Thom Meredith

Associate Professor
Thom Meredith
Contact Information
(514) 398 - 4219
Email address: 
thomas.meredith [at]
Research areas: 
Environmental management
Impact assessment
Environmental conflict resolution in Canada
Current research: 

Dr. Meredith's interest is the management of ecological resources, with a particular focus on environmental impact assessment and community response to environmental change. He maintains active research on community-based environmental protection strategies that bring both scientific and local or traditional information into environmental decision-making. Current and recent research sites include mountain forest communities in Quebec, British Columbia, Mexico and East Africa.

In 1979 he joined the Department of Geography at McGill University to teach and conduct research in environmental management. He was the founding director of the McGill's Environmental Studies Program (1981-1998), and the founding director of McGill’s Canadian Field Study in Africa and the African Field Study Semester (2000-2012). He has lived and worked in Canada, England, Mexico and Kenya.

Research interests

  • Community-based management of environmental and ecological resources
  • Adaptation and innovation in indigenous and traditional land-use systems
  • Biodiversity conservation management
  • Environmental impact assessment ‑‑ public participation and community values
  • Safe and effective experiential environmental field programs learning opportunities
  • Current Projects:
    • Biodiversity conservation and community development in Laikipia, Kenya.
    • Biodiversity conservation and links to resource-based livelihoods in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
    • Community involvement in environmental planning in Kibera, Kenya.

Recent Positions Related to Research 

  • Founding Director -- Canadian Field Studies in Africa; African Field Study Semester (2002-2012) -- Instructor (2012-present).
  • Instructor and Planning Committee -- Panama Field Study Semester, McGill (2006-2020)
  • Student Mentor -- MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, McGill (2014-2019)
  • Principal Investigator -- McGill Project on Community Based Environmental Decision Support (CBED) (1996-2008)
  • Past President -- Society for Human Ecology (2000-2001)
  • Charter Member -- Canadian Consortium for Sustainable Development Research
  • Chair, African Studies, McGill University (2007 – 2009)
  • Board Member -- Morgan Arboretum. (1998 – 2006)
  • Past Board Member, Association québécoise pour l'é valuation d'impacts. (2002 – 2004)
  • Co-founder, member of trilateral (three country, six university), North American Consortium for Community-Based Biodiversity Conservation. (1996 – 2000)
  • Founding Director – McGill Environmental Studies Program. (1981-1998)

Previous Positions Related to Research

  • Board Member, Association québécoise pour l'évaluation d'impacts
  • Co-founder, member of trilateral (three country, six university) , North American Consortium for Community-Based Biodiversity Conservation.
  • Board Member, Fondation du Maire de Montreal pour la Jeunesse.
  • Visiting Researcher, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
  • Coordinator, McGill Project on Sustainability and Development.
  • Executive member, Canadian Association of Geographers.
  • Convener of Panel on Critical Environmental Zones Canadian Global Change Program (Royal Society of Canada).
  • Member, International Geographic Union, Commission on Critical Zones.
  • Founder, past director, present member, Canadian Association of Geographers Impact Assessment Study group.
  • Chair, organizing committee, Society for Human Ecology Conference, Montreal.
  • Consultant on impact assessment. UNEP, Nairobi.
  • Visiting Lecturer, University of Nairobi.
  • Chairman, Organizing Committee for the Second North American Caribou Workshop
  • Member, Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists' Committee for Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Consultant on land use change and development around Kootenay National Park, B.C.
  • Ph.D. 1978, Applied Biology, Cambridge University
  • M.Sc. 1975, Botany and Microbiology, University of London
  • Dipl. in Conservation 1975, Geography/Botany/Zoology, University of London
  • Bach. Environmental Studies (Honours) 1974, Geography, University of Waterloo
Selected publications: 
  • (Since 2010 -- full list available on request.) (Refereed except *)
  • Meredith, T., Blair, A., Burbano, D. (2021). Vulnerabilities in the Conservation–Tourism Alliance: The Impacts of COVID-19 in Laikipia and the Galapagos Islands. Human Ecology Review, 26(1)
  • Meredith, T., MacDonald, M., Kwach, H., Waikuru, E., & Alabaster, G. (2020). Partnerships for Successes in Slum Upgrading: Local Governance and Social Change in Kibera, Nairobi. In Land Issues for Urban Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa (pp. 237-255). Springer, Cham.
  • Burbano, D. V., & Meredith, T. C. (2020). Effects of tourism growth in a UNESCO World Heritage Site: resource-based livelihood diversification in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1-20.
  • Burbano, D. V., & Meredith, T. C. (2020). Conservation strategies through the lens of small-scale fishers in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: Perceptions underlying local resistance to marine planning. Society & Natural Resources, 33(10), 1194-1212.
  • Burbano, D. V., Meredith, T. C., & Mulrennan, M. E. (2020). Exclusionary decision-making processes in marine governance: The rezoning plan for the protected areas of the ‘iconic’Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Ocean & Coastal Management, 185, 105066.
  • Meredith, T., and MacDonald, M. (2017). Community-supported slum-upgrading: Innovations from Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. Habitat International, 60, 1-9.
  • Blair, A. G., and Meredith, T. C. (2017). Community perception of the real impacts of human–wildlife conflict in Laikipia, Kenya: capturing the relative significance of high-frequency, low-severity events. Oryx, 1-11.
  • Ford, J., Maillet, M., Pouliot, V., Meredith, T., Cavanaugh, A., & IHACC Research Team. (2016). Adaptation and Indigenous peoples in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Climatic Change, 139(3-4), 429-443.
  • Meredith, Thomas and Melanie MacDonald. (2014). Kibera Integrated Water Sanitation and Waste Management Project: Progress and Promise: Innovations in Slum Upgrading. United Nations Human Settlements Programme. UNON, Publishing Services Section, Nairobi. 120 pp. (and on line at )
  • Meredith, Thomas. (2011). Review for Canadian Geographer “Environmental Impact Assessment: Practice and Participation” Edited by Kevin S. Hanna, Oxford University Press, Don Mills, Ontario, 2009, xii + 467 p *
  • Meredith, Thomas. (2011). Review for Canadian Geographer: “The Challenge for Africa: A New Vision By Wangari Maathai, William Heinemann, London, 2009, 319 p. paper (ISBN 9780434019816).*
  • Klinsky, Sonja, Renee Seiber, Thom Meredith (2010). Connecting Local to Global: Geographic Information Systems and Ecological Footprints as Tools for Sustainability. Professional Geographer, Vol 62 (1): 84-102. (
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