Post-doctoral Fellow - Estimating the contribution of understory vegetation to fire risk and carbon storage

Position Summary

The University of British Columbia Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences invites applications for a full‐time, 24‐month fixed term Postdoctoral Fellow to work as part of a collaborative team alongside Dr Tara Martin, Dr Lori Daniels and Dr Nicholas Coops. Dr Martin leads the Conservation Decisions Lab (, Dr Daniels, The Tree Ring Lab ( and Dr Coops, the Integrated Remote Sensing Lab - .

Project Description

This position will work at the forefront of conservation decision science to inform models of fire risk and carbon storage as a result of changes in understory vegetation – two important gaps in climate adaptation planning and decision making.  Change in understory vegetation, within the Coast Douglas Fir Bioregion southwest Canada, as a result of overbrowsing by hyperabundant black-tailed deer due to the loss of predators (wolves and cougars) are leading to substantially modified understories with significant impacts on biodiversity. We now want to quantify the impacts of this understory change on two important processes – fire risk and carbon storage.  Using a combination of remote sensing (LiDAR), ecosystem modelling and field data, the post-doc will build predictive models to estimate the role of understory vegetation in moderating fire risk and its contribution to carbon storage in the Coastal Douglas Fir Bioregion. 


Rank:  Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Department/School/Faculty:  Department of Forest and Conservation Science, Faculty of Forestry at the Vancouver Campus.

Term appointment Start Date: January 2021 (or as soon as possible)

Term appointment End Date: December 2023

Stipend for Period of Appointment: $ 60,000-$70,000 (depending on experience) + benefits

The outstanding early-career scientist in this 2-year postdoctoral position will differ from other postdocs in two major ways:

  1. They have prioritized improving and expanding their research skills - directing their efforts towards problems at the interface of conservation, global change, decision science and people; AND
  2. They are committed to their professional development - participating and applying trainings designed to improve skills in science communication, working-group facilitation, and leadership.

Minimum/ Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in ecology, remote sensing, conservation science, decision science, geography or a closely related field. Proof of completion of doctoral dissertation must be submitted for evaluation by the closing date. Approval of the doctoral thesis by the graduate school is a prerequisite for employment.
  • Strong quantitative data analysis skills (R and/or Python, MatLab, ArcGIS or similar) and a demonstrated commitment to reproducible research.
  • Strong communication skills that allows for working effectively as a member of a large research team
  • Demonstrated professional competence in planning, designing, executing, and coordinating research
  • Demonstrated proficiency in writing scientific publications for peer‐reviewed journals
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as collaboratively, problem solve and take a leadership role
  • Asset Qualifications
  • Previous experience processing LiDAR data
  • Previous ecosystem modelling of fire and/or carbon
  • Lead‐author on publications
  • Experience working as part of a collaborative team

Application Instructions

Applicants should create a single PDF file that contains

  1. a cover letter with bullet points addressing your qualifications as they relate to the specific duties and qualifications described in the position description;
  2. a full‐length curriculum vitae (CV);
  3. the names and contact information (email, telephone, and mail) of up to three referees who may be contacted; and
  4. two examples of relevant peer‐ reviewed publications;

This document should be emailed to Dr. Tara Martin ( with “Understory Postdoc” in the subject line. For additional details about the position, including how to apply, visit ( ). For full consideration, apply by December 1. Applications will continue to be accepted after this date until a sufficient applicant pool has been achieved or the position is filled. The closing date is subject to change without notice to applicants.

The University of British Columbia commits to inclusive excellence by advancing equity and diversity in all that we do. We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. Indigenous scholars are encouraged to apply. If you feel comfortable please self-identify as any of the above in your cover letter. 

Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-54487 in all your correspondence about this Postdoctoral Fellow position.

This position will be supervised by
Classified under
Natural sciences

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