University of Colorado at Boulder

Dept Theme

Environment-Society Relations

Human dimensions of environmental change; natural resources; conservation behavior

From its earliest development as an academic field, geography has been concerned with the manifold relations between societies and their natural and built environments. Societies adapt and transform the environments they inhabit. They depend upon the use of resources and reduction of hazards for their survival and material well-being. They also assign meanings to the environment that vary over place and time, but that help define their identity and values within the world. Geographers tend to study these phenomena under the broad headings of resource use, natural hazards, sustainable development, landscape studies, cultural ecology, and environmental conservation. The University of Colorado has special strength in land and water resource issues in the American West, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Students concentrating on environment-society relations are advised to take the introductory courses in human and physical geography and then, depending upon their academic interests and aims, to concentrate on specific topics and regions in the environment- society area.

Faculty teaching and/or performing research in Environment-Society Relations

environmental governance, cultural politics, science-policy interactions, political economy Adjunct
Political Ecology;  Science and Technology Studies;  indigenous knowledge;  Nature-Society Relations
Disturbance ecology; climate change; landscape modeling Adjunct
Natural hazards, risk, climate change, decision-making
Van Haveren
Natural Resources & Public Lands Policy; Wildlands Ecology and Conservation; Watershed Hydrology Adjunct
Nature/society geography; political ecology; cultural politics; development; Tibet; China

Graduate Students in Environment-Society Relations

15 students total. TIP: To sort by more than one column, hold down the shift key while clicking an additional column header.

Name Degree     Specialties
Auger, Mason Ph.D. Native American Culture; Symbolic Land Use
Clifford, Katherine Ph.D. American West; decision making and uncertainty; climate change; land and water resources
Frydenlund, Shae M.A. political ecology; nature-society in Tibet/Nepal
Gladfelter, Sierra M.A. Conservation and development
Harkavy, Melissa M.A. climate change adaptation; natural resources; utilization; gender
Longenecker, H.E. Ph.D. Climatology; Climate Change; Hazard/Risk Vulnerability
Lovell, Eric Ph.D. Political Ecology; (Non)Human Mobilities; GIScience; Critical Conservation Studies
McCurdy, Adam M.A. Climate change adaptation
Naficy, Cameron Ph.D. Disturbance ecology; tree ecophysiology; climate variability; restoration; remote sensing
Petchprayoon, Pakorn Ph.D. Remote Sensing & Surface Energy Balance
Reiff, Eric Ph.D. Urban backyard farming as a subversive performance, Social Construction of Nature, STS, Pol Ecology
Rosati, Antonia Ph.D. climate; natural hazards
Skog, Lindsay Ph.D. Environmental conservation, critical development, indigenous politics, and difference
Smith, Samuel Ph.D. Historic/Urban Geog-links between historic mining settlements & current tourist areas
Wharton, Elizabeth Ph.D. China's development role in the Horn of Africa

News and Events related to Environment-Society Relations

Selected Publications by Faculty and Graduate Students associated with Environment-Society Relations


 Maxwell Boykoff

 Mara Goldman

Goldman, M. J. and J. S. Little. (2015). Innovative Grassroots NGOS and the Complex Processes of Women’s Empowerment: An empirical investigation from Northern Tanzania. World Development 66 (2015):762-777.

Goldman, M., J. R. Dephinho, and J. Perry. (2013). Beyond Ritual and Economics: Maasai Lion Hunting and Conservation Politics. Oryx. Published online: 14 May 2013: 1-11. doi:10.1017/S0030605312000907

Goldman, M., and Riosmena, F. (2013). Adaptive Capacity and Vulnerability to Drought in Tanzanian Maasailand: Changing strategies to navigate across fragmented landscapes. Global Environmental Change 23 (2013) 588–597.

Goldman, M.J., P. Nadasdy, and M.D. Turner, eds. (2011). Knowing Nature: Conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. Chicago: University of Chicago University Press .

Goldman, M. (2009). Constructing Connectivity? Conservation corridors and conservation politics in East African rangelands. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 99 (2):335-359 .

 Tania Schoennagel

 Emily Yeh

Yeh, Emily T. and Chris Coggins, editors. (2014). Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landcapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands. University of Washington Press. .

Yeh, Emily T. (2013). Blazing pelts and burning passions: Nationalism, cultural politics and spectacular decommodification in Tibet. Journal of Asian Studies. 72(2): 319-334. .

Yeh, Emily T. (2013). Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development. Cornell University Press.

Yeh, Emily T. and Kunga T. Lama. (2013). Following the caterpillar fungus: Nature,commodity chains and the place of Tibet in China's uneven geographies. Social & Cultural Geography 14(3):318-340.

Yeh, Emily T. (2012). Transnational environmentalism and entanglements of sovereignty: The tiger campaign across the Himalayas. Political Geography 31:418-428 .

Grad Students