Research project

Conservation Planning in Inhabited Environments: Development of Decision Support Tools Based on the Analysis of Sociological Systems


Despite being used by many countries throughout the world, protected areas with sustainable use (PASU) of natural resources are poorly-known institutional entities in the province of Québec because protected areas in North America have been historically associated with strict protection statuses. PASU make it possible to broaden the range of socio-ecological conditions found within a territory and which can be used to define a protected area. The PASU model is therefore particularly useful for establishing large protected areas in southern Québec, where a multitude of stakeholders and uses overlap within the territory. Given that anthropogenic disturbances cover most of the territory, we must explore new conservation options that allow for a certain form of resource exploitation and the achievement of conservation objectives, with the end goal being to increase the proportion of protected territory. PASU is therefore a very promising tool. However, we must examine whether our current resource exploitation practices are compatible with the inherent objectives of PASU.

The objective of this project will be to develop decision support tools to guide conservation choices in inhabited and disturbed environments, such as southern Québec, based on the principles of ecological planning and cartography of socioecological systems (SES). The study area will be a forest in the Lotbinière region (Forêt de la seigneurie de Lotbinière). As an emerging area of research, SES analysis will provide a diagnosis of the sustainability of anthropized landscapes. Part of the research work will involve integrating the contribution of different ecological functions, the provision of ecosystem services and biodiversity into SES characterization. The sustainability of the SES identified in the territory will then be analyzed to determine whether fluctuations are likely to occur concomitantly with global changes. Finally, different sustainable land use zoning scenarios will be compared in terms of their ability to optimize the overall benefits obtained from ecosystem services. Ultimately, the tools developed will make it easier to analyze the contribution of territories of interest with regard to conservation objections and access to nature on a regional scale. Such analyses could then be used to delimit future protected area projects, including PASUs.

Research Field

- Protected area
- Ecosystem services
- Biodiversity
- Conservation
- Sustainable use
- Socioecological system

Research Supervisor

Jérôme Cimon-Morin

Research Environment

Laval University, Department of wood and forest sciences, which is part of the Faculty of forestry, geography and geomatics

Web Site

Financial Aid Available by Program of Study

Doctorate in Forestry Science

Program description

Financial Aid Available*

Financial Aid Related to Research Project

$24000 per year for 3 years.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Milestone Amount
Doctoral exam and submission of research proposal by the end of the 4th semester
Favorable report from the supervising committee by the end of the 7th semester
Initial dissertation submission by the end of the 9th semester
Publication of an article in a scientific journal by the end of the 6th semester
Total $10,355

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Leadership and Comittment Scholarship (Canadians & permanent residents)
Citizens of the World Scholarship (International students) $30,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships or Research Visits (in French)
$1,000 to $2,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$20,000 to $70,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $40,000. If you are benefiting of this scholarship program, the doctoral admission scholarship will go toward paying your supplemental tuition fees. You will not receive the $2,000 scholarship amount directly; rather it will be applied over your first two semesters to the supplemental portion of your tuition fees.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Agronomy
- Rural Development
- Land-Use Planning and Regional Development
- Agroforestry
- Biology
- Agrifood Engineering
- Wood Engineering
- Geomatics Engineering
- Geography
- Natural and landscaped environment
- Forest Management and Environment
-  Sustainable development of the territory
-  Sustainable development

Requirements and Conditions

- Hold a bachelor's degree and a master's degree (or currently completing one) in biology, geography, environment, forestry or any other related field.
- Show an interest in and ability to think through complex issues and summarize research results effectively.
- Have strong scientific writing skills (having published a scientific article is considered an asset).
- Possess knowledge on systematic conservation planning or other spatial prioritization tools (an asset).
- Possess knowledge of forest economics (an asset).
- Possess knowledge of forest ecosystem services (an asset).
- Possess knowledge on statistical analysis and R software (an asset).
- Be able to start the PhD program at the expected date (between May 2024 and September 2024).

Required Documentation

- Text about research interests
- Lettre de recommandation
- Cover letter
- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript
Anyone interested in the project should apply. The lead researchers will use general, clear and flexible criteria to assess all applications. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted following the posting period for the position.

Application Deadline

March 1, 2024

Find Out More

Jérôme Cimon-Morin
Professeur adjoint
Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt