Research Team


Janina Kowalski (PhD Student)

I am interested in the ways that urban food trees contribute to the development of urban spaces and communities because of their intersection with urban forestry and urban food production.  My research will explore how different management strategies affect urban food trees, the role of gender in the development and care of food trees, and historical and current food tree access. I completed my Masters of Environmental Studies at York University in 2015, and my BA in Drama and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto in 2010. My master’s research focused on the foraging of urban plants in Toronto. I have also worked as a nature interpreter and educator at the Calgary Zoo from 2015 to 2016.

Stephanie Stanvov (MA Student)

My academic interests involve social and environmental justice issues, urban historical geography and neighbourhood-scale greening initiatives. My master’s thesis will examine if historical brownfield redevelopment practices contribute to an inequitable distribution of urban parks in the City of Toronto. More specifically, I will identify neighbourhoods where the creation of parks is prioritized over alternative land uses (i.e. residential or commercial), and how community activism contributes to the realization of redevelopment goals. I recently completed my Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Urban Sustainability at Ryerson University, with minors in Biology and Geography.



Recently Finished Students
Andrew Almas

AndrewMy research interests are currently focused on the biological make-up of southern Ontario's urban forest, how native and non-native species are interacting, and the role that homeowners and government have in shaping these engineered ecosystems. My research interests are supported by my employment as an Urban Forester for the Town of Oakville in 2010, and my position as an environmental scientist with Stantec Consulting Ltd. 2010-2012. I completed my Bachelors Degree (Honours) in Geography, with a minor in Sociology from McMaster University in 2009, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Environmental Assessment & Management from Niagara College in 2010, my Masters of Environment and Sustainability from the University of Western Ontario in 2012, and my PhD in 2016.


Talha Khan


I am interested in how climate change will affect species composition of the urban forest within City of Mississauga. My thesis considers the climate tolerances of tree species either present or currently being planted within the region and assess whether the future climate will still provide the suitable environmental conditions for the survival of these species. A vulnerability matrix will be created to highlight the climate conditions to which species may be most vulnerable. Interviews will be conducted with urban forest professionals within the municipality to assess the results. I completed my Bachelors Degree (Honours Spec) in Biology from Western University in 2014, with focuses in ecology, plant sciences, and environmental sciences. I completed my MSc in 2017.

Adrian Lue

Adrian LueI am interested in exploring the attitudes, perceptions, and experiences surrounding urban agriculture. My Masters’ thesis examined the experiences of urban agriculture participants across different types of community gardens (i.e. community garden plots versus rooftop gardens). Specifically, my thesis examines if community garden type as well as differing urban contexts (i.e. urban core versus suburbia) has an influence on the benefits and concerns experienced by urban agriculture participants.  I completed my Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto in 2015 (Physical Geography and Environmental Management double major) and MA in 2017.

Vivian Yip

My research examines residents’ preferences for urban trees and how their preferences may differ from the reality, using a combination of surveys and fieldwork (i.e. tree inventories). I completed my Honours Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto (Environmental Management specialist, Physical Geography major) and my MSc in 2018.



Previous Students and Research Assistants

Kathleen Watt (M.A., supervisor) Successes and challenges of implementing the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, completed 2016.
Angela Robb (M.Sc., supervisor) Mapping changes in urban canopy cover following an ice storm event: A case study of the December 2013 ice storm in Toronto and Mississauga, completed 2016.
Adrian Lue (undergraduate thesis) Residential support for municipal private tree protection by-laws, AY 2014-2015.
Vivian Yip (undergraduate thesis) Residents experiences and attitudes towards the urban forest after a major ice storm, AY 2014-2015.
Jennifer Vander Vecht (M.A., supervisor) Urban tree species selection choices and pest vulnerability, completed 2014.
Seth Wright (M.Sc.Pl., Current Issues Paper (CIP) supervisor), Permaculture principles in planning building climate change resilient cities, completed 2014.
Kiran Shahzad (ENV399: Research Opportunity Program) Mississauga’s adoption of a new private tree by-law, Summer 2014.
Murtza Jalali (ENV399: Research Opportunity Program) Trees in the news, Summer 2014.
Christopher Wellen (Ph.D., co-supervisor), Quantifying urban and agricultural nonpoint source phosphorus fluxes using distributed watershed models and Bayesian Inference, completed 2013.
Mike George Dean (M.Sc.Pl., Current Issues Paper (CIP) supervisor), Measuring the success of stream restoration projects: an evaluation of five Ontario Conservation Authorities, completed 2013.
Michelle Berquist (M.Sc.Pl., Current Issues Paper (CIP) supervisor), Stormwater infrastructure on private land: accountability through accounting, completed 2013.
Jennifer Weaver (Ph.D., co-supervisor) Invasive Species Distribution Models: An Analysis of Scale, Sample Selection Bias, Transferability and Prediction, completed 2012.
Tooba Shakeel (M.Sc., supervisor) Homeowners as Urban Forest Managers - Examining the Role of Property-level Variables in Predicting Variations in Urban Forest Quantity Using Advanced Remote Sensing and GIS Methodologies, completed 2012
Lara Cosca (ENV399: Reserach Oppertunity Program)Tree Landscaping Choices: Conflicts on Residential Yards, summer 2012.
Namrata Shrestha (Ph.D., supervisor) Exurban development and biodiversity in a mosaic ecotone, completed 2012.
Maria McGibbon (M.Sc.Pl., Current Issues Paper (CIP) supervisor), The archetype sustainable house, completed 2012.
Elizabeth Bang (undergraduate thesis) Level of Support for Tree and Garden-Related Policies in the City of Mississauga, AY 2011-2012.
Kyle Brannen (undergraduate thesis) Home-Based Edible Gardening In Mississauga, AY 2011-2012.
Elizabeth Bang (ENV399: Research Opportunity Program) Love your tree or your tomoatoes?, Summer 2011.
Kyle Brannen (ENV399: Research Opportunity Program) Love your tree or your tomoatoes?, Summer 2011.
Ray Ziemba (ENV399: Research Opportunity Program) Love your tree or your tomoatoes?, Summer 2011.
Aubrey Iwaniw  (M.Sc.Pl., Current Issues Paper (CIP) supervisor), Beyond the Tap: groundwater planning issues in southern Ontario, completed 2011.
Kirstin Bourne (M.Sc.) The biogeography of Peel's urban foret: patterns and correlates of species diversity, completed 2011.
Aubrey Iwaniw (M.Sc.Pl.) Beyond the Tap: groundwater planning issues in southern Ontario, completed 2011.
Jo Ashley (M.S.A.) Using GIS to assess the potential for solar energy generation in residential neighbourhoods in Mississauga, completed 2006.
Mike Lackner (M.Sc.) Development of an object-oriented urban land use classification scheme, completed 2006.
Joanna Attallah (GGR399: Research Opportunity Program) Tending our yards: Managing urban vegetation, AY 2009-2010.
Tooba Shakeel (undergraduate thesis) Role of Business Improvement Associations in Urban Forest Management, completed 2010.
Dema Ali (M.Sc.Pl.) Greening development applications, completed 2010.
Liviu Timotin (M.Sc.Pl.) LEED ND: Building greener and healthier neighborhoods, completed 2009.
Kirstin Bourne (GGR498: Independent Study) Climate change and Mississauga’s street trees, Fall 2008.
Garrett Lim (GGR399: Research Opportunity Program) Seeing the forest through the buildings: mapping urban trees, Summer 2008.
Disha Gori (GGR399: Research Opportunity Program) Seeing the forest through the buildings: mapping urban trees, Summer 2008.
Amanda O'Rourke, M.Sc.Pl., Planning for the urban forest in urbanizing landscapes: lessons from three Ontario case studies, completed 2007.
Kirk Biggar, M.Sc.Pl., Greener on the other side? Alternative planning for employment land in an emerging policy framework, completed 2006.
Carmen Pearsall, M.Sc.Pl., Inclusion of natural heritage policies into the city of Toronto’s Plan, completed 2005.
Jennifer Loo, GGR299Y, Ecological Footprint project, summer 2005
Aastha Sahdev, undergraduate thesis, Analyzing land cover in suburban neighborhoods of Mississauga, ON, completed 2005
David Kerins, undergraduate thesis (GGR417) Predicting land use change in Mississauga, ON, completed 2005


Ecological Footprint and Campus Sustainability Students
Twelve students have worked on the ecological footprint project and Campus Sustainability Assessment since 2004. We published an article on the project: Conway, T.M., C. Dalton, J. Loo, L. Benakoun. 2008. Calculating a university campus’ ecological footprint. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 9(1): 4-20