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Kirsten Dales
Liu Scholar; PhD Student, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Ph.D.  (2014 – Current)

Forest and Conservation Sciences

University of British Columbia


Msc. Environment and Management

Royal Roads University

Bsc. Natural Sciences (Biology and Chemistry) 

University of Calgary 

Environmental contamination is a global issue, affecting human health and the ecosystems on which we rely. Many chemicals, including Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Mercury, are capable of long-range transport through air, transboundary waters and accumulation in wildlife. Heavy metal contamination is a persistent feature of post-mining landscapes, especially in the developing world where disproportionate environmental burdens are borne by disadvantaged communities. My research and practice focus broadly on human-environment interactions. With a special interest in spatial dynamics of land-use change, I draw upon multiple disciplines and scales of inquiry to address issues related to industrial ecology and environmental toxicology in large river-floodplain systems.  In recent years, my interests have expanded from the natural sciences to encompass theoretical and empirical intersections of political ecology, environmental governance and complex systems science.

In 2014, I joined the Faculty of Forestry under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Gergel in landscape ecology ( My current research applies a geospatial and applied systems approach to assess how hydrologic connectivity in artisanal gold mining landscapes affect sediment-bound heavy metal deposition and spatial contamination patterns in Zamfara, Nigeria. This research is a coordination with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the African Forest Research Initiative for Conservation and Development (AFRICAD) at the University of British Columbia, and the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN).


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