Ira Sutherland

Systems Ecologist

Key skills:  Social-ecological systems analysis, ecosystem services assessment, carbon budget modelling, geospatial analysis in R, science communication, forest inventory, historical landscape assessments, decision support, optimization modelling, and cumulative effects assessments.

Ira applies his knowledge and skills centered around forest landscapes and social-ecological systems to help understand and navigate complex environmental tradeoffs. He embraces complexity and is committed to careful listening, learning, and reflecting; thinking across scales; collaborating across disciplines, cultures and worldviews; and, ultimately, building a more integrated understanding of landscapes solutions. His focal areas include: (1) carbon budget modelling, (2), ecosystem services assessments, (3) forest landscape planning, (4) cumulative effects assessment, and (5) developing (coding) related decision support tools. Ira has a diverse background spanning teaching, NGO, and professional forestry work and extensive research experience.

Ira’s research has advanced a dynamic perspective of how landscapes, ecosystems, and society are interrelated and evolve together through time. Ira completed his PhD in Forestry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he reconstructed historical changes in the BC social-ecological system and 12 ecosystem services. During his MSc at McGill University, he investigated the recovery of 8 ecosystem services following harvesting of old-growth forests on Vancouver Island. Prior to joining ESSA, Ira was a post doc at Simon Fraser University, where he applied optimization models to minimize cumulative impacts from energy planning in British Columbia.

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