Concordia University



Juan Carlos Castro, PhD

Chair and Associate Professor, Art Education

Office: S-EV 2.619 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4787
Website(s): Juan Carlos Castro

Dr. Jaeger received his PhD from the Department of Environmental Sciences at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in 2000. He held a position at the Centre of Technology Assessment in Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart, Germany, and lectured at the University of Stuttgart. In 2001, he went to Canada As a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Lenore Fahrig in her Landscape Ecology Laboratory at Carleton University, Ottawa, funded by the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina. From 2003 to 2007 he was back in Zurich at the ETH as a research associate and was funded by the German Research Foundation DFG, the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF, the Swiss Federal Roads Authority, and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. His two last larger projects in Zurich were on the degree of landscape fragmentation and the degree of urban sprawl in Switzerland as indicators for the Swiss Monitoring System of Sustainable Development (MONET). He joined Concordia University in July 2007. In October 2010, he received the Dean's 2009-2010 New Scholar Award for outstanding achievement by a tenure-track faculty member. His research team received the IENE Project Award 2011 for their project "Landscape Fragmentation in Europe" from the Infra Eco Network Europe in September 2011 (Link).

In addition to his position at the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, he is an affiliated member of the Department of Biology and co-director (together with Amy Poteete) of the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre (LSRC).

Research areas: Dr. Jaeger is working in the fields of landscape ecology, road ecology, the quantification and assessment of landscape structure and landscape change, land consumption through urban sprawl, ecological modelling, environmental indicators, impact assessment, and novel concepts of problem-oriented transdisciplinary research.

Link to our Landscape Ecology and Environmental Impact Assessment Lab


PhD (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH, Zurich)

Professional affiliations

International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE)
International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA)
Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science (QCBS)  
Infra Eco Network Europe (IENE)  
Loyola Sustainability Research Centre (LSRC)  
Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology
(Schweizerische Akademische Gesellschaft für Umweltforschung und Ökologie, SAGUF)
[board member 10/2004 - 11/2014]
Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Gesellschaft für Ökologie, GfÖ)

Member of Editorial Boards of Peer-Reviewed Journals

Landscape Ecology” (7/2007-8/2012)
"Nature Conservation" (since 7/2017)
Current Landscape Ecology Reports” (since 9/2015)
GAIA: Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society” (since 6/2004)
Landscape Online” (since 10/2013)


HENV 615: Research Group Seminar
HENV 635: Spatial Analysis
ENVS 662: Data Collection and Analysis for EA
HENV 605: Research Concepts and Design
GEOG 361: Research Design and Qualitative Methods
GEOG 371: Landscape Ecology

See course descriptions in the undergraduate or graduate calendar. 

Teaching activities

Lab statement on climate change – A global emergency!

The science about climate change is clear: Earth’s climate is rapidly changing as a result of human activities; and this needs to be recognized for what it is – a global emergency! Effects including rising sea levels, droughts, floods, fires, shifting plant and animal ranges, and more frequent and intense extreme weather events are a reality humanity must address today. Climate change threatens to make many parts of our planet inhospitable for life as we know it, and it is exacerbating the destructive effects of biodiversity loss and inequality worldwide. The members of the Landscape Ecology Lab are sincerely concerned and recognize that action on this matter is urgently needed. Scientists agree that global temperature increases must be held below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic climate change. Institutional action is critical to help meet this goal, in addition to individual action, and we want to do our part.  We therefore pledge to dedicate a considerable amount of our research to areas relating to climate change and biodiversity loss, and to take concrete action to reduce our impact on the environment. This is taking shape in numerous ways, including involvement in the departmental Climate Emergency Committee (listen to CBC Daybreak interview 1 and CBC Radio Noon interview 2), reducing GHG emissions, flying less, limiting our consumption of meat, and a reduction in waste. We strongly encourage other labs and individuals to take a similar pledge, and exemplify the change they wish to see in the world. 

Openings and opportunities for students

I am now looking for 1 or 2 new Honours students. (My sabbatical has been postponed, so I will be at Concordia Univ. all of the fall term 2020 and the winter term 2021.)   

I am also looking for new MSc and PhD students to do research about landscape fragmentation, road ecology, urban sprawl, and/or landscape quality in Quebec or other parts of Canada for monitoring landscape change, starting in fall 2020. If you are interested, please send me an email (and include your CV).

There are many opportunities in our lab including field work, GIS (e.g., landscape metrics), computer simulation modelling (or combinations of them), or qualitative interviews. You are welcome to bring your own research ideas. Generally, research projects in our lab are about landscape ecology, road ecology, the quantification and assessment of landscape structure and landscape change, urban sprawl, ecological modelling, environmental indicators, environmental impact assessment, as well as inter- or trans-disciplinary combinations of them - for example, research projects that include quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed-methods approaches.   

Various Honours thesis topics are available; for example: "How to set limits to control environmental degradation?" and "What are the similarities and differences between the various definitions of 'urban sprawl' proposed in the literature?" 

I am currently looking for an Honours student to work on a project about procedures to introduce limits to control environmental degradation. More information HERE. Various other topics are also available. 


Great news: Benjamin Brunen's paper from his MSc thesis has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Environmental Management! It is available online at His research aimed at identifying attributes that are relevant for drainage culverts to serve as efficient road crossing structures for mammals.  

Ariel's paper about how to reduce wildlife mortality on roads is now published in the journal Conservation Biology (here: She developed a method based on mortality reduction graphs and proposes an Adaptive Fence Implementation Plan to reduce roadkill. Her paper discusses the influence of scales, thresholds, and the Few-Long-Or-Many-Short-fences trade-off (FLOMS). Very well done!   
Ariel's paper from her Honours thesis has been published in the journal Landscape Ecology in October 2019 and is available online. She compared two landscape metrics for measuring landscape connectivity and found that metrics that do not consider within-patch connectivity can result in misleading conclusions. Within-patch connectivity always needs to be taken into account (as for example, effective mesh size does)! Congratulations, Ariel!      

Naghmeh's second paper from her MSc thesis is now published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning and is available here. She examined how suitable entropy may be for measuring urban sprawl. The results clearly demonstrate that entropy is not suitable as a measure of urban sprawl. Very nicely done, Naghmeh!   

Our new book about measuring and limiting urban sprawl has now come out (Schwick et al. 2018)! We had a very nice book launch at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL in Birmensdorf (Switzerland) on August 30th. You can order a copy of the book here:   

Four students of our lab presented their ongoing research at the 2nd Annual Concordia Sustainability Across Disciplines Conference on March 8-9, 2018, including Ariel Spanowicz, Jon Cole, Benjamin Brunen, and Mehrdokht Pourali. Today, the newspaper "The Concordian" (Concordia University's weekly, independent student newspaper) is reporting about their presentations here (vol. 35, issue 22):  

October 23-25, 2017
 was the date of the conference "Road Ecology & Climate Change Adaptation: From Research to Action". Location: Quebec City (QC), Hotel Ambassadeur. It was a great success with more than 200 participants! It was in French and English (simultaneous translation). Please find more information on the website in English:
and in French: The website includes PDFs of the posters presented at the conference. Also available are a leaflet in English and one in French. You can now find the special issue of Le Naturaliste canadien (vol. 143(1), 2019) about this conference with most of the presentations written up as papers in it here.    

Our meta-analysis about the effectiveness of road mitigation measures to reduce traffic mortality of wildlife is now published in PLoS ONE: Trina Rytwinski, Kylie Soanes, …, Edgar van der Grift (2016): "How effective is road mitigation at reducing road-kill? A meta-analysis". It is the result of our last three meetings of the "Road Castle Group" (and work outside of these meetings). You can find a lay summary in the Concordia News here: "New Research: How to Reduce Roadkill". We are now working on a meta-analysis about mitigation measures to reduce the barrier effect of roads.   

Aurora's paper from her PhD thesis about large-scale wildlife responses to man-made infrastructure has been published in PNAS Early Edition on July 11, 2016 - you can find it here:  Sarah DeWeerdt summarized it very nicely for a general audience in Conservation Magazine here.  
The global conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) 2017 was in Montreal on April 4-7, 2017. Our session, chaired by Aurora Torres and Jochen Jaeger: "Road Ecology in IA: New methods and platforms to move towards larger scales" went very well. Our session included papers from scholars and practitioners that (1) evaluate the effects of roads or other infrastructure on wildlife from all parts of the world, (2) propose novel methods for quantifying the magnitude and/or spatial distribution of these effects, and (3) are interested in approaches to improve knowledge exchange in international communities through open online platforms. Our session about "Uncertainty analysis and communication in IA practice and decision making" was chaired by Jill Blakley. It was very well attended.     

Our new report about "Urban Sprawl in Europe" has been published in June 2016 on the Highlights website of the European Environment Agency - have a look at it here: It is also covered by the News of Concordia University here, together with Naghmeh's work about urban sprawl in Montreal and Quebec City. The journal 'Metro' also wrote about her work on 25 July 2016 (it even was on their title page)
The Urban-Sprawl-Metrics toolset (USM toolset) and the User Manual are now available here:  

The new brochure about our project "Earth Observation in support of the City Biodiversity Index (EO4CBI)" is now available here:

We are currently working on four major research projects (and a few smaller projects):
- Earth Observation in support of the City Biodiversity Index (EO4CBI) (brochure),
- Speak no evil, hear no evil? Uncertainty analysis and communication in Canadian environmental impact assessment practice and decision making (more information here),
- Monitoring the use and effectiveness of wildlife passages along HW 175 for small and medium-sized mammals (see News Bulletins below),
- Urban sprawl in Europe (more information here and here).
   Here are two interviews with Jochen Jaeger about research on urban sprawl done in his lab in French (CREM) and about urban sprawl in Montreal in English (CTV).  

Voluntary work

Building a Database of Environmental Assessment Reports about Roads

This project compares the strengths and weaknesses of environmental assessment (EA) reports to identify best practices and to learn from them for preparing future environmental assessments. To achieve this goal, a database has been created that now needs to be populated with EA reports and analyzed. You are highly welcome to help with this work. You will learn a lot about environmental impact assessment, how EA reports are prepared in practice, what methods are used, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. You can start this work at any time.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. If you already have some knowledge in computer modelling/programming, GIS, statistical analysis, or other quantitative skills, I would particularly like to encourage you to get in contact with me.

Current lab members

Jonathan Cole, PhD student:
Past, present and future land-use in the Adirondack - Laurentians Ecological Corridor: Identifying risk areas for loss of connectivity due to roads and development and proposing proactive mitigation measures 

Mehrdokht Pourali, MSc student:
Measuring and monitoring urban sprawl in Canada since 1971 

Kendra Warnock-Juteau, Honours student:
How can existing crossing structures along roads be improved to encourage co-use by wildlife?  

Charla Patterson, MEnv student: 
Prioritizing landscape connectivity in Canadian environmental impact assessment: A critical review of current practices

Steffy Velosa, Honours student: 
Wildlife road mortality along Highway 10 in Quebec and the need for road mitigation measures (link 1: La Voix de l'Est, link 2: Le téléjournal Estrie

Parnian Pourtaherian, MSc student:
Analysis of urban sprawl (study area to be determined) 

Clara Freeman-Cole, MSc student:
Assessing the degree of landscape fragmentation in Canada over the past 50-70 years for environmental monitoring  

Victoria Davison, Honours student:
Investigating the social correlates of urban sprawl in Montreal so as to be able to identify potential drivers 

Stefano Re, Masters student, external (Italy):
Prioritizing road sections for wildlife fencing to reduce road mortality

Rafaela Cerqueira, PhD student, external (Brazil):
Effects of road mortality on felids in Brazil: Spatial analysis, landscape change, and population viability 

Previous lab members

Benjamin Brunen, MSc student:
How do ambient and structural variables influence the entry into and full passage of drainage culverts by mammals and their ability to act as wildlife passages? (link

Ariel Spanowicz, Research assistant:

Prioritizing road sections for wildlife fencing based on road mortality hotspots and coldspots at multiple scales 

Naghmeh Nazarnia, MSc, Professional support/GIS-Analyst:

Earth Observation in Support of the City Biodiversity Index 

Michelle Anderson, Honours student:
Observing the effect of human presence on the usage of crossing structures by medium and large mammals along Highway 10, Quebec  

Daniella LoScerbo, Science College research study: 
Behaviour of wildlife at potential crossing locations along HW 10  

Samia Tabarah, MSc student: 
A case study about the role of uncertainties in Canadian environmental impact assessments

Judith Plante, MSc student:
Monitoring traffic mortality and the effectiveness of wildlife fences along HWY 175 

Ariel Spanowicz, Honours student:
Evaluating the reliability of two methods for measuring habitat connectivity in urbanizing landscapes

Ben Brunen, Honours student:
To what degree can regular drainage culverts serve as wildlife passages? 

Antoni Di Done, Honours student: 
Identifying wildlife corridors along HW 10: Integrating terrestrial and aquatic considerations

Aurora Torres, PhD student:
Wildlife in a human-dominated world: Impacts of anthropogenic landscape changes on birds and mammals in Spain (link)

Dr. Ernest I. Hennig, Postdoctoral Research Fellow:
Urban sprawl in Europe 

Jorge Gaitan, MSc, Research Associate:
Permeability of highways for individuals and gene flow for American marten in the boreal forest 

April Martinig, MSc student:
Evaluating the effectiveness of wildlife passages for small and medium-sized mammals

Katrina Bélanger-Smith, MSc student: 
Monitoring the effectiveness of wildlife passages along HWY 175

Laura Roch, MSc student:
Mapping landscape connectivity in the A2A (Algonquin to Adirondack) region using Circuitscape

Juliette Lees, MSc student:
What is the role of uncertainties in Canadian environmental impact assessments? 

Megan Deslauriers, Honours student:
Measuring the connectivity of the greenway network in southwest Montreal

Mary-Helen Paspaliaris, Honours student:
Life under the fast lane: Wildlife underpasses along HWY 175

Naghmeh Nazarnia, MSc student:
Monitoring urban sprawl in Montreal and Quebec City. Her work is presented in the News of Concordia University here

Robby Marrotte, MSc, Research Associate:
Monitoring the effectiveness of wildlife passages along HWY 175 for American marten (Link)

Rodrigo Lima, MSc, Research Associate:
Monitoring the effectiveness of wildlife passages along HWY 175 for American marten

Solene Tremblay-Gendron, MSc, Field Technician:
Monitoring the effectiveness of wildlife passages along HWY 175

Maarten van Strien, PhD student, external (Switzerland)

Evan Hovington, MSc, Field technician:
Monitoring the effectiveness of wildlife passages along HWY 175

Adrienne Asgary, Honours student:
Application and critique of the connectivity metric of the City Biodiversity Index (CBI)

Maya Hernes, Honours student:
Ecological effectiveness of protected areas in Quebec

Homayra Shaikh, Honours student:
A critique of approaches for dealing with uncertainties in EIA

David Beauchesne, MSc student:
Influence of different barrier types on the use of landscape by forest-dwelling caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). (click for project description), co-supervised by Dr. M.-H. St-Laurent, UQAR (website).

Rushdia Mehreen, MSc student:
How are inner-city population densities affected by freeways? A study of eight Canadian cities

Dr. Francisco Madrinan, Postdoctoral Research Fellow:
Landscape fragmentation in Europe

Paul Grosman (1952-2017), MSc student:
Using agent-based modelling to evaluate mitigation measures for moose-vehicle collisions (2011). His work is presented in the News of Concordia University here: "Of moose and men".  

Karen Paquin, MSc student:
Assessing the effects of forest management techniques on sequestering carbon in northern woodlots

Stephanie McConkey, Honours student

Robert Moriarity, EIA Internship

Yves Maurer, MSc student, external (Switzerland) (link)

Back to top Back to top

© Concordia University