Jim Fyles

Jim Fyles was raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in ecology from the University of Victoria. He obtained his Ph.D. jointly in Soil Science and Botany at the University of Alberta in 1986, after which he did post-doctoral research in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. Since 1988, Dr. Fyles has been a professor the Department of Natural Resource Sciences where he holds the Tomlinson Chair in Forest Ecology. He was one of the primary developers of the McGill School of Environment and has served as the Director of the School. He is the Director of the Molson Nature Reserve and the Morgan Arboretum, peri-urban conservation and research areas near the Macdonald Campus. Between 2004 and 2010 he was the Scientific Director of the Sustainable Forest Management Network Centre of Excellence, a national research network involving partners from industry, governments, Aboriginal groups and non-governmental organizations working on projects with researchers at thirty-five universities.


Dr. Fyles’ research interests focus on the interrelationships between plants, soil, disturbance and climate, and on the functioning of complex ecological and socio-ecological systems that vary across multiple scales. One theme throughout his work is the development of novel approaches that can provide insight into complex systems and representing complexity in a way that can be communicated effectively to others. Through his work with the SFM-NCE he has become increasingly interested in the relationships between scientific knowledge, policy and forest management. Dr. Fyles has published over 70 articles in scientific journals and co-authored many knowledge exchange documents.


Dr. Fyles teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the global environment and ecosystem ecology. He has received the Macdonald College Award for Teaching Excellence. He has supervised 30 graduate students and 23 senior undergraduate research projects.


Dr. Fyles lives with his wife and son in the town of Baie d’Urfé, Quebec, walking distance from the Macdonald Campus. He enjoys music and outdoor activities.