e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Coupled Natural and Human Systems Area of Study for M.S., M.P.S. or Ph.D. in Environmental Science

Leader: Colin Beier

The Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNHS) area of study fosters interdisciplinary research and scholarship that explicitly integrates the social and biophysical dimensions of environmental issues using a systems approach.

Our research addresses the challenges of sustaining natural and social capital during the Anthropocene—the current era in which humans shape all major Earth system processes. Drawing on diverse backgrounds, CNHS students and faculty recognize humans as integral components of ecosystems and seek to understand their interactions and dynamics of change at multiple scales. Faculty mentors form collaborative and cross-disciplinary teams to advise CNHS students based on their wide range of expertise and experiences. An emphasis is placed on research and graduate training experience with applications to emerging sustainability issues in real-world settings.

  • a field crew carries litter baskets for installation in remote sites

    Leaf litterfall is an important flux of carbon, energy, and nutrients in forested ecosystems—a field crew carries litter baskets for installation in remote sites.

  • Craig See prepares N and P fertilizer for addition to experimental forest plots in New Hampshire

    Craig See, MS student, prepares N and P fertilizer for addition to experimental forest plots in New Hampshire.

  • Summer interns counts germinants in nutrient-amended plots at the Hubbard Brook and Bartlett Experimental Forests in New Hampshire

    Summer interns counts germinants in nutrient-amended plots at the Hubbard Brook and Bartlett Experimental Forests in New Hampshire.

CNHS Faculty

Name and Interests

Address / Email

Beier, Colin M.
forest ecosystem and landscape ecology, social-ecological systems, climate change, ecosystem services, landscape change modeling, resilience, adaptive management, resource governance, applied geoinformatics
311 Bray Hall
Collins, Mary B.
socio-environmental systems; environmental health inequality; environmental justice; environmental sociology; environmental risk perception; computational quantitative methods; Bayesian modeling; disproportionality; industrial pollution policy and health
113 Marshall Hall
Cousins, Joshua
urban political ecology, resource policy and governance, science and technology studies, urban sustainability, infrastructure, urban studies
219 Marshall Hall
Diemont, Stewart
systems ecology, ecological engineering, traditional ecological knowledge, Latin America, ecosystem restoration, sustainability analysis, natural wastewater treatment systems and re-use, less-developed countries, agroecology
460 Illick Hall
Dölle, Klaus
pulp & paper and related environmental topics, design, constructed wetlands,subsurface bioreactors, fossil energy, bioenergy, hydropower, water and waste water treatment, paper recycling, paper development, filler materials, energy savings, renewable energy & processes, engineering, machine & process design.
421 Walters Hall
Endreny, Theodore A.
water resources engineering, ecological engineering, stream restoration, urban watersheds, lesser-developed countries
426 Baker Laboratory
Gibbs, James
herpetology, vertebrate conservation biology, genetics and ecology in birds, reptiles and amphibians, songbirds, giant tortoise, statistics, wildlife population monitoring, galapagos islands, conservation biology, ecological monitoring, population genetics, applied demography, undergraduate conservation education
404 Illick Hall
Horton, Thomas R.
mycorrhizal plant ecology, molecular ecology, ecology, fungal communities, mycology, fire ecology
350 Illick Hall
Hussein, Rafaat M.
Risk and vulnerability assessment, analysis and management, hazardous wastes management and transport, expert & knowledge-based systems, computer simulations & database, construction, occupational, and environmental management, safety and auditing, human health
216 Baker Laboratory
Kroll, Charles N.
stochastic and deterministic hydrology, environmental modeling, water resource systems engineering, ecological engineering, urban forestry, drought assessment, environmental systems engineering, stochastic and deterministic modeling, risk assessment, coupled human and natural systems
424 Baker Laboratory
Leydet, Brian F.
Vector-borne disease ecology and human disease risk, vector biology, tick ecology, Lyme and other tick-borne diseases
Illick Hall
Limburg, Karin E.
riverine fish and estuarine ecology, fisheries ecology, watershed ecology, systems ecology, ecological economics, fisheries and ecosystem science, coupled human-natural systems, biogeochemistry, fisheries ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemical tracers, modeling
249 Illick Hall
Luzadis, Valerie A.
ecological economics, ecosystem services, policy, social and recreational dimensions, forest management for renewable energy, watershed management, natural resources policy and values, sustainable development, renewable energy, participatory decision-making
214 Marshall Hall
Mao, Huiting
environmental chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, air quality, regional to global budgets of trace gases, long range transport, continental export, climate change
121 Jahn Laboratory
Moran, Sharon D.
environmental policy, human dimensions of water/wastewater issues, political ecology, environment-society relations, green and innovative technologies, environmental issues in post-communist countries, qualitative research methods, gender and nature, sustainability indicators, emergent technologies, environmental justice, ethical frameworks in public policy
220 Marshall Hall
Newman, Lee
phytoremediation, molecular and cellular biology, horticultural therapy, food and health
248 Illick Hall
Nomura, Christopher T.
biochemistry, polymer chemistry, biopolymer chemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, microbial physiology, biodegradable plastics, transcriptomics
200 Bray Hall
Feldpausch-Parker, Andrea M.
environmental, science and technology communication; wildlife conservation; climate change discourse and decision-making; environmental advocacy; environmental and natural resources conflict management; qualitative, critical and program evaluation methods; public participation; energy discourse and decision-making
108A Marshall Hall
Parry, Dylan
Biological invasion, climate change, and conservation, primarily in the context of insects in forested ecosystems.
109 Illick Hall
Quackenbush, Lindi J.
geospatial information systems, spatial measurements, remote sensing and image processing, particularly focused on spatial techniques for both urban and forest classification, spatial analysis
404 Baker Laboratory
Schulz, Kimberly L.
nutrient and exotic species effects on aquatic ecosystems, ecological stoichiometry, aquatic community and ecosystem ecology, bioenergetics, nutrient cycling, lower food web studies, great lakes, finger lakes, plankton, limnology, aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, invasive species
456 Illick Hall
Selfa, Theresa
environmental sociology, sociology of food and agriculture, environmental governance, qualitative and mixed methods, social impacts of land use change, bioenergy, water policy and politics, social dimensions of payments for ecosystems services
211C Marshall Hall
Shaw, Stephen B.
hydroclimatology, water resources engineering, ecohydrology in a changing climate, water resources, climate change, hydrology, systems modeling, stormwater management
418 Baker Laboratory
Stella, John C.
riparian and stream ecology, restoration ecology, watershed management, ecological modeling, tree-ring science, river restoration, arid-land and Mediterranean ecosystems
344 Illick Hall
Vidon, Philippe G.
Geography/Environmental Science, Surface and Subsurface Hydrology, Water Quality, Riparian Zone/Watershed Biogeochemistry and Hydrology, Agriculture, Best Management Practices, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Mercury, Carbon Cycling, Greenhouse Gases (N2O, CO2, CH4).
309 Bray Hall
Vidon, Elizabeth S.
environmental ethics and values; environmental thought and ontologies; tourism geographies/nature tourism; socio-cultural sustainability and land-use; political ecology; wilderness and environmental perception; Native American and indigenous peoples' environmental issues
108B Marshall Hall
Volk, Timothy A.
silviculture, forest management for renewable energy, biomass and bioenergy, energy, agroforestry, phytoremediation, management and sustainability of short rotation woody crops, life cycle analysis, ecophysiology, international forestry
346 Illick Hall
Yanai, Ruth D.
forest ecology, watershed ecology, soils, biogeochemistry, forest health, ecological modeling, watershed management, ecosystem nutrient cycling, uncertainty
210 Marshall Hall

Graduate Students in Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Current Students Only currently registered students appear — new names appear at start of academic year

Lindsey Ayers

Lindsey Ayers

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Vidon

Justin Beslity

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Shaw

Jack Donaton

Jack Donaton

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Parker
Undergraduate Institution: Fordham University (Environmental Science)

Academic Research - BIODEGRADABLE MUNICIPAL WASTE MANAGEMENT IN THE U.S. (2018) - https://scalar.ace.fordham.edu/green-waste/users/390

Personal Statement
Well it seems obvious to say, humans are closely tied to environmental issues. We are not only often the cause behind these issues. but increasingly the ones affected the loss of ecosystems and natural resources. My name is Blue (Jack) Donaton and I am working as a Masters student at ESF to better understand the interaction between people's value systems and their decision towards environmental actions. After my studies here I hope to work for an advocacy group, such as Environment New York, making environmental action appealing to traditionally anti-environmental political and economic entities.

Katherine Fee

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Moran
Undergraduate Institution: Washington State Univ

Adam Fix

Adam Fix

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Diemont
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY Center Buffalo

Previous Graduate Study: Canisius College

Personal Statement
Adam's research uses qualitative methods to inform an urgent question in environmental policy conversations—how might we work across cultures to build sustainable more-than-human communities? Adam's dissertation project examines the beliefs and strategies of self-proclaimed “allies” of Indigenous-led environmental protection movements in New York and Chiapas (Mexico). Since 2014, he has worked as an adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Areas of Competency
Environmental Social Movements; Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK); Indigenous Studies; Oral History & Ethnography.

Madison Morley

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Beier

Lucia Perez Volkow

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Diemont

Alexandre Poisson

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Luzadis

Braulio Quintero

Braulio Quintero

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Hall
Undergraduate Institution: University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (Biology)

Previous Graduate Study: University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (Biology )

Personal Statement
My research interest are focused in biophysical economics, econometric modeling, and data analysis. I currently work for a NGO in Puerto Rico that focuses on Social-Ecological Systems research.

Graduate Research Topic
Coupled Human and Natural Systems

Home Page
Web Link

Annabel Roberts-McMichael

Annabel Roberts-McMichael

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Diemont
Undergraduate Institution: Cooper Union

Leanne Schad

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Collins

Kayla Smith

Kayla Smith

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Limburg and Parker

Audrey White

Audrey White

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Vidon
Undergraduate Institution: Kenyon College (Biology)

Personal Statement
Audrey grew up in Brooklyn, NY and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College in 2014 with a major in Biology and a minor in Anthropology. Her current research focuses on motivations behind common pool resource (CPR) sharing, and how pro-environmental CPR sanctioning may be connected to both sense of place and environmentality. Other areas of interest include political ecology, language and perception of nature, the relationship between social inequity and environmental degradation, and environmental ethics with a focus on indigenous perspectives. Audrey aims to study how identity is connected to land in different cultures, and ultimately, how our own culture can cultivate a stronger relationship and sense of responsibility toward nature in order to combat inaction in the face of climate change.

Adam Wild

Adam Wild

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Yanai
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY Cobleskill

Personal Statement
My interest span across multiple aspects of forest ecosystems and factors that influence plant productivity.

Graduate Research Topic
I am currently studying the health and productivity of sugar maples based on available soil nutrients in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. My research project is striving to determine what nutrients influence the sugar concentration of maple sap and whether maple sap sweetness can be increased by application of calcium, nitrogen, or phosphorus fertilizer in a forest stand.

Favorite Quote
"In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet." -Albert Schweitzer

Yang Yang

Yang Yang

Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Yanai
Undergraduate Institution: Minzu University of China (Environmental Science)

Previous Graduate Study: SUNY-ESF (Forest and natural r)

Personal Statement
I'm interested in forest-based environmental issues that raised currently. I'm more focused on nutrient cycling and mercury pollution in forests.

Graduate Research Topic
My current project is quantifying total mercury in different tree components at four sites (Huntington Forest, NY; Sleepers River, VT; Hubbard Brook, NH; Bear Brook, ME). I am also analyzing mercury by tree rings and doing data analysis of loon Hg.

Home Page
Web Link