Assistant Professor, Department of Natural Resource Sciences and McGill School of Environment
McGill University, Montreal, Canada
















Department of Natural Resource Sciences and McGill School of Environment


21, 111 Lakeshore Rd.
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC















PhD, Limnology and Marine Sciences, U. Wisconsin, 2002

MSc, Land Resources, U. Wisconsin, 1999

BA, Environmental Studies and Biology, Oberlin College, 1994


Office Location: Macdonald-Stewart Building, Room 2-062

Lab Location: Macdonald-Stewart Building, Room 2-071


Lab webpage:



Research Interest: How do ecosystem services interact and how can we manage landscapes to provide multiple services? This is the question that drives the majority of research in the Bennett lab. We’re interested in agricultural landscapes from which we demand not only food and fiber, but also high quality water, biodiversity, recreation, and other ecosystem services.

In many situations, a trade-off exists between agricultural production and other ecosystem services. For example, in the case of agriculture and water quality, production of food might require fertilizers which can degrade water quality. Growing human population and wealth are driving increased demand for agricultural production as well as other ecosystem services, such as clean water, flood regulation, erosion control, and carbon sequestration. What can we learn about these trade-offs and the other interactions among ecosystem services that may help improve management of ecosystems to provide multiple services? What if focusing on maximizing the production of one ecosystem service (i.e., agricultural production) can make ecosystems vulnerable to ‘regime shifts’, rapid ecological reorganizations that causes unexpectedly large losses of ecosystem services and are often difficult to reverse?

It is really important to me to do research that is, in some way, providing a useful product (information, understanding, or some other tool) to the public. Thus, I find myself also working on other issues in ecosystem management, urban ecology, communication of science to the public and other policy-makers, and building understanding of theories behind ecosystem management (including the resilience of ecosystems and human institutions, and the use of science in management decisions).


Please see my lab web page,, for more information about the lab group, including information for prospective students.









All content © Elena Bennett 2012