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Alain Cogliastro

Alain Cogliastro
Photo: Seng Hok Ngo
Alain Cogliastro
  • Alain Cogliastro
  • Alain Cogliastro after a day’s work with students spent measuring and pruning trees on an agroforestry site.
  • Measuring a poplar planted 17 years ago to initiate forest restoration.
  • Agroforestry: an experimental setup integrating rows of trees in a cornfield to study their effects.

Ph.D. Biological Sciences, 1998
Université de Montréal 

  • Botanist-Researcher, Jardin botanique de Montréal
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Montréal

Research interests and expertise

  • Ecology and silviculture of deciduous tree species.
  • Development of silvicultural and agrosilvicultural systems.
  • Agro-forested environments and degraded sites.

About my work…

My field of research is sylviculture as a way of improving environmental conditions. My work is applied in two main areas. The first involves forest rehabilitation. I study highly disturbed sites such as post-agricultural forests that are depleted after being abandoned by humans. Such sites often have a limited variety of so-called opportunistic species, which are able to adapt to a wide variety of settings. In such cases, I focus on what we call forest enrichment. On these sites, I introduce different species of deciduous trees that can help enhance the site’s ecological and economic (through harvesting) value. This is not a simple process, because the success of the operation depends on numerous factors. Such real-life experimentation allows me to expand our knowledge and develop adapted solutions.

The other focus of my work is agroforestry. On agricultural land, I plant trees in the middle of crops so that both can benefit from such intercropping. Our goal here is to boost biodiversity where it is lacking in large intensive agricultural crops. I then observe the effect on the crops of introducing these trees. Boosting biodiversity with agroforestry is a way of improving soil quality or even increasing crop yields.

Why I like research…

I chose research because it makes me feel useful. I find it satisfying because it lets me contribute to gradually improving forestry and agricultural practices. The more I learn in my field of research, the more passionate I get about my work. I hope that in future my studies will serve as valuable resources. I also enjoy collaborating with my students and sharing my knowledge with them, because they are our hope for tomorrow. I try to communicate a love of learning and of doing things properly. 

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