Phil Burton

Burton, Phil

PhD (Universty of Illinois), MS (University of Hawaii), BSc Honours (University of Saskatchewan), RPBio

Adjunct Professor
Room 130 (Terrace campus)


Philip J. Burton is a botanist and plant ecologist who has been studying ecosystem dynamics for more than 35 years. With applications in ecological restoration and sustainable forestry, he has published more than 100 refereed articles and book chapters, as well as the co-authored book "Salvage Logging and its Ecological Consequences" (2008, Island Press) and the edited books "Towards Sustainable Management of the Boreal Forest" (2003, NRC Research Press), and "Drivers of Landscape Change in the Northwest Boreal Region" (2020, University of Alaska Press). Current interests focus on the adaptation of forests and forestry under the current climate and biodiversity crises. Based at the Terrace campus, Phil also coordinates UNBC’s Northwest Region B.Sc.(Integrated) program.

Research and Expertise

Dr. Burton is interested in disturbance ecology, plant competition, forest regeneration, stand development and succession, silvicultural systems, forest restoration, old-growth dynamics and conservation, stand edge effects, and the ecology of understory shrubs. His work explores the disturbance ecology of northern B.C., with a current focus on forest wildfire behaviour. He is also exploring how sustainable forest management can be more resilient in the era of rapidly changing climate and values.

Research Fields
  • Biodiversity/Ecology
  • Climate Change
  • Conservation
  • Environment
  • Forestry
  • Natural Resources
  • Sustainability
Areas of Expertise
Disturbance ecology, vegetation dynamics, forest regeneration, sustainable forest management.
Languages Spoken
  • English
Available to be contacted by the media as a subject matter expert

Selected Publications

Burton, P.J., A. Jentsch, and L.R. Walker. 2020. The ecology of disturbance interactions. BioScience 70(10): 854-870. DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biaa088

Burton, P.J., and Y. Boulanger. 2018. Characterizing the combined fire and insect outbreak disturbance regimes of British Columbia, Canada. Landscape Ecology 33(11): 1997-2011. DOI 10.1007/s10980-018-0710-4.

Burton, P.J., M. Svoboda, D. Kneeshaw, and K.W. Gottschalk. 2016. Options for promoting the recovery and rehabilitation of forests affected by severe insect outbreaks. Pages 495 to 517 in Restoration of Boreal and Temperate Forests, Second edition, edited by J.A. Stanturf, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.