Ellen Macdonald, PhD

Professor (Forest Ecology and Conservation), Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Renewable Resources Dept


Professor (Forest Ecology and Conservation), Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Renewable Resources Dept
(780) 492-3070
751E General Services Building
9007 - 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H1


Area of Study / Keywords

Forest ecology boreal forest forest disturbance sustainable forest management plant biodiversity


Job/Research Area: Professor (Forest ecology and plant biodiversity)

1983 B.Sc. (with distinction) Environmental Biology, University of Calgary

1988 Ph.D. Plant Ecology, University of Calgary. 


  • University Cup (University of Alberta) (2019)
  • IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organisations) Scientific Achievement Award (2019)
  • Ed and Peggy Tyrchniewicz Award for Innovation in Teaching (2015)
  • Canadian Institute of Forestry Scientific Achievement Award (2014)
  • Izaak Walton Killam Annual Professor (2007/08)
  • Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences - Teacher of the Year (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring, Dept. of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta (1999) 


Major Responsibilities/Research Interests: The influence of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on the ecology and plant biodiversity of the boreal forest (see EMEND projects). Regeneration processes and successional dynamics of boreal mixedwood forest. Restoration ecology in northern ecosystems.


RenR 322/721 Forest ecosystems: Fall 2014 - present

RenR 299 Spring Field School: Annually since 1989 


Application of the conservation planning tool Zonation to information retention planning in the boreal forest of Western Canada

Author(s): Robinne, F.-N., J.J. Stadt, C.W. Bater, C. Nock, S.E. Macdonald, and S.E.Nielsen
Publication Date: 2021
Publication: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume: 8
Page Numbers: 584291
External Link: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2020.584291/full

A topographic moisture index explains understory vegetation response to retention harvesting

Author(s): Echiverri, L., S.E. Macdonald.
Publication Date: 10/1/2020
Publication: Forest Ecology & Management
Volume: 474
Issue: article 118358
External Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112720311270

Estimating retention benchmarks for salvage logging to protect biodiversity

Author(s): Thorn, S., A. Chao, K.B. Georgiev, J. Müller, C. Bässler, J.L. Campbell, J. Castro, Y.-H., Chen, C.-Y. Choi, T. Cobb, D.C. Donato, E. Durska, E. Macdonald, H. Feldhaar, J.B. Fontaine, P.J. Fornwalt, R.M.H. Hernández, R.L. Hutto, M. Koivula, E.-J. Lee, D. Lindenmayer, G. Mikusiński, M.K. Obrist, M. Perlik, J. Rost, K. Waldron, B. Wermelinger, I. Weiß, M. Żmihorski, A.B. Leverkus.
Publication Date: 10/1/2020
Publication: Nature Communications
Volume: 11
Issue: 4762
External Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18612-4

The impact of atmospheric acid deposition on tree growth and forest understory vegetation in the Athabasca oil sands region

Author(s): Bartels, S., B. Gendreau-Berthiaume, S.E. Macdonald.
Publication Date: 12/2/2019
Publication: Science of the Total Environment
Volume: 696
Issue: article 133877
External Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719338276

Depth-to-water mediates bryophyte response to harvesting in boreal forests.

Author(s): Bartels, S.F., R. James, R. Caners, S.E. Macdonald. 2019.
Publication Date: 2/1/2019
Publication: Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume: 56
Page Numbers: 1256-1266.
External Link: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2664.13359

Combining aggregated and dispersed green-tree retention harvesting for conservation of vascular plant communities

Author(s): Franklin, C., S.E. Macdonald, and S.E. Nielsen.
Publication Date: 7/1/2018
Publication: Ecological Applications
Volume: 28
Issue: 7
Page Numbers: 1830-1840
External Link: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/eap.1774

Ecosystem memory of wildfires affects multi-taxa biodiversity resilience in boreal mixedwood forest after retention harvest.

Author(s): Bergeron, J.A.C., J. Pinzon, S. Odsen, S. Bartels, S.E. Macdonald, J.R. Spence
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Oikos
Volume: 12
Page Numbers: 1738-1747

Extended density-dependent mortality in mature conifer forest: causes and implications for ecosystem management

Author(s): Gendreau-Berthiaume, B., S.E. Macdonald, J.J. Stadt
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Ecological Applications
Volume: 26
Issue: 5
Page Numbers: 1486-1502

Is the END (emulation of natural disturbance) a new beginning? A critical analysis of the use of fire regimes as the basis of forest ecosystem management with examples from the Canadian western Cordillera

Author(s): Stockdale, C. , M. Flannigan, S.E. Macdonald
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Environmental Revoews
Volume: 24
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 233-243

Edge influence on vegetation at natural and anthropogenic edges of circumboreal forests

Author(s): Harper, Karen A., S. Ellen Macdonald, Michael S. Mayerhofer, Shekhar R. Biswas, Per-Anders Esseen, Kristoffer Hylander, Katherine J. Stewart, Azim U. Mallik, Pierre Drapeau, Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson, Daniel Lesieur, Jari Kouki and Yves Bergeron
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Journal of Ecology
Volume: 103
Page Numbers: 550-562

Forest restoration following surface mining disturbance: Challenges and solutions

Author(s): Macdonald, S.E., S. Landhäusser, J. Skousen, J. Frouz, S. Quideau, S. Hall, J. Franklin, D. Jacobs.
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: New Forests
Volume: 46
Page Numbers: 703-732

Boreal mixedwood stand dynamics: ecological processes underlying a diversity of expressions

Author(s): Bergeron, Y., H.Y.H. Chen, N.C. Kenkel, A.L. Leduc, and S.E. Macdonald
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Forestry Chronicle
Volume: 90
Page Numbers: 202-213

Can retention forestry help conserve biodiversity? A meta-analysis

Author(s): Fedrowitz, K., J. Koricheva, S.C. Baker, D.B. Lindenmayer, B. Palik, P. Rosenbald, W. Beese, J.F. Franklin, J. Kouki, E. Macdonald, C. Messier, A. Sverdrup-Thygeson, L. Gustafsson
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume: 51
Page Numbers: 1669-1679

Growth of aspen and white spruce on naturally saline sites in northern Alberta: Implications for development of boreal forest vegetation on reclaimed saline soils

Author(s): Lilles, E., B. Purdy, S.E. Macdonald and S. Chang
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Canadian Journal of Soil Science
Volume: 92
Page Numbers: 213-227

The Restorative Imperative: Challenges, objectives and approaches to restoring naturalness in forests

Author(s): Burton, P.J. and S.E. Macdonald
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Silva Fennica
Volume: 45
Issue: 5
Page Numbers: 843-863

Ecology and management of natural regeneration of white spruce in the boreal forest

Author(s): Gärtner, S.M., V.J. Lieffers and S. E. Macdonald
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Environmental Reviews
Volume: 19:
Page Numbers: 461-478

Are mixedwoods important for biodiversity conservation in boreal and temperate forests?

Author(s): Cavard, Xavier, S.E. Macdonald, Y. Bergeron and H. Chen
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Environmental Reviews
Volume: 19
Page Numbers: 142-161