David A. Sonnenfeld | Environmental Studies | SUNY-ESF
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

David A. SonnenfeldProfessor

David Sonnenfeld

214 Baker Lab
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210


Mailing address: Dept. of Environmental Studies, SUNY-ESF, 1 Forestry Dr., Syracuse, NY 13210
Messages:  +1 (315) 464-0084 (voice/ text)

Summer office hours, by appointment

Appointments & Affiliations


  • S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow, Environmental Policy, University of California at Berkeley, 1998-2000
  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1996
  • M.A., Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1991
  • B.A. (Honors College), Independent Scholar, with distinction, University of Oregon, 1973

Research Interests

  • Sociology of environment and natural resources
  • Comparative environmental policy and politics
  • Sustainable transitions
  • Transboundary water governance
  • East/ Southeast Asia; the Middle East; Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Field, historical, and mixed research methods


  • Taylor, Peter Leigh, and David A. Sonnenfeld, eds. 2018. Water Crises and Governance: Reinventing Collaborative Institutions in an Era of Uncertainty. London and New York: Routledge. [link
  • Lockie, Stewart, David A. Sonnenfeld, and Dana R. Fisher, eds. 2014. Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change. London and New York: Routledge. [link]
  • Oosterveer, Peter, and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2012. Food, Globalization and Sustainability. London and New York: Earthscan/ Routledge. [link]
  • Mol, Arthur P.J., David A. Sonnenfeld, and Gert Spaargaren, eds. 2009. The Ecological Modernisation Reader: Environmental Reform in Theory and Practice. London and New York: Routledge. [link]
  • Smith, Ted, David A. Sonnenfeld, and David N. Pellow, eds. 2006. Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. [link]
  • Mol, Arthur P.J., and David A. Sonnenfeld, eds. 2000. Ecological Modernisation around the World: Perspectives and Critical Debates. London and Portland, Oregon: Frank Cass/ Taylor & Francis. [link]


  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Peter Leigh Taylor, eds. 2018. Special Issue on "Society and Natural Resources in an Illiberal World," Society & Natural Resources 31 (5), May. [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Arthur P.J. Mol, eds. 2011. Symposium on "Social Theory and the Environment in the New World (dis)Order", Global Environmental Change, Vol. 21, No. 3 (August) [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., ed. 2008. Special Issue on "Globalisation and Environmental Governance," Global Environmental Change, Vol. 18, No. 3 (August) [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Stewart Lockie, eds. 2008. Special Issue on "Communities, Natural Resources, and Environments," Local Environment, Vol. 13, No. 5 (July) [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Arthur P.J. Mol, eds. 2006. Special Issue on "Environmental Reform in Asia," The Journal of Environment and Development, Vol. 15, No. 2 (June) [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Arthur P.J. Mol, eds. 2002. Special Issue on "Globalization, Governance, and the Environment," American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 45, No. 9 (May) [link]

Recent Articles & Chapters

  • *Gallup, Laura, David A. Sonnenfeld, and Farid Dahdouh-Guebas. 2020. "Mangrove Use and Management within the Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal," Ocean & Coastal Management 185 (March): 105001. [link]
  • Quigley, Dianne, *Alana Levine, David A. Sonnenfeld, Phil Brown, *Qing Tian, and Xiaofan Wei. 2019. "Survey on Using Ethical Principles in Environmental Field Research with Place-Based Communities," Science and Engineering Ethics 25 (2): 477-517. [link]
  • Zhang, Wei, Lei Zhang, Ying Li, *Yuling Tian, *Xiaoran Li, *Xue Zhang, Arthur P.J. Mol, David A. Sonnenfeld, Jianguo Liu, *Zeyu Ping, and Long Chen. 2018. "Neglected Environmental Health Impacts of China's Supply-side Structural Reform," Environment International 115 (June): 97-103. [link]
  • SonnenfeldDavid A., and Peter Leigh Taylor. 2018. "Liberalism, Illiberalism, and the Environment," Society & Natural Resources 31 (5): 515-524. [link]
  • Taylor, Peter Leigh, and David A. Sonnenfeld. 2017. "Water Crises and Institutions: Inventing and Reinventing Governance in an Era of Uncertainty," Society & Natural Resources 30 (4): 395-403. [link]
  • Sonnenfeld, David A., and Peter Leigh Taylor. 2017. "Scientific Publishing in the 21st Century: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Environmental Social Sciences," Society & Natural Resources 30 (1): 1-2. [link]
  • Quigley, Dianne, David A. Sonnenfeld, Phil Brown, Linda Silka, *Linlang He, and *Qing Tian. 2016. "Research Ethics Training on Place-based Communities and Cultural Groups," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6 (3): 479-489. [link]
  • *Montefrio, Marvin Joseph F., David A. Sonnenfeld, and Valerie A. Luzadis. 2015. "Social construction of the environment and smallholder farmers' participation in ‘low-carbon’, agro-industrial crop production contracts in the Philippines," Ecological Economics 116 (August): 70-77.
  • *Na, Hang Ryeol, Jack P. Manno, David A. Sonnenfeld, and Gordon M. Heisler. 2015. "Governance of Forests: Regional Institutions in East Asia." Pp. 303-320 in Routledge Handbook of Environment and Society in Asia, eds. Paul G. Harris and Graeme Lang. London: Routledge.

Current Teaching

  • EST 494, Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (1)
  • EST 470/ 670, Water in the Middle East: Issues and Opportunities (3) [flyer]
  • EST 690, International Environmental Policy Consultancy (now online! with Wageningen Univ. & Van Lang Univ.) (3-4) [flyer, article]
  • EST 797, Environmental Studies Seminar: Research Methods (1)

Recent Graduate Theses


  • Mokashi, Shruti, "Forest Gods and Forest Conservation: Evolving Perceptions and Relationships of Local Communities with their Sacred Forests in Western India," Environmental Science (Environmental and Community Land Planning), ESF, 2019
  • Oh, Young Min, "Boundary Interaction between Science and Politics: A Case Study on Multinational Cooperative Mechanisms for Transboundary Air Pollution in Northeast Asia," Environmental Science (Environmental and Community Land Planning), ESF, 2018 (chair)
  • Lee, Kyungsun, "Exploring Eco-Industrial Parks via a Technological Innovation Systems Lens: Sustainability Transitions in South Korea and Japan," Environmental Science (Environmental and Natural Resource Policy), ESF, 2018 (chair)
  • Ni, Xiaole, "Sense and Sensibility: Scientists and Environmental Advocacy in China," Environmental Science (Environmental and Natural Resource Policy), ESF, 2018 (chair)
  • Yang, Xiaoliang, "An International Partnership Approach to Clean Energy Technology Innovation: Carbon Capture and Storage," Environmental Science (Environmental and Natural Resource Policy), ESF, 2016 (chair)
  • Dai, Fan, "California-China Subnational Climate Cooperation," Natural Resources Management, ESF, 2015
  • Montefrio, Marvin Joseph F., "Growing Low-Carbon Commodities in Upland Philippines: Integration of Smallholders in Biofuels and Rubber Production Regimes," Environmental Science (Environmental and Natural Resource Policy), ESF, 2014 (chair)


  • Scott, Kelsey, "Gendered Division of Participation: The Role of Gender in Anti-Hydrofracking Advocacy," Environmental Studies, ESF, 2018
  • Coberly, Laura, "Mangrove Dependencies and Participation in Rehabilitation. A Case Study of the Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal," Environmental Science (Environmental Policy), ESF, 2014 (chair)
  • Artyushevskaya, Nargis, "The Role of Women in Sustainability of Donor-funded, Rural Drinking Water Supply Projects in Developing Countries. A Case Study of Tajikistan," Environmental Studies, ESF, 2014
  • Jiang, Chao, "The Emergence of Preventive Chemical Management as a Salient Environmental Policy Concern in China. A Case Study of the Textile Industry," Environmental Studies, ESF, 2014 (chair)

Professional Associations

Current Graduate Advisees

Current Graduate Advisees

Kaira FuentesKaira Fuentes

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld and Smardon
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Community Land Planning
  • Previous Graduate Study: University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras (Environmental and Social Planning)

Doctoral Research Topic
The Role of Community-based Organizations in Natural Disaster Recovery and Community Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean. A Case Study of Caño Martín Peña, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Areas of Competency
Collaborative planning; International environmental policy; Coastal zone management; Caribbean studies

News Item
Web Link


  • SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellow, 2019-20
  • Randolph G. Pack Graduate Fellow, Dept. of Environmental Studies, ESF, 2019
  • Judith A. Towle Environmental Studies Fund Award, Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, 2018
  • Tropical Social Forestry Scholarship, ESF, 2018
  • Excellence in Public Service Award, Graduate Students Association, ESF, 2018

Marie LoeffelholzMarie Loeffelholz

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld and Moran
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy

Danielle MinnickDanielle Minnick

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Water & Wetland Resource Studies

Personal Statement
I graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2016, with a BA in Global and International Studies, Conc. Environmental Science. Since then I have worked in a variety of construction-related fields, leading me to pursue environmental remediation techniques and policy reform, especially concerning groundwater and wastewater. I am a large proponent of the triple bottom line of the sustainability model, and adhere to Theile's suggestion that culture be a fourth aspect of the "People, Planet, Profit" dynamic.

Graduate Research Topics
Groundwater remediation and preservation techniques; wastewater treatment; public participation and policy making; and social perceptions of water

Favorite Quote
"You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will." -Stephen King

Moory Romero FernandezMoory Romero Fernandez

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Selfa and Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: ESC Environ & Natural Resources Policy
  • Previous Graduate Study: Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro (Environmental Geography)

Doctoral Research Topic
Water Scarcity and Intercultural Engagement in Times of Climate Change: A Political Ecology Approach to Plurinational Citizenship in the Bolivian Andes

Journal articles

  • Ryan SJ, Lippi CA, Carlson CJ, Stewart-Ibarra AM, Borbor-Cordova MJ, Romero MM, Cox S, Mahon R, Trotman A, Rollock L, Gittens-St. Hilaire M, King D, Daniel S. 2018. "Zika virus outbreak, Barbados, 2015 – 2016," American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 98(6): 1857.
  • Stewart-Ibarra AM, Hargrave A, Diaz A, Kenneson A, Madden D, Romero MM, Molina JP, Macias Salto D. 2017. "Psychological distress and Zika, dengue, and chikungunya symptoms following the 2016 earthquake in Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador," Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 14(12): 1516.
  • Ryan SJ, Carlson CJ, Stewart-Ibarra AM, Borbor-Cordova MJ, Romero MM, Cox S, Mahon R, Trotman A, St. Ville S, Ahmed S. 2017. "Zika virus outbreak, Dominica, 2016," Emerging Infectious Diseases 23(11): 1926.

Jongdae SongJongdae Song

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Collins and Sonnenfeld
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
  • Previous Graduate Study: Korea University (Public Administrationn)

Doctoral Research Topic
Heterogeneous Program Designs and the Effectiveness of Government-sponsored Voluntary Environmental Programs: Evidence from Manufacturing Industries in South Korea

Areas of Interest
Environmental policy and governance; Social norm formation and change; Pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR) information systems; Air pollution emissions trends and problems in South Korea

Journal articles

  • Song, Jong-dae & Kim, Doo-rae. 2016. "Corporate motivational types and the mediating effects of voluntary agreements: 30/50 program for chemical pollutant release reduction in Korea," Korean Public Administration Review 50(1): 109-137.
  • Kim, Doo-rae & Song, Jong-dae. 2014. "Mechanism of controls over bureaucracy in Asian countries: an empirical exploration for typology," Journal of Governmental Studies 20(2): 35-62.