Sean Smukler

Sean Smukler

Associate Professor, Applied Biology & Soil Science and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm

Chair, Agriculture and the Environment

Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm


MacMillan 123, 2357 Main Mall

Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Lab

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Profile

Columbia University (The Earth Institute), 2011, Post Doctoral Fellowship

University of California, Davis, 2008, PhD, Ecology

University of Washington, 2003, MSc, Forest Soils

University of California, Davis, 1996, BSc, Environmental Biology and Management

My research program is focused on working with farmers, and other managers of agricultural landscapes to find ways to better monitor, protect and enhance biodiversity and the availability of ecosystem services including food, fiber, fuel and timber production, greenhouse gas mitigation, and water quality and quantity regulation. My research has been concentrated on assessing the impact of farm management practices on plant biomass and biodiversity, soil physical and chemical properties, nutrients in water (leaching, and storm and irrigation runoff), and carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. I am interested in developing methods to translate these measures of ecosystem function into estimates of the availability of ecosystem services; then to figure out how to accurately bridge results from plot and farm level to those at larger scales, at the watershed, landscape and region using geospatial statistics, remote sensing and geographical information system tools. By providing landscape level assessments I see the possibility for farmers to not only better understand wider implications of their management practices but also to provide decision makers tools to address the increasing need for agricultural landscape to meet multiple societal objectives beyond just food production.

Research Project

My research program investigates the relationship between agriculture and ecosystem services both in developing, and developed world, agricultural landscapes. I am currently involved in projects quantifying trade-offs primarily among climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity and food production. My lab has a number of projects developing methods for implementing, monitoring, reporting and verifying agricultural emissions and carbon sequestration. We also have projects investigating ways to improve nutrient cycling on farm and throughout the food system.

For more information about my research please visit theSustainable Agricultural Landscapes (SAL) laboratory website.

See Google Scholar for a full list of publications.

Hawthorne, I. M.S. Johnson, R.S. Jassal, T.A. Black, N.J. Grant, and S.M. Smukler. 2016. Application of biochar and nitrogen influences fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O in a forest soil. J. Environ. Manag. 192, 203–214.

Thiel, B., M. Krzic, S. Gergel, C. Terpsma, Black, A., Jassal, P., and S. M. Smukler. 2016. Soil CO2, CH4 and N2O emissions from production fields with planted and remnant hedgerows in the Fraser River Delta of British Columbia. Agroforest Syst. DOI 10.1007/s10457-016-9990-3.