Leah Walker


Office: SN 2005
Email: lcwalker@mun.ca

Dr. Carissa Brown

Dr. Luise Hermanutz (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
Dr. André Arsenault (Natural Resources Canada)

Research Groups
Northern Edge Lab

Previous Education
BSc Environmental Science (Applied Biology concentration), Simon Fraser University (2016)

Title of Project
Resolving the Holocene fire regimes of Terra Nova National Park: Informing conservation management

Project Description
The aim of my research is to determine the Holocene fire history of Terra Nova National Park (TNNP). Fire is a natural disturbance and dominant control of ecological processes in the Canadian boreal forest, driving regeneration, plant community structure, and nutrient cycling. TNNP, in central-eastern Newfoundland, is dominated by boreal forest and has historically experienced natural fire disturbance. Park managers are in the process of restoring a natural fire regime to the park through prescribed burning to promote regeneration and reduce the risk of uncontrolled fires. However, we do not have accurate estimates of the long-term fire history in the park during the Holocene. To make informed management decisions we need the historic and pre-historic fire history of an area.
I will be using a soil charcoal approach to determine the natural fire regime(s) of the park. I will compare the fire regime(s) between the central and coastal forest types of the park and compare these past reconstructions with current forest composition and recent fire history patterns to assess if they match disturbance-composition relationships.

Research Interests

  • Landscape Ecology
  • Species Range Dynamics
  • Wildfire
  • Geographic Information Sciences (GIS)

Teaching Assistant, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Winter 2018 – Physical Geography: The Global Perspective (GEOG 2102)

Awards and Distinctions
Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) – Graduate Research Scholarships (May 2018)
NSERC – Alexander Graham Bell, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s (2018)
SFU – Undergraduate Open Scholarship (2014-2016)
NSERC – Undergraduate Student Research Award (2014)
SFU – The BC Secondary School Summit Entrance Scholarship (2011)


Department of Geography

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000