Andrew Trant awarded prestigious WS Cooper Award

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Andrew Trant
School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability professor and member of the WCMR Andrew Trant was recognized today for his outstanding contribution to the fields of plant ecology and biogeography.

The William Skinner Cooper Award is given out by the Ecological Society of America (ESA) to honor the authors of an outstanding publication in the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. William S. Cooper was a pioneer of physiographic ecology and geobotany, with a particular interest in the influence of historical factors, such as glaciations and climate history, on the pattern of contemporary plant communities across landforms.

Professor Trant and his colleagues at the University of Victoria and the Hakai Institute in British Columbia were recognized for their research study Intertidal resource use over millennia enhances forest productivity, which was published in Nature Communications last year. In the study, Trant and his team found that 13,000 years of repeated human occupation by coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect one might expect, actually enhancing temperate rainforest productivity. 

"I am thrilled to have this research recognized by this international group of ecologists. It's a huge honour and I can't wait to go to Portland this summer to accept it in person." The ESA will present the 2017 awards recognizing outstanding contributions to ecology in new discoveries, teaching, sustainability, diversity, and lifelong commitment to the profession during the Society’s Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon on August 7th. 

Perhaps more than anything, an award like this will greatly increase the number of people that will read this paper and get to hear the really cool story of how Indigenous peoples made their landscapes better over thousands of years. An important lesson for all people moving forward in the Anthropocene.

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