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We study human-landscape interactions in the past and how those dynamics relate to the present. Our collective research efforts are geared towards the historical ecology of forest ecosystems in settler nations and understanding the relationship between people and the inhabited landscape. To study these relationships, methodological approaches from the fields of archaeology, ethnoecology, ecology, and molecular biology are considered. Ultimately, the goal of the HER Lab is to understand the role of history in shaping the structure and function of ecosystems and to interrogate the role of colonialism and settler colonial dynamics within environmental and heritage management policy. 


Dr. Armstrong is currently conducting historical-ecological research in northern Ts'msyen and Gitxsan territories in so-called British Columbia with a focus on traditional resource and environmental management. Current and ongoing work includes the identification and study of ancient forest garden and orchard ecosystems, Indigenous data sovereignty, trail and landscape archaeology, and continental range change of species of Corylus, Malus, and other culturally salient plant species. The HER Lab in Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University is currently accepting exceptional graduate students with a desire to undertake exploratory and outdoor research.

Research interests

Historical ecology, ethnoecology, landscape archaeology, environmental archaeology, ethnobotany, paleoethnobotany, phytogeography, traditional resource & environmental management, heritage management, organismal botany, dendrecology, population genetics

Funding sources

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 

Library and Archives Canada

National Geographic

Smithsonian Institution 

The HER Lab is located on the unceded ancestral Territories of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), Kwikwitlem (Coquitlam), and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) in the south and on unceded Gitselasu Ts'msyen Territories in the north. 

Acknowledgements are nothing without action. 


Vancouver / Terrace

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