John T. Pierce


Areas of interest

Food systems and agro-ecology; Mediterranean mountain eco-systems; global ecology; historical perspectives on human ecology and carrying capacities; Homeric geography; Mycenaean archaeology-late Helladic period.


  • BA Hons. (University of Toronto)
  • MA (University of Waterloo)
  • PhD (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Teaching Interests

Global/human ecology; food systems; resource/environmental policy; ecosystem-based management

Current Projects

I) Mount Ainos and Its Changing Socio-Ecological System - Retrospect and Prospect


The island of Kefalonia (Cephalonia) is the largest and highest of the seven Ionian islands, a region made famous by Homer in The Odyssey where he describes the protagonist’s origins as follows: “I dwell in clearly-visible Ithaca, where there is a mountain, Neriton, covered with waving forests, majestic, and on either side of it lie many islands very close to each other” (Book 9, lines 21-23).  Kefalonia is dominated by Mt Ainos (including Megas Soros) at almost 1700 metres and is home to a unique species of fir- abies cephalonica.

Mount Ainos National Park (Ainos-Roudi NP) was created just over fifty five years ago. The park itself and, potentially, in addition, a specially managed periphery zone around it, reflects an effort to preserve one of Greece’s, and for that matter the Mediterranean region’s, most important and valued ecological systems and biogenetic reserves.

In this monograph we combine empirical and theoretical approaches relating to historical evolution of the area, natural and human induced threats to the resilience of the ecosystem, as well as the success and efficacy of previous protective/management efforts. Building upon this multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary evaluation, we offer possible policy suggestions, if not innovations, to the collective management of Ainos and its environs, particularly the immediate Periphery Zone, as a protected area within the context of an increasingly complex constellation of forces. 

These forces include new and diverse stakeholders; government uncertainty (within a context of economic recession and increasing social tensions); emergent interests/rights; and evolving interpretations of the values of ecosystems that are quickly reshaping traditional ties among the social, ecological and management systems.  At the same time, and not surprisingly, this new complexity is matched by new dynamics in vegetation and landscape responses that produce their own unique challenges for long term sustainability.

II) Assisting with the editing of:


III) Organizing and promoting archaeological field schools in Cephalonia around late Archaic/early classical burial sites and late Helladic Mycenaean settlements and necropolis.

“One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To search, to seek, to find and not to yield.”