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). He received the a Sustainable Champion Award from Concordia University in April 2022 (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 a member 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, environmental 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)
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)
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 (watch the intro video about the CEC here), 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 2 new Honours students to work on these two questions: (1) How does the use of existing crossing structures along roads by humans influence their use by wildlife (mammals)?, and (2) To what degree are people who still use planes willing to fly more slowly to use less fuel per distance travelled? These Honours theses will start in September 2023.
I am also looking for new MSc and PhD students to do research about road ecology, urban sprawl, landscape fragmentation, and/or landscape quality in Quebec or other parts of Canada for monitoring landscape change, starting in summer 2023 (for projects with a fieldwork component) or fall 2023. If you are interested, please send me an email and let me know about your research interests and your background (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 thesis topics are available: (1) "How does the use of crossing structures along roads by humans influence their use by wildlife (mammals)?", (2) "How long do wildlife fences need to be to avoid a fence-end effect?", (3) "Is it better to install a Few Long Or Many Short (FLOMS) fences to reduce wildlife mortality on roads?", (4) "How to set limits to urban sprawl?", (5) "What are the similarities and differences between the various definitions of 'urban sprawl' proposed in the literature?" and (6) "How effective are urban growth management strategies at mitigating urban sprawl?"
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.
The new video about the Climate Emergency Committee has been completed and you can now watch it here: https://vimeo.com/711162795
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 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110423. 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: https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.13502). 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). It is featured in The Wildlife Society (https://wildlife.org/new-fencing-framework-can-help-managers-reduce-roadkill/) and The Conversation (here). 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: https://www.haupt.ch/Verlag/Buecher/Natur/Umwelt-Oekologie/Zersiedelung-messen-und-begrenzen.html
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): http://theconcordian.com/2018/03/exploring-perspectives-sustainability/
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: http://roadecologyconference.org/index.php/en/
and in French: http://www.colloqueecologieroutiere.org/index.php/fr/. 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: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/07/05/1522488113.full 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:
http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/better-targeted-measures-needed-to. 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: www.wsl.ch/info/fokus/zersiedelung/onlinetool/index_EN
The new brochure about our project "Earth Observation in support of the City Biodiversity Index (EO4CBI)" is now available here: http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/981925/
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).
Interested in gaining some GIS experience?
Our MSc student Clara Freeman-Cole is looking for a volunteer or two who would like to gain some GIS experience. She needs help with digitising historic topographic maps of Canadian National Parks. The estimated number of hours she expects this will take will be 10-20 hours per volunteer, over the month of January. If you are interested or want more information please send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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)
Clara Freeman-Cole, MSc student:
Assessing the degree of landscape fragmentation in Canada over the past 50-70 years for environmental monitoring
Jonathan Wilansky, Honours student:
An individual-based model of wildlife-vehicle collisions and the shifting of collision hotspots as a result of fencing
Émilie Girard, Honours student:
Clearing up the confusion: A multilingual comparative analysis of definitions of urban sprawl
Carlene Kurdziel, Honours student:
Measuring urban sprawl in Montreal, Quebec
Anastasiya Shchukina, Honours student:
Perceptions about current and future clean cooking technologies in rural Kenya: Transitioning to a more sustainable future?
Michael Rolheiser, MSc student:
Beware of animal crossing: Roadkill hotspots along a high-traffic highway in Quebec, Canada
Sepideh Mosharafian, MSc student:
Assessing the future of urban sprawl in Montreal using scenarios
Navid Forouhar, MSc student:
Investigating potential drivers and other correlates of urban sprawl in Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs)
Sabrina Mruczek, MSc student:
To what degree do mandates of transport agencies consider biodiversity? An international comparison
Valérie Bolduc, MSc student:
How wildlife use existing crossing structures along roads in the Laurentians: Light at the end of the tunnel?
Zahra Najmi, MSc student: Proposing targets and limits to urban sprawl for Germany
Lucrezia Lischetti, Masters student (co-supervised with Emilio Padoa-Schioppa):
Investigating the effectiveness of Parco Agricolo Sud Milano at limiting urban sprawl using time series 1980-2018 in Milan, Italy
Previous lab members
Xingyu Zhao, Honours student:
Four evaluation tools for the quality of science used in environmental impact assessments (EIAs)
Mirya Reid, Honours student:
Sharing cities with the future: How concerned are Montrealers today about the implications of their residential choices on future generations?
Charla Patterson, MEnv student:
Prioritizing landscape connectivity in Canadian environmental impact assessment: A critical review of current practices
Parnian Pourtaherian, MSc student:
Effectiveness of greenbelts at mitigating urban sprawl: A comparative study of 60 European cities (link 1: Concordia News: https://www.concordia.ca/news/stories/2022/10/25/greenbelts-are-effective-at-slowing-urban-sprawl-new-concordia-research-shows.html, link 2: CBC News: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/green-belts-curb-urban-sprawl-montreal-concordia-researchers-1.6642469)
Mehrdokht Pourali, MSc student:
Measuring and monitoring urban sprawl in Canada since 1971
Rafaela Cerqueira, PhD student, external (Brazil):
Effects of road mortality on felids in Brazil: Spatial analysis, landscape change, and population viability
Kendra Warnock-Juteau, Honours student:
How can existing crossing structures along roads be improved to encourage co-use by wildlife?
Stefano Re, Masters student, external (Italy):
Prioritizing road sections for wildlife fencing to reduce road mortality: Including the fence-end effect
Victoria Davison, Honours student:
Investigating the social correlates of urban sprawl in Montreal so as to be able to identify potential drivers
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)
1. ETH-Life reports about the ongoing project on measuring the degree of landscape fragmentation in Switzerland (funded by the Swiss Federal Roads Authority ASTRA and the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN): 1st Report (Dec 2005) pdf - 2nd Report (May 2006) pdf.
2. Leaflet on the topic of landscape fragmentation and the effective mesh size, English pdf, German pdf, French pdf.
3. Miniposter of a project on landscape fragmentation in Europe: about our ongoing project on landscape fragmentation in the European continent (pdf Poster English).
4. Miniposter of a project on landscape fragmentation in Switzerland: about our project on landscape fragmentation in Switzerland (completed) (pdf Poster English, pdf Poster German).
5. Miniposter of a project on urban sprawl in Switzerland: about our ongoing project on urban sprawl in Switzerland. (pdf Poster English, pdf Poster German) link to the project within Switzerland's National Research Programme 54
6. Road effects model for predicting when animal populations are at risk from roads: an interactive model of road avoidance behaviour
- Click here to start the model -
Roads and traffic affect animal populations detrimentally in four ways: they decrease habitat amount and quality, enhance mortality due to collisions with vehicles, prevent access to resources on the other side of the road, and subdivide animal populations into smaller and more vulnerable fractions. Roads will affect persistence of animal populations differently depending on (1) road avoidance behavior of the animals (i.e., noise avoidance, road surface avoidance, and car avoidance); (2) population sensitivity to the four road effects; (3) road size; and (4) traffic volume. We have created a model based on these population and road characteristics to study the questions: (1) what types of road avoidance behaviors make populations more vulnerable to roads?; (2) what types of roads have the greatest impact on population persistence?; and (3) how much does the impact of roads vary with the relative population sensitivity to the four road effects?
Our results suggest that, in general, the most vulnerable populations are those with high noise and high road surface avoidance, and secondly, those with high noise avoidance only. Conversely, the least vulnerable populations are those with high car avoidance only, and secondly, high road surface and high car avoidance. Populations with low overall road avoidance and those with high overall road avoidance tend to respond in opposite ways when the sensitivity to the four road effects is varied. The same is true of populations with high road surface avoidance when compared to those with high car and high noise avoidance. The model further predicted that traffic volume has a larger effect than road size on the impact of roads on population persistence. One potential application of our model is to generate predictions for more structured field studies of road avoidance behavior and its influence on persistence of wildlife populations.
Published in Jaeger et al. (2005), Ecological Modelling 85: 329–348 pdf.
7. Webpage on the effects of landscape fragmentation
Effects of transportation infrastructure and urban development on landscapes in general and on wildlife populations in particular (among other, additional information): www.fragmentation.de
8. What are the objectives of environmental science?
Dr. Martin Scheringer and I want to start a critical discussion of this question. Therefore, we investigate the kinds of research questions asked by environmental scientists. To do this, we are taking a closer look at four questions:
- What is the lack of knowledge to be addressed by the research?
- What is the purpose of the results?
- What are the subjects the research is dealing with?
- What are the methods chosen for the investigation?
We propose that problem-oriented environmental science should strive to find answers to these questions that are different from those offered by ‘classical’ natural sciences.
The reason is that in the treatment of environmental problems, there is often a discrepancy between the needs of dicision makers and the results provided by scientific research (what we call the “datadilemma”). To explore how this discrepancy could be reduced, we make a distinction between knowledge-oriented and decision-oriented reduction of complexity. The challenge that today's environmental research is facing is that decision-oriented reduction of complexity should be incorporated in the selection of scientific problems. We use the guiding principle of “reflexive environmental research” and point out how it differs from the guiding principles of “classical scientific research”. Its key elements are: reflection of guiding ideas external to science (e.g., sustainability); addressing explicitly the uncertainty and openness of scientific results and forecasts (including unknown unknowns
); transdisciplinarity; the aim of contributing to the solution of complex and controversial real-world problems; adherence to relevant scientific standards.
You find more information and you are invited to contribute to the discussion here: www.env-science.ethz.ch
9. Other Links
- to the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory GLEL at Carleton University: www.glel.carleton.ca