Photo of Joel Hartter
Director for Masters of the Environment • Associate Professor

Office: SEEC S106B

Affiliated Departments

Environmental Studies

Research Interests

Joel’s international work focuses on the Albertine Rift, a biodiversity hotspot in Africa that is threatened by the growing human population. Since 2003, he has been working primarily in Uganda. He co-leads the Population, Environment, and Climate in the Albertine Rift (PECAR) project that involves collaborators across multiple disciplines – ecologists, climatologists, soil scientists, and archaeologist just to name a few – to examine the impacts of high population density and intensive agriculture on the environment. Together with his team, he is also examining the feedbacks of these livelihoods to the climate system and the impacts on protected areas and biodiversity.

Joel received his BS (German) and BSE (Mechanical Engineering) from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, his MS (Forestry) from Oregon State University, and his PhD (Geography) from the University of Florida. He was a US Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow from 2004 to 2007.

A Note for Prospective Graduate Students
I’m eager to work with hard-working, excellent students. If you are considering applying to the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado and would like to work with me on one of my ongoing projects in Africa or the US West or something completely new, please send me an email with these attachments:

  1. C.V. or resume
  2. Transcript (unofficial is fine, but just make sure to include your major, GPA, and department)
  3. A statement describing your research interests
  4. A description of why you’d like to enroll in the Environmental Studies program, your skills, and how you see yourself fitting in with my research group
  5. If relevant, any publications (peer reviewed literature, agency reports that you authored, poster PDFs, conference proceedings, e.g., please include copies or links to hosted locations).

I prefer to discuss research interests with potential graduate students in person, by telephone or Skype before making decisions. Please contact me as soon as you decide that you would like to apply.


Ph.D. 2007 University of Florida


Joel joined the ENVS faculty in spring 2014. Prior to then, he was the Roland E. O’Neil Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and affiliate faculty in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of New Hampshire. His research broadly focuses on the social and ecological impacts of landscape change and the implications for sustainable livelihoods. Joel’s work couples the use of geospatial technologies, forestry, and social science. He works in interdisciplinary teams that involve colleagues and stakeholders from a variety of fields, institutions, countries, and backgrounds. His US-based research focuses primarily on regions of the American West that have historically been dominated by forest products industries. These working landscapes are now faced with the challenges of changing communities, amenity growth, and altered ecosystems. Currently, Joel is the lead investigator of the Communities and Forests in Oregon (CAFOR) project that is examining the social and ecological change in the working landscapes of eastern Oregon.