Terence Sunderland


Research Interests

Communities and Livelihoods
Conservation Biology
Ecosystem services
Environmental communication
Forest policy
Land-use Change
Landscape ecology
Natural Resource Management
social science
Tropical Landscapes and Livelihoods
Developing countries
Forest management

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows

Forests and food security; sustainable landscape management; biodiversity; rural livelihoods and markets; ecosystem services; non-timber forest products


I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).
I am interested in supervising students to conduct interdisciplinary research.

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Check requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
Focus your search
  • Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
  • Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
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Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

An overview of intercropping tree/tea plantations in China (2022)

The construction of composite tea plantations allows for symbiosis and reciprocity of organisms within the tea plantation, increasing the overall benefits and enriching biodiversity. Cultivation methods that intercrop tea with other species are widespread within China. They are found throughout the provinces, and the intercropping methods vary greatly. However, no article has provided a general overview of them. This thesis is a literature review designed to summarize and analyze all the composite ecological tea gardens. Through a keyword search of all the materials in the current literature database, 223 eligible documents were selected from 10,069 relevant documents in Web of Science Core Collection, UBC Library, and Elsevier Science Direct abstracts. The possible effects of 151 different tea/other species intercropping plantations were summarized and analyzed from six aspects: contained chemical substances in tea leavessubstances, microbial environment, ecological environment, multiple ecological niches, prevention of pests and diseases, and soil conditions. Moreover, it was concluded that the advantages of intercropping tea gardens outweighed the disadvantages of monoculture tea gardens. Intercropping tea gardens are more sustainable than regular tea gardens because of the changes and benefits in the above six aspects to varying degrees.

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A research framework to assess the impacts of oil pollution on Niger Delta ecosystems (2021)

Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region is the country's lifeblood, contributing 85% of the national economy. Paradoxically, the region remains heavily dependent on fishing and farming as essential means of survival. However, its entire ecosystem, which supports these services, is under severe threat due to relentless crude oil exploration. This study uses the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) systematic literature review protocol to design a framework. This framework depicts the various impacts of oil spills on the Niger Delta ecosystems, particularly forest ecosystems, rural livelihoods and food security. The review process was completed in four stages: data acquisition, document screening, qualitative data extraction, and results presentation. First, data acquisition involved searching relevant articles from various sources, including Google Scholar, Web of Science, Elsevier Scopus, PubMed Central and relevant grey literature. Exclusion criteria were used to remove documents that were not relevant for this research. The included article used a reproducible method, reported relevant outcomes, and focused on oil pollution in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. One hundred and fifteen (115) full-text publications were eventually obtained for data analysis using NVIVO software.The result analysis stage involved the coding, identification, and interpretation of themes obtained by querying the compendium of information obtained. Three layers that bear different components and subcomponents that are affected by crude oil were identified. The first layer (Layer 1) consists of humans, Aquatic Environment, and Terrestrial Environment. The authors discussed the impacts of oil pollution on the Humans component, with a percentage probability of 78% greater than both Aquatic Environment and Terrestrial Environment components. Layer 2 consists of six factors that are affected by oil spills. Of these factors, Human Health and Mortality Rate and Forest Habitat and Ecosystem Services share equal significance. However, the impact on Water was scarcely discussed by authors, as it accounts for just 39.1% probability. Layer 3 consists of sixteen factors (16). Some of the most discussed factors by authors are Aquatic Vertebrates, Vegetation, and Consumption patterns. In contrast, some of the least discussed factors are Human Displacement, Conflicts, Aquatic Invertebrates, Human Exposure, and Food Quality.

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Selecting local leaders to support forestry extension dissemination in Ghana: implications for management of rattan cane extraction in high forest zone (HFZ) communities (2021)

Social forestry practices such as extension dissemination have over the years evolved from top-down approaches to participatory and collaborative processes. For non-timber forest productsthat are facing scarcity concerns (such as rattan cane), there are calls for extension strategies tofocus on partnering with local communities for improved management outcomes. A keychallenge faced by extension programs in many developing settings, however, is that fewextension agents are available to service entire local populations. One solution has been forextension agents to seek out and enlist support from local indviduals in positions of authoritysuch as traditional rulers and similar local leaders who exercise influence within implementingcommunities. This thesis examined the criteria used by extension agents to identify and recruitlocal leaders in communities where they carry out extension programs. Using a survey-basedresearch strategy that featured electronic questionnaire instrument administered via email toforestry extension agents (n = 23), stationed in 10 districts located across 6 administrativeregions in Ghana, this study sought to determine which local leader extension agents often enlistfor support, what key factors influence agents’ recruitment decisions, which specific qualitiesagents look for in local leaders they recruit, and whether women leaders are as likely to berecruited for extension support as men. The study found that, in general, formal traditionalleaders (e.g. local chiefs) were the most enlisted local actors by extension agents, followed byinformal leaders such as trade association or similar group leaders. The study also found thatwhere an extension agent work was highly associated with the type of local leaders they select tosupport extension. Again, it found that extension agents look for similar leadership qualitieswhen recruiting local leaders, and finally, that women may be as likely as men to be recruited aslocal leaders for extension support. The study proposed that traditional rulers in localcommunities – including rattan dependent communities – be empowered through appropriatelegislation to provide enhanced support for extension programmes. The study againrecommended that design of rural extension dissemination be cognizant of gender situations inimplementing communities.

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