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Podur, Justin J

Podur, Justin J

 Podur_Justin J

Podur, Justin J

Associate Professor

Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning

PhD Forestry , University of Toronto
MScF Forestry , University of Toronto
BSc (Honours) Physics , University of Toronto

Geopolitics & the interface of media narrative; Western intervention & local dynamis in current & ongoing wars; Application of quantitative methods & geographic information systems; Landscape ecology.

I am currently working with students on problems of urban landscape ecology. The big question motivating this research is: what happens if we look at the city as an ecosystem for other species? What can we learn about the ecology of the species we encounter every day in the city? And what would it mean to us, and to them, if we understood that ecology better?

My scientific research background has been focused on forest fires in Ontario – their spatial and temporal patterns, increases in their numbers and area burned, balancing their role as part of the landscape with the fact that they can threaten people and things of value. Looking at causes of the increases led me to an interest in climate change, and how to manage forests in light of it.

My main methods have been modeling using mathematical and computer models to study fire and, now, other ecological problems. I teach landscape ecology and geographic information systems.

In parallel, I have developed a research program on political conflicts, focused on a few specific parts of the world where I have traveled and worked as a journalist and translator. In recent years I have begun to think about these issues in a more academic way, as opposed to a journalist or an activist way, trying to relate to and contribute to the political science literature on these matters.


Recent Project

Crossing Boundaries: Urban Wildlife in Toronto. With Susan Ruddick (PI), Leesa Fawcett, and Sue Bunce, 2013-2018.


  • NSERC Discovery Grant
  • Frank A. MacDougall Fellowship
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Canadian Forest Service (CFS) Supplement
  • NSERC Post Graduate Scholarship (PGS) B
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Selected Publications


Podur, J. (2020). America’s Wars on Democracy in Rwanda and the DR Congo. Palgrave Macmillan.

Podur, J. (2019). Siegebreakers: A Novel. Rosewood/Fernwood Publishing.

Podur, J. (2014). A Short Course on Development in “Post-conflict” Congo. Radical Teacher, 98, 52-57. doi:10.5195/rt.2014.70.

Podur, Justin (2013), "Incompatible objectives: Counterinsurgency and development in Afghanistan", Chapter 10 in Empire's Ally, edited by Klassen and Albo. University of Toronto Press, February 2013.

Podur, Justin (2012). Haiti's New Dictatorship: The Coup, the Earthquake and the UN Occupation. Pluto Press, BTL, and Palgrave-Macmillan.


Short Fiction: "Under the Mountain." 28th August 2019,

Presentation: "What if we couldn't fight fire?" Podur, Justin and R.A. McAlpine. Wildfire Canada 2012, Kananaskis, Alberta, October 1-5, 2012.

Presentation: "Nature, capital and commodification: Ecology and the capital as power framework". Capitalizing Power: The Qualities and Quantities of Accumulation - Third Annual Forum on Capital as Power, York University, September 29-30, 2012.

Presentation: "Incorporating a spread event model defined by MODIS hot spots into fire growth modeling." Justin Podur and A. Saliola. Wildfire Canada 2010, Waterloo, October 5-7, 2010.