Dr. Thomas has been preoccupied with the comparative biology of trees and forest responses to the intentional and accidental impacts of humans for some 25 years. He has been at the University of Toronto since 1999, and is currently appointed as an NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Biochar and Ecosystem Restoration.
Dr. Thomas’ research focuses on how trees and forests respond to human impacts — intentional impacts through forest management, and unintentional impacts via local, regional, and global changes in the environment. In this effort, he tries to link an understanding of functional ecology and ecophysiology of trees (“how trees work”) to patterns of growth, mortality, recruitment, and reproduction at the population scale, to patterns of community composition, and to ecoysystem processes, in particular carbon flux (“how forests work”). Sean Thomas’ lab is currently involved in projects in temperate and boreal forests in Canada, and tropical forests at a variety of sites.