Nicole Fenton

Nicole Fenton

Institut de recherche sur les forêts
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Chair title

NSERC Industrial Research Chair on Northern biodiversity in a mining context

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Associate Chairholder since 2017


Mining is one of Canada's most important industries, generating well-paid jobs as well as raw materials and technological advances that are exported worldwide. In many parts of Canada, including Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec, the mining industry has stimulated exploration, settlement and urban development. Public perception of this industry has shifted over time, shifting focus from employment to environmental and social impacts. As a result, the mining industry has been modifying its practices to be more socially and environmentally responsible. At the same time, ore deposits in Canada and around the world, are being found in progressively more remote regions, as deposits in easier-to-access areas have already been developed. Consequently, many ore deposits currently being exploited or developed are in northern parts of Canada. To achieve sustainable development in the north, several elements need to be considered: the rapidly changing climate, the role of First Nations, and the dominance of small plants such as mosses and lichens. Surprisingly, few studies have addressed the overall impact of mines on terrestrial biodiversity and even fewer in a boreal context that includes First Nations, cryptogams and climate change.

Building on Dr. Nicole Fenton’s expertise in bryophyte and lichen ecology and experience in collaborative research with different industries, the mission of this NSERC Industrial Research Chair is to increase knowledge creation and transfer on northern biodiversity. This knowledge will help develop strategies to reduce the impacts of development throughout mine life cycles, especially when mining is one of several impacts, including climate change, affecting a region. This mission will be accomplished by integrating scientific and traditional knowledge and will permit industries, governments and communities to reduce their impact on biodiversity, and integrate aboriginal perspectives and climate change into these plans.


  • Hecla Québec Inc.
  • Canadian Malartic GP
  • Les Diamants Stornoway (Canada) Inc.
  • Nemaska Lithium
  • Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd
  • Nation Abitibiwinni
  • Gouvernement du Québec − ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
  • Gouvernement du Québec − ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs
  • Cree Nation Government

Contact information

Institut de recherche sur les forêts
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

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