Publications – Sari Saunders

Position Title: Research Section Head - Research Ecologist

Contact: B.C. Government Directory

Sari has a background in disturbance dynamics, landscape ecology, and avian ecology. She does field-based research and consulting with Ministry, industry, and academic colleagues on coastal BEC, old growth characterization, and impacts of resource management and climate change for ecological values and stewardship of coastal systems.

Current research projects

  • Coastal Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC)
  • Coastal Old Growth Dynamics
  • Coastal Experimental Watersheds 
  • Leveraging BEC for predicting culturally-important plants in the Great Bear Rainforest
  • Successional dynamics in landscapes susceptible to yellow-cedar decline
  • Development of old forest attributes and carbon sequestration after wildfire


Listed in order of publication date.


  • McNicol, G., C. Bulmer, D. D’Amore, P. Sanborn, S. Saunders, I. Giesbrecht, S. Gonzalez Arriola, A. Bidlack, D. Butman, and B. Buma. 2019. Large, climate-sensitive soil carbon stocks mapped with pedology-informed machine learning in the North Pacific coastal temperate rainforest. Environmental Research Letters 14: 014004.


  • Campbell, L.B. N.C. Coops and S.C. Saunders. 2017. LiDAR as an advanced remote sensing technology to augment ecosystem classification and mapping. Journal of Ecosystems and Management 17(1):1-13.
  • Giesbrecht, I.J.W., S.C. Saunders, A. MacKinnon and K.P. Lertzman. 2017. Overstory structure drives fine-scale coupling of understory light and vegetation in two temperate rainforest floodplains. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 47: 1244-1256.


  • Buma, B. P.E. Hennon, C.A. Harrington, J.R. Popkin, J. Krapek, M. S. Lamb, L.E. Oakes, S. Saunders, and S. Zeglen. 2016. Emerging climate-driven disturbance processes: widespread mortality associated with snow-to-rain transitions across 10° of latitude and half the range of a climate-threatened conifer. Global Change Biology 23: 2903-2914.
  • Sutherland, G.D., F.L. Waterhouse, J. Smith, S.C. Saunders, K. Paige, and J. Malt. 2016. Developing a Systematic Simulation-Based Approach for Selecting Indicators in Strategic Cumulative Effects Assessments with Multiple Environmental Valued Components. Ecological Indicators 61: 521-525.
  • Thompson, S.D., T.A. Nelson, I. Giesbrecht, G. Frazer, and S.C. Saunders. 2016. Data-driven regionalization of forested and non-forested ecosystems in coastal British Columbia with LiDAR and RapidEye imagery. Applied Geography 69: 35-50.


  • Klassen, H., S.C. Saunders, J.M. Kranabetter, A. MacKinnon, H. Griesbauer, and O. Fitzpatrick. 2015. Establishment of an interdisciplinary project to evaluate ecological implications of climate change in dry south coast forest ecosystems. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 086.


  • Banner, A., W.H. MacKenzie, J. Pojar, A. MacKinnon, S.C. Saunders, and H. Klassen. 2014. A field guide to ecosystem classification and identification for Haida Gwaii. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Land Manag. Handb. 68.


  • Alaback, P., G. Nowacki, and S.C. Saunders. 2013. Effects of Natural Disturbance and Logging on the Temperate Rainforests of Southeast Alaska and Adjacent British Columbia. Pp. 73-88. In G. Orians and J. Schoen (Eds.). Ecology and Conservation of North Pacific Rainforests. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
  • Kranabetter, J.M., S.C. Saunders, A. MacKinnon, H.A. Klassen, and D.L. Spittlehouse. 2013. An assessment of contemporary and historic nitrogen availability in contrasting coastal Douglas-fir forests through δ15N of tree rings. Ecosystems 16: 111-122.


  • MacKinnon, A. and S.C. Saunders. 2012. Incorporating historical range of variation in ecosystem-based management of British Columbia’s coastal temperate rainforest. Pp. 166-175. In Wiens, J.A. et al. (Eds). Historical Environmental Variation in Conservation and Natural Resource Management: Past, Present, and Future. Wiley-Blackwell.


  • Campbell, E.M., S.C. Saunders, K.D. Coates, D.V. Meidinger, A.J. MacKinnon, G.A. O’Neill, D.J. MacKillop, S.C. DeLong, and D. Morgan. 2009. Ecological resilience and complexity: a theoretical framework for understanding and managing British Columbia’s forest ecosystems in a changing climate. B.C. Min. For. Range, For. Sci. Prog., Victoria, B.C. Tech. Rep. 055.


  • Brosofske, K.D., D.T. Cleland, and S.C. Saunders.  2007.  Factors influencing modern wildfire occurrence in the Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri.  Southern Journal of Applied Forestry 31(2): 73-84.


  • Saunders, S.C., K.P. Lertzman, and M.A. Fuchs. 2006. Bird assemblages associated with vine maple gaps in coastal western hemlock forests of southwestern British Columbia. Northwest Science 80: 165-176.