Ellen Tsaprailis, February 4, 2022

Lenore Fahrig’s Innovative Landscape Ecology Research Recognized with International Award from BBVA Foundation

Carleton University Chancellor’s Professor of Biology Lenore Fahrig has been awarded the 2022 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology category.

Shared with biologists Simon A. Levin and Steward T.A. Pickett of the United States, the three winners have been recognized for adding the spatial dimension to ecological science and applying it to the design of nature reserves and more sustainable cities.

“It is a huge honour to receive the BBVA Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology,” says Fahrig who is also co-director of the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory.

“This award highlights our responsibility to protect and respect the other species with whom we share the planet. I feel especially grateful for the encouragement and supportive research environment I’ve experienced at Carleton. And I am also thrilled to share the award with Simon Levin and Steward Pickett, two researchers whose work I have admired for 40 years.”

Chancellor’s Professor of Biology Lenore Fahrig

Fahrig studies the impacts on biodiversity of habitat fragmentation and loss of connectivity between remnant patches. Her work is world-renowned both within the scientific community and by those who conduct on-the-ground wildlife conservation. She has initiated new sub-fields including connectivity conservation. Hundreds of organizations from North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania have used her research to refine their conservation policies and practices.

“We are continually impressed by the innovative conservation research Professor Fahrig conducts at Carleton,” says Rafik Goubran, Vice-President (Research and International). “It is wonderful to see her recognized globally and are very proud of her accolades.”

Headquartered in Bilbao, Spain, the BBVA Foundation heralded Fahrig for the following reasons as stated by BBVA Director Rafael Pardo:

“Professor Fahrig has developed theory-driven and data-proven ways for effectively reducing the effects of habitat loss through connectivity conservation. Fahrig’s approach has enabled investigations into the consequences of habitat connectivity and fragmentation, whereby habitat is broken up into smaller patches due to human impact on landscapes. This latter process is now considered to be one of the most profound threats to biodiversity. Her work has extended spatial theory into the complex dimensions of real-world landscapes, most notably by recognizing the critical role that road networks and small conservation areas play in altering the distribution and abundance of species.”

The formal presentation ceremony will be held in Spain in June, 2022.

A highly-cited researcher with more than 51,000 citations to her name, Fahrig is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was recently awarded a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship to study the importance of small natural areas in maintaining biodiversity—a project that could have profound implications for how the world approaches conserving species.

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