Ken Lertzman is a forest ecologist interested in a broad range of topics related to ecosystem dynamics, conservation, and management. He has a specialty in the dynamics of temperate rainforests and his work focuses on interactions between people and the landscapes they depend on. Understanding the complex interactions between natural disturbances, changing climate, and people in shaping forests over space and time has been a consistent theme through his career. Ken works in close partnership with coastal First Nations communities, trying to identify strategies for sustainability that respect cultural traditions, the needs of people living on the land, and which are grounded in ecological science.
Current projects focus mainly on the Central Coast of British Columbia (the “Great Bear Rainforest”). Ken works in collaboration with a team of other researchers at the Hakai Institute on a large-scale, multi-disciplinary project examining how pattern and dynamics of forests in the hyper-maritime landscape are reflected in watershed biogeochemistry, and how this in turn influences near-shore marine ecosystems. The other primary focus of Ken and his students on the Central Coast is challenges in the design and implementation of Ecosystem-Based Management. Research on EBM includes work examining how diverse types of cultural and ecological information can be integrated into the landscape planning process, assessing forest practices, conservation strategy, and policy and management options for enhancing local benefits from the forest.