Environment & Society Program Overview

The Environment and Society Program supports interdisciplinary research on the use of natural resources, including agricultural land, air, forests, minerals, parks, rangeland, and water. Research on resource use spans the globe. In recent years, members of the program have analyzed issues confronting the Western U.S., Brazil, east and south Africa, and south Asia. The research methodologies draw from the disciplines of anthropology, economics, geography, law, political science and sociology. Some members of the Environment and Society Program have a close relationship with other IBS Programs, especially the Population Program and the Program on Institutions. The research is grounded solidly in publications that reach academic audiences but much of the research has a large outreach component aimed at policymakers.

Current research in the Program reflects two main themes:

  • Understanding the use, management, and governance of natural resources
  • Using social science methods to understand how extreme environmental and human-caused events impact society, how societies adapt to environmental hazards, and how policy influences the impact of and response to extreme events (see the Natural Hazards Center)