James Gordon Nelson
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
University of Waterloo
Land use, resource and environmental planning, management and decision-making; heritage
and environmental education; international environmental studies.
McMaster University, B.A. (1955); University of Colorado, M.A. (1957); Johns Hopkins
University, Ph.D. (1959) and Gustav Bissing Post Doctoral Fellow (1960).
CAREER TO DATE
Assistant, Associate and Full Professor of Geography, University of Calgary, 1960-1971.
Research Leave, University of California, Berkeley, January 1 to June 30, 1967.
Visitor, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, January 1 to August 31, 1969.
Professor of Geography, University of Western Ontario, 1971-1975.
Professor of Geography, University of Waterloo, 1975-1983.
Research, Scotland and France, July 1 to December 31, 1980.
Professor of Geography and Urban and Regional Planning, University of Waterloo, 1984 to 1997.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, 1998 to present.
ADMINISTRATIVE AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Head, Department of Geography, University of Calgary, 1964-1967. Associate Dean (Planning),
Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Calgary, 1967-1970.
Dean, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo, 1975-1983.
Chairperson, Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, May, 1986 – present.
Canadian Non-Government Organization Preparatory Committee for Stockholm Conference on
Human Environment, 1971-1972.
Human Environment Committee, Social Science Federation of Canada, (Chairman, 1974), 1971-
Vice-President and President, Canadian Association of Geographers, 1974-1975 and 1975-1976.
Co-ordinator, Conservation Reserves Project, Man and Environment Commission, International
Geographical Union, 1972-1976.
Member, Alaska Pipeline Panel, 1976-1979.
President, Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies
Member, Commission on Ecology, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and
Natural Resources, (IUCN), 1979-1991.
Member, Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, International Union for the
Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 1988 - present.
Member and Chair, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Geography and
Urban and Regional Studies Grants Committee, Ottawa, 1990 and 1991.
Member, Ontario Government Delegation to Four Motors Environmental Conference
(Environmental Education and Wastes), Swansea, Wales, November 1993.
Co-Chair, NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Contributions of National Parks and Protected
Areas to Heritage Conservation, Tourism and Sustainable Development, Krakow, Poland,
Ontario Governor, Heritage Canada Foundation, 1997-2003.
Editor in Chief, Environments, 1994 – 2005.
Member Executive, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Waterloo Chapter. 2003 – present.
Member, Board, Community Heritage Ontario (Vice President) 2003 – present.
Chair, Parks Research Forum of Ontario (PRFO). 1996 – 2006.
Chair, Carolinian Canada, 2005 – present.
RESEARCH AND FIELD STUDIES
Over 300 books, articles and reports. Research in Canada and U.S.A. including Alaska and
Arctic Canada, also Mexico, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Belize, Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand,
Australia, India, U.K., Greece, Spain, Portugal, U.S.S.R., France, Senegal, Indonesia, Hong
Kong, Poland, Germany, The Nordic Countries, Switzerland, Australia, Czech Republic, Slovakia,
Romania. Pakistan, Italy, and Sicily.
Supervisor for approximately 80 M.A. and PhD students’ theses.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
1957-59 Gilman Fellow, Johns Hopkins University.
1958 SIGMA XI (The Scientific Research Society of North America).
1959-60 Gustav Bissing Fellow, Johns Hopkins University.
1976 Civilian Citation, Kitchener Police Department.
1978 Natural Heritage Award, Parks Canada, Department of Indian and Northern
1983 Canadian Association of Geographers Award for Scholarly Distinction in
1984/85 Social Science and Humanities Research Council Leave Fellowship.
1988 Ontario Association of Geographers Award for Service to the Profession.
1993 Massey Medalist, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
1993 Fellow, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
1994 Environmental Award, Regional Municipality of Waterloo.
1994 Certificate of Achievement, Grand River Conservation Authority.
1997 Conservation Award, Ottawa Field Naturalists.
1997 Conservation Award, Kitchener Waterloo Field Naturalists.
1997 Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo.
2004 Heritage River Conservation Award of Merit, Canadian Heritage Rivers Board.
2005 The J.B. Harkin Award, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
2006 Honourary Paul Harris Award, Ridgetown Rotary, Ridgetown, Ontario.
SELECTED MAJOR PROJECTS
1971-1972 International Geographical Union Comparative Studies of National Parks and
1975 Arctic Renewable Resources Study for Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (Director).
1976-80 Assessment of Environmental Impacts of Yukon Environmental Pipeline.
1980 Donner Canadian Foundation for Environmentally Significant Areas Research in
the Yukon, (with J.B. Theberge).
1982 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): for consultation regarding
education and research with the University of West Indies (with L. Gertler, K.
1984 Study Tour of Nordic Countries for Association of Canadian Universities for
Northern Studies (ACUNS) and consultations regarding Arctic Conservation
Conventions and Agreements for federal Department of Environment.
1986 SSHRC: The Role of National Parks and Protected Areas in National
Conservation Strategies (NCS).
1986 Royal Canadian Geographical Society: Canadian Water Diversions to the U.S.
(with J.C. Day), a project of the Canadian Association of Geographers Public
1988-89 Canadian Heritage Rivers Board and Grand River Conservation Authority for
Heritage Studies of Grand River, Ontario.
1989-90 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Remote Sensing/Land
Use, Java, Indonesia and Bali.
1990 Industry, Science and Technology Canada: Action Plan for Tourism, Globe 90.
1990 Federal Environmental Assessment and Review Office (FEARO), Ottawa.
Environmental Assessment and Heritage.
1990 SSHRC, Planning for Offshore Petroleum Development Effects in Shetland, An
Evaluation (with R. Butler).
1995-97 Parks Canada: A Greater Park Ecosystem Plan for Georgian Bay Islands
1998-present Heritage Landscape Guides Project, Ontario: compilations for Old Town
Toronto, Ridgetown, Grand River Watershed, and Upper St. Lawrence Region.
2000-2001 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): Advising on Development
of a University Environmental Studies Program in Pakistan
2001-2002 Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology in Canada:
Communication and Planning Advisor.
2001-2004 Assessment of Carpathian Ecoregion, Central Europe, The Carpathian Ecoregion
2002-2008 Parks Canada and Ontario Parks Agreement: Research and Parks Research
Forum of Ontario.
MAJOR RECENT PUBLICATIONS
J.G. Nelson, R. Butler and G. Wall (eds.). 1999. Tourism and Sustainable Development:
Monitoring, Planning, Managing and Decision-Making—A Civics Approach, Second
Edition. Geography Publication Series No. 52, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
James Porter and J. Gordon Nelson with Dawn Bazely, Tom Beechey, John Marsh, Tom Nudds
and William Stephenson (eds.). 2002. Ecological Integrity and Protected Areas, 2001:
Proceedings of the Parks Research Forum of Ontario (PRFO) Annual General Meeting,
May 9 and 10, 2001, North York, Ontario. Waterloo: PRFO, 482 pp.
Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, Neil W.P. Munro, Gordon Nelson, J.H. Martin Willison, Tom B. Herman
and Paul Eagles (eds.). 2002. Managing Protected Areas in a Changing World:
Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Science and Management of
Protected Areas, 14-19 May 2000. Canada: SAMPAA, 1534 pp.
Christopher J. Lemieux, J. Gordon Nelson and Tom J. Beechey (eds.). 2003. Parks and
Protected Areas Research in Ontario, 2002: Proceedings of the Parks Research Forum of
Ontario (PRFO) Annual General Meeting, April 25-27, 2002, Ridgetown, Ontario.
Waterloo: PRFO, 400 pp.
J.G. Nelson, J.C. Day, Lucy M. Sportza (eds.) with James Loucky, and Carlos Vasquez. 2003.
Protected Areas and the Regional Planning Imperative in North America: Integrating
Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development. Calgary and East Lansing: University
of Calgary Press and Michigan State University Press, 446 pp.
Christopher J. Lemieux, J. Gordon Nelson, Tom J. Beechey, and Michael J. Troughton (eds.).
2004. Protected Areas and Watershed Management: Proceedings of the Parks Research
Forum of Ontario (PRFO) Annual General Meeting, May 8-10, 2003, University of
Western Ontario. Waterloo: PRFO, 558 pp.
J.G. Nelson. 2004. The Carpathians: Assessing an Ecoregional Planning Initiative. Waterloo:
Environments Publications, 103 pp.
J. Gordon Nelson, with Barbara Veale, Beth Dempster, and others. 2004. Towards a Grand
Sense of Place: Writings on the changing environments, land-uses, landscapes, lifestyles
and planning of a Canadian Heritage River. Waterloo: Environments Pub., 301 pp.
C.J Lemieux, J.M. Murphy, T.J. Beechey, and J.G. Nelson (eds.). 2005. Social Science in Parks
and Protected Areas: Proceedings of a Symposium held at the Algonquin Park Visitor
Centre, March 26 and 27, 2003. PRFO Occasional Paper No. 3. Algonquin Provincial Park
and Parks Research Forum of Ontario, University of Waterloo, ON, 74 pp.
C.K. Rehbein, J.G. Nelson, T.J. Beechey, and R.J. Payne, (eds.). 2005. Planning Northern Parks
and Protected Areas: Proceedings of the Parks Research Forum of Ontario (PRFO),
Annual General Meeting May 4-6, 2004, Lakehead University. Waterloo: PRFO, 325 pp.
J.G. Nelson and J. Peter (eds.). 2005. Building the Great Arc: An International Heritage Corridor
in the Great Lakes Region. Proceedings 2004: Heritage-based Recreation Along the
Great Arc. Waterloo: Environments Publication, 122 pp.
J.G. Nelson and the Research Team: Susan Fournier, Christopher Lemieux, Eric Tucs, Natalie
Korobaylo, Costas Farassoglou, and Lucy Spotza. 2005. The Great River: A Heritage
Landscape Guide to the Upper St. Lawrence Corridor. Waterloo: Environments
Publication, 128 pp.
J.G. Nelson, Tom Nudds, Meghan Beveridge, and Beth Dempster, with Leah Lefler, and
Elizabeth Zajc, (eds.). 2006. Protected Areas and Species and Ecosystems at Risk:
Research and Planning Challenges: Proceedings of the Parks Research Forum of Ontario
(PRFO), Annual General Meeting May 5-7, 2005, University of Guelph. Waterloo: PRFO,