Dr. Nathaniel K. Newlands

Image Nathaniel K. Newlands
Research Scientist
  • Conducts original research to develop or refine ecosystem-level models that describe the long-term influence of agroecosystem management on environmental health, initially focusing on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, and atmospheric contaminants.
  • Supervises, trains, and evaluates staff in an Ecosystem Modelling research project.
  • Represents department on national and international committees, as an expert on Environmental Health.
  • Based on scientific literature, emerging policy issues and scientific opportunity, writes and submits innovative, original research proposals.
  • Communicates findings, pertaining to issues of Environmental Health, to scientists, policy-makers, and members of the general public, via oral presentations, scientific manuscripts, media reports, or other avenues.
  • Conducts critical reviews of scientific manuscripts, research proposals, and other scientific documents, and conveys recommendations.
  • Develops methods for compiling, weighing and integrating site-specific research data, from across Canada and elsewhere, into improved ecosystem models.
  • Interacts with researchers and policy-makers in national programs and other scientific networks to build models relevant to national and international environmental issues.
  • Using models, determine the potential effectiveness of proposed farming practices on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon and nitrogen flows, and other measures of environmental health at farm, regional and national scales.
  • Using models, examines the potential feedbacks of global changes on processes in agroecosystems, particularly those affecting Environmental Health.
  • In cooperation with colleagues, devices and implements methods of testing the reliability of ecosystem models and quantifying the uncertainty of their projections.

Current research and/or projects

2021-         Lead (Canada), Global Expert Working Group in Agricultural Nature-based Solutions (NBS), with Land and Water, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO)

2019-2022 Co-lead (AAFC), Climate-smart agriculture: Big-data analysis to investigate what management practices work (Alberta Innovates) 

2017-2021 Co-lead, Sustainability of Northern Grape Production (Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AAFC)

2021-2024 Collaborator, International Collaborative Earth Observation (EO) Hub (Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AAFC)

2021-2024 Collaborator, A Biovigilance Approach to Pest Management (Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AAFC)

2022-2025 Collaborator, Ag-imaging for the Americas: Building Space-Based Awareness of Agroecosystems

Research and/or project statements

Precision agricultural technologies, remote sensing tools and predictive analytics for reducing agricultural losses and improved resilience and sustainability

Development and validation of artificial intelligence (AI)/machine/deep learning/big data methodologies in digital agriculture

New approaches for predicting crop development, yield and yield loss for making optimal crop management decisions

Designing, developing, and deploying crop disease prediction models to reduce future yield loss and risk to global food security under climate change

Nature-based solutions (NBS) to urban water-food-climate pressures

Development of new approaches to support the sustainable intensification of agriculture and resilience to environmental variability

Mathematical and statistical approaches for solving agroecosystem modeling problems

Professional activities / interests

  • Food-water-energy nexus, Sustainability
  • Climate change, Extreme events
  • Integrated modeling, Risk analysis
  • Decision analytics, Operational decision-support tools
  • Machine-Learning, Spatial prediction
  • Precision agriculture

Education and awards

2016. Recipient of the Government of Canada’s Public Service National Award of Excellence in Innovation (STC/AAFC Field Crops Remote-Sensing Team)

Post-doctoral fellow 2002-2004 in Applied Mathematics, Pacific Institute of the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) and Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Ph.D. 1999-2002 Resource Management & Environmental Studies, Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

M.Sc. 1997-1999 Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary, Alberta

B.Sc.(Honours) 1995-1997  Physics and Astronomy, University of Guelph, Ontario


International experience and/or work

  • Current, Lead (Canada) on Global Expert Working Group in Nature-based Solutions through Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO)
  • Current, Vice-Chair International Relations in Statistics, American Statistical Association (ASA) and Member of the American Statistical Association (ASA)
  • Current, Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF) Fostering Systems Thinking (FST) Working Group, GRAF Secretariat, Global Risk Analysis and Reporting Unit, Support and Monitoring of Sendai Framework Implementation
  • Current, Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group, Subgroup 2 UNDRR Sendai Framework Monitoring and Global Assessments to GEO (Group on Earth Observations)
  • 2018. Commonwealth Organisation for Co-operation and Development (OECD) Collaborative Research Fellowship (CRP) Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agriculture Systems under Theme 3: Transformational Technologies and Innovation. Visiting Canadian Scientist with Host Institution: The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is a federal research branch of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, located in Canberra, Australia. 
  • 2017. Deakin University’s Collaborative International Research Scholar/Researcher in Residence (Victoria, Australia)

Key publications

  1. Newlands, N.K. 2023. Exploring the design and development of an early-warning forecasting system for enhanced biovigilance to crop diseases in Canada. Proceedings of the Annual Symposium “Wicked Weather, Wicked Pests” of the Professional Pest Management Association of British Columbia (PPMABC), Feb 21, 2023. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langley, BC.

    2023 - View publication details

  2. Interim Report to Alberta Innovates (Project Year 3). Ramankutty, N., Newlands, N.K., Noack, F.,Smukler, S., Beres, B. 2021. Project 2019F163R: Climate-smart agriculture: Big-data analysis to investigate what management practices work. Reporting period (2021/02/01) to (2022/01/31).University of British Columbia (UBC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

    2022 - View publication details

  3. Interim Report to Alberta Innovates (Project Year 2). Ramunkutty, N., Newlands, N.K., Noack, F., Smukler, S., Beres, B. 2021. Project 2019F163R: Climate-smart agriculture: Big-data analysis to investigate what management practices work. Reporting period (2020/02/01) to (2021/01/31). University of British Columbia (UBC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

    2021 - View publication details

  4. Mitchell, M.G.E., Chan, K.M.A., Newlands, N.K., Ramankutty, N. (2020). Spatial Correlations Don't Predict Changes in Agricultural Ecosystem Services: A Canada-Wide Case Study. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, [online] 4 http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.539892

    2020 - View publication details

  5. Lu, W., Newlands, N.K., Carisse, O., Atkinson, D.E., Cannon, A.J. (2020). Disease risk forecasting with Bayesian learning networks: Application to grape powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) in vineyards. Agronomy, [online] 10(5), http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050622

    2020 - View publication details

  6. Lu, W., Atkinson, D.E., Newlands, N.K. (2017). ENSO climate risk: predicting crop yield variability and coherence using cluster-based PCA. Modeling Earth Systems and Environment, [online] 3(4), 1343-1359. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40808-017-0382-0

    2017 - View publication details

  7. Newlands, N.K., Gel, Y.R., Lyubchich, V., Lu, W. 2017. Weather index-based crop insurance: Exploring the benefits of Bayesian and Deep Learning models in crop yield prediction. 52nd Actuarial Research Conference (ARC 2017) Risk Management and Insurance, July 26-28: Theme: Actuarial Research at the Crossroads: Transcending Disciplines, Georgia State University (J. Mack Robinson School of Business), Atlantic, GA, USA.

    2017 - View publication details

  8. Sulik, J.J., Newlands, N.K., Long, D.S. (2017). Encoding dependence in Bayesian causal networks. Frontiers in Environmental Science, [online] 4(JAN), http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2016.00084

    2017 - View publication details

  9. Smith, S., Bulmer, C., Newlands, N.K., Daneshfar, B., Frank, G., MacMillan, B., and Lelyk, G.L. (2016). "Digital soil mapping through disaggregation: aggravation or alleviation?", Canadian Society of Soil Science Annual Meeting, Kamloops, BC, Canada, 18 May, 2016, Presentation. (Abstract)

    2016 - View publication details

  10. Newlands, N.K. (2016). "Sustainability and Prediction.", Agricultural Resilience Workshop, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 6-7 June, 2016. (Presentation)

    2016 - View publication details

  11. Chipanshi, A.C., Zhang, Y., Qi, D., and Newlands, N.K. (2016). "Crop yield outlooks under extreme weather: lessons learnt from Canada.", - 40th NOAA Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop Special Issue (March) NWS Science and Technology Infusion Climate Bulletin Supplement, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC, USA, pp. 154-158.

    2016 - View publication details

  12. Newlands, N.K. (2016). "Can artificial intelligence and machine learning improve extreme weather agricultural risk assessment?", Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) and Canadian Geophysical Union Joint 50th Annual Congress, Fredericton, N.B., Canada, 29 May-2 June, 2016. (Abstract)

    2016 - View publication details

  13. Gagnon, P., Sheedy, C., Farenhorst, A., Cessna, A.J., Newlands, N.K., and McQueen, R.D.A. (2016). "Pesticides.", in Clearwater, R.L., Martin, T. and Hoppe, T. (eds.) - Environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture: Agri-environmental indicator report series -- Report #4, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Chapter 14, pp. 153-165.

    2016 - View publication details

  14. Newlands, N.K. (2016). Future Sustainable Ecosystems: Complexity, Risk, Uncertainty -- (Chapman & Hall/CRC Applied Environmental Statistics Series), USA: Taylor & Francis. (Book)

    2016 - View publication details

  15. Newlands, N.K. Developing an Index-Based Methodology to Forecast the Integrated Risk of Extreme Weather to Agricultural Production Systems. Section on Risk Analysis, Invited Session on Statistical Modeling for Climate Risk Assessment at the Interface of Climate Change and Insurance -Invited Papers, Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) , July 30-August 4th, 2016, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

    2016 - View publication details

  16. Newlands, N.K. Keynote Address/Invited Plenary. Statistics in the Cognitive/Risk Era: Bridging Knowledge, Solutions and Pathways to a Sustainable World. 26th Annual Conference of The International Environmetrics Society 18th-22nd July, 2016, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

    2016 - View publication details

  17. Gagnon, P., Sheedy, C., Farenhorst, A., Cessna, A.J., Newlands, N.K., and McQueen, R.D.A. (2015). "Environmental Sustainability of Canadian Agriculture: Agri-Environmental Indicator Report Series.", - Indicator of Risk of Water Contamination – Pesticides (IROWC-PEST), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, pp. 8 pages.

    2015 - View publication details

  18. Newlands, N.K. and Stephens, D.S. (2015). Increasing confidence in agricultural crop forecasts and climate adaptation decisions with causality analysis. University of British Columbia (UBC), Technical Report #275, 10pp. (http://www.stat.ubc.ca/Research/TechReports/tr/275.pdf). (Report)

    2015 - View publication details

  19. Newlands, N.K. et al. (2015). The Canadian Crop Yield Forecaster (CCYF). April 7th, Statement for Public Release (English/French). Government of Canada (Public Affairs, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, AAFC), Canada: Government of Canada/Gouvernement du Canada. (Book)

    2015 - View publication details

  20. Newlands, N.K., Lu, W., and Porcelli, T.A. (2015). "Downscaling of regional climate scenarios within agricultural areas in Canada with a multi-variate, multi-site model (http://www.springer.com/mathematics/computational+science+%26+engineering/book/978-3-319-12306-6).", in Cojocaru, M., Kotsireas, I.S., Makarov, R.N., Melnik, R., and Shodiev, H. (eds.) - Interdisciplinary Topics in Applied Mathematics, Modeling and Computational Science; Springer-Verlag. Series: Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics, Vol. 117, Springer-Verlag GmbH, Chapter 48, pp. 335-340.

    2015 - View publication details


250 486 3164

Research facility

4200 Highway #97
Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0


  • Professor (Adjunct) in Geography, University of Victoria
  • Editorial Board Member - Anthropocene Journal (Springer)
  • Editorial Board Member - International Journal of Ecology (IJE)
  • Editorial Board Member - Frontiers in Environmental Science (Interdisciplinary Climate Studies)
  • Theme Lead (Canada) (Integrating Digital Technologies and Big Data in the Redesign of Food Systems), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Precision Food Systems WG, International Bioeconomy Forum (IBF)
  • Canadian National Statistical Institute (CANSII)’s Data Science Committee
  • The International Environmetrics Society (TIES) - North American Regional Officer (2021-2025) and Member of The International Environmetrics Society (TIES)
  • Official representative of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) in the workplace representing all members within BC/Yukon Region and Summerland Research and Development Centre jurisdictions
  • Executive Member of RE (Scientific Research) Group for PIPSC
  • National Member of PIPSC Union-Management Management Committee (UMCC) with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • International Bridge Collaborative – a major international sustainability initiative led by The Nature Conservancy, PATH, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR), and Duke University
  • British Columbia’s Climate Adaptation Research Network (ACARN)’s Climate and Weather Working Group