Matthew Mitchell

McGill University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Elena Bennett
Andrew Gonzalez
Start: 2009-08-01
End: 2013-12-16
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Effects of forest patch size and isolation on ecosystem service provision and biodiversity in an agricultural landscape
Think of the food that you eat each day: the fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat that makeup your daily meals. To produce these things, people around the world change their environment. We clear and fragment forests, plow and fertilize the soil, and plant and harvest crops. While these activities are essential to produce the food we eat each day, they can also degrade other benefits we receive from the environment. Things like clean air and water, places to recreate, and biodiversity. Society urgently needs information and tools to effectively manage these multiple ecosystem services. My PhD research aims to understand how the forests and fields that make-up agricultural systems interact to produce different ecosystem services. My current focus is on fragmented forest patches surrounded by corn and soybean fields east of Montreal, Quebec. How do these forest patches influence ecosystem services in the surrounding fields? Does the size or isolation of these forest patches matter? How do ecosystem services change as we move away from these forest patches? And finally, do forest patches influence biodiversity that is important for service provision? Answers to these questions will help us understand how human actions affect the species and biophysical processes that supply different ecosystem services. Ultimately, I hope that the knowledge and tools that result from my research will be used to help local stakeholders and communities make informed decisions about how to structure their landscapes for multiple ecosystem services. To help facilitate this exchange, I’m also working on creating links between scientists and communities to effectively communicate scientific knowledge and ideas.


landscape ecology, ecosystem services, agricultural systems, biodiversity, ecosystem functioning


1- Variability in ecosystem service measurement: a pollination service case study
Liss, Kate N, Matthew GE Mitchell, Graham K MacDonald, Shauna L Mahajan, Josée Méthot, Aerin L Jacob, Dorothy Y Maguire, Geneviève S Metson, Carly Ziter, Karine Dancose, Kyle Martins, Marta Terrado, Elena M Bennett
2013 Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

2- Linking Landscape Connectivity and Ecosystem Service Provision: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps
Mitchell, Matthew G. E., Elena M. Bennett, Andrew Gonzalez
2013 Ecosystems

3- Plant interactions are unimportant in a subarctic–alpine plant community
Mitchell, Matthew G. E., James F. Cahill, David S. Hik
2009 Ecology

4- Modules of reproduction in females of the dioecious shrubOemleria cerasiformis
Mitchell, Matthew GE, Joseph A Antos, Geraldine A Allen
2004 Canadian Journal of Botany