainable land management, where my geological expertise enhances the understanding of forest dynamics and informs policies for a resilient and ecologically balanced future.


Sarah Sra

I am a Master’s student working under the supervision of Dr. Terry Sunderland. I am passionate about wildlife conservation and rural livelihoods, and my research will focus on human-wildlife conflict in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. Prior to joining the Sunderland lab, I completed a bachelor’s degree in Human Geography with Environmental Specialty from Simon Fraser University, followed by a Master of International Forestry degree from UBC. I then spent close to one year working with the Namibia Nature Foundation on Community Based Natural Resources Management projects related to fisheries, Indigenous rights, forest policy, and wildlife conservation. I am currently working as a Conservation Planner with the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s BC Fish Passage Restoration Initiative, where I coordinate with Indigenous communities, NGO’s, stewardship groups, and the federal and provincial government to develop watershed connectivity remediation plans and remove anthropogenic barriers to fish passage.



Yutong Feng

My name is Yutong Feng and I am an undergraduate in UBC. I am a transfer student from Beijing Forestry University and this is the second year in UBC. In Beijing, I majored in biotechnology, and now I major in forest sciences in UBC under the supervision of Dr. Terry Sunderland. This program is a good choice to guide the undergraduate students to the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate and help with cultivating good initial research ability. After a year of study at UBC, I became more aware of the importance of sustainability. And my research is focusing on the sustainable management strategy. I had undertaken interviews and field investigations in Yunnan Province in China which is the origins of Terminalia chebula this summer. And my aim is to explore suitable sustainable management strategy for Terminalia chebula, one National Secondary Protection Chinese medicine. During this process, I found that the forestry in each place was intensely different but all were threatened by resource reduction. For example, the forestry environment in Vancouver is extremely different from China. Therefore, I desired to learn more about how to use sustainable development to save these resources. And I want to continue my master program with focusing on sustainability and international forestry!

Research Assistants

Joseph Mumuni

I am a natural resource scientist, with over five (5) years of field and academic experience in forest management, biodiversity conservation, and livelihoods. My current research is transdisciplinary and aligns with landscape ecology, strategic foresight, innovation, and environmental governance. Prior to joining Sunderland Lab as a Graduate Research Assistant, I was a research trainee at the European Forest Institute (EFI), Vienna office. I am from Ghana, and a privileged Erasmus Mundus, and Queen Elizabeth II Scholar.

I hold a double master’s degree in Agrosciences, Environment, Territories, Landscape, and Forest from AgroParisTech, France, and the University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Finland, as well as a Master of International Forestry degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. Since my undergraduate degree in 2016 from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana, I have worked as a Research Assistant and Projects Officer in several development-focused projects in Ghana, such as community-based natural resource management, timber trade legality, and sustainable cocoa agroforestry systems in the light of climate change. In 2017, I volunteered with the Dedicated Invasive Species Removal Team (DIRT) of Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) for ecological restoration at Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada.

Website: (includes links to Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Facebook and ORCID)

Visiting Students

Ngozi Edum

Ngozi Edum is an Erasmus Mundus Masters’s Student with mobility at the University of Eastern Finland and Universität Freiburg Germany. She is undertaking an internship at Sunderland Lab under the supervision of Terry Sunderland. She had her bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Environmental Management from Nigeria. She has worked with community-based organisations where she has implemented projects focusing on community inclusion in policy and governance. As part of her internship, she actively supports research at the lab focusing on Systematic Review. Ngozi hopes to develop her research interest and focus on livelihoods, policy, governance and stakeholder engagement at the landscape level. She is also a member of YOUNGO(Youth constituency of the UNFCCC), where she continues to support and amplify youth and children’s voices in international climate policy and negotiations.

Email | Linkedin



Diling Liang

My research is focused on the protection of UBC’s Farm. The project is seeking to keep a natural ecosystem and achieve sustainable development in the UBC farm.

I graduated with a major in Biotechnology from Beijing Forestry University. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Science from UBC. Beyond the focus of the coursework, I also did some lab volunteer work to deepen my knowledge during that time. In the summer of 2017, I had a chance to investigate species composition and distribution in Three North Shelterbelt which is an excellent forestry program in China. Besides that, I was a volunteer in Dr. Guangyu Wang’s lab at UBC. My main work was focused on Computer modelling for species distribution under the impacts of climate change. I helped in Anil Kumar Shrestha’s research “Protection of Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosi in Nepal,” and the paper is ready to be published.


Joli Rumi Borah

I am originally from Assam, Northeast India and a Postdoctoral fellow at Sunderland lab. My work focused on the biodiversity aspects of the integrated landscape approach that aims to reduce emissions and poverty and contribute to the sustainable use of biodiversity.

My broad research interests are sustainable management of agricultural landscapes for biodiversity conservation and human well-being, ecosystem services management and science-policy interface. My doctoral work at the University of Sheffield, UK assessed the potential of conservation interventions in effectively managing shifting cultivation for reducing biodiversity loss and carbon emission in Nagaland, Northeast India. Post-PhD, I worked as a Conservation Officer at Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) that involved providing conservation advice to farmers for sustainable management of the Irish countryside in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

ResearchGate | Google Scholar Twitter | Website



Sheriff Ola

My name is Sheriff Ola. I graduated with an MSc in Forestry program after defending my research on co-managing rattan harvesting in Ghana. I also have a background in information science with specialization in data science from UBC. Again, I have professional experience in the natural resource sector in West Africa, including in Ghana, Liberia and Ivory Coast. Primarily, I am interested in studying the role of information services consulting in driving forest and natural resource investments. Other research interest includes NTFP commercialization and livelihood implications for resource dependent communities. My ultimate aim is to improve my knowledge in these areas in order to be able to make meaningful impacts, both academically and professionally.


Abimbola Ilemobayo

My name is Abiodun Abimbola Ilemobayo. I was born and raised in Nigeria and I’m one of the recipients of the 2019 Mastercard Foundation Scholarship. I earned a Bachelor of Agriculture degree in Forestry and Wood Technology at the Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria. Professionally, I have worked as a research intern at both the Center for Space Research and Application and the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria. As of September of 2019, I am pursing a new journey in my master’s program under the supervision of Dr. Terry Sunderland at the department of Forest and Conservation Sciences. I am ambitious, highly organized, results-oriented and committed to making the world more sustainable. I am particularly interested in forest conservation, climate change awareness, adaptation strategies and mitigation among the rural communities because the rural farmers are the most vulnerable in the developing countries. In the next few years, I see myself as a world-renowned female researcher that would be involved in reshaping the forestry sub-sector and contribute my quota to sustainable forest resource management across Africa and other parts of the world where I could make a positive impact.


Juliana Kaufmanis

I graduated with a degree from UBC Forestry’s Conservation program in the spring of 2017, where I also subsequently completed the immersive Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture based at the UBC Farm. I am interested in ecological restoration, specifically the local-level impacts of large-scale restoration projects. Large, landscape-scale restoration interests me because it exists at the intersection of global goals and local livelihoods. I think this intersection makes it a fascinating area to explore issues such as: what are the goals of ecological restoration? and who decides what they are?   I formerly worked in the UBC’s Stream and Riparian Research Laboratory (Dr. John Richardson) as a research assistant working on the early stages of site selection, surveying, and literature review for the Source Stream Protection (SOSTPRO) project. The overall project aim is to investigate the impacts of different forest management strategies on metrics of aquatic ecosystem resilience and to identify trade-offs between those strategies, aquatic ecosystem services, and industrial and social opportunities.