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New Grenfell faculty member finds wealth of environmental research in new post

Jianghua Wu researches northern peatlands to gauge the impact of climate change.

By Pamela Gill

Jianghua Wu will have no shortage of places to conduct his research in western Newfoundland.

Dr. Wu, who recently joined the faculty of Grenfell’s sustainable resource management program, conducts research on northern peatlands to learn how climate change and human activities impact hydrological and biochemical processes.

“Northern peatlands are commonly distributed in Newfoundland; the ecosystem that I am focusing on is not difficult at all to find in the Corner Brook region, and the peatlands have been developed for various purposes,” said Dr. Wu. “This will give me a great opportunity to examine these issues under my research agenda.”

Dr. Wu, who hails from Guizhou Province in the southwest of China, moved to Corner Brook from Montreal where he completed his PhD at McGill University.
“I use both field observation and process-based modelling to address the issues of climate change and human disturbance.”

Dr. Wu said he came to the Grenfell campus because it is a small university setting where he can easily interact with students.

“I’d like to build a good relationship between students and myself, as a professor,” he said. “A small class setting gives me more opportunity to build a relaxed and student-focused teaching philosophy.”

As well, the fact that Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service is located on campus, as well as groups like the Grenfell’s Environmental Policy Unit, will make research collaborations easier to build.

“The research issues that I will be examining cannot be addressed without good collaboration with other scientists,” said Dr. Wu. “I am looking forward to working with other scientists in the Corner Brook area to study these issues and make our environment and economy more sustainable.”

In addition, Dr. Wu is looking forward to supporting the growth of the sustainable resource management program and the growth of the campus in general.

“The program that I’ve joined is new and will be expanding in the near future,” he said. “Furthermore, Grenfell is planning to expand and is growing healthily. I’d like to contribute to that growth.”

Dr. Wu said he is pleased with the reception he’s gotten so far.

“My colleagues are very supportive; I have been feeling very welcomed by this community,” he said. “My students are also very respectful and supportive. They are willing to work with me to make the learning process more successful.”

Dr. Wu is an avid badminton and tennis player, and welcomes the opportunity to meet potential players. Western Newfoundland will also give him the opportunity to learn new winter sports -- he and his family are looking forward to the winter season, and hope to participate in the activities offered in snowy western Newfoundland.

“I have been hearing about the good snow in Corner Brook,” he said. “Whether it is good or bad, I am looking forward to experiencing it and learning ski here.”