Pete standing in front of autumn trees
Assistant Professor

Office: SEEC S106E

Affiliated Departments

Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR)
Environment and Society Program, Institute of Behavioral Science
Research Fellow, Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force

Research Interests

Dr Peter Newton is an interdisciplinary scientist. His research aims to improve our understanding of how governance interventions affect synergies and trade-offs between environmental, economic, and social outcomes in socio-environmental systems. He works principally in agricultural and tropical forest landscapes, studying the potential and actual impact of policies and programs that aim to conserve forests and improve rural livelihoods. He works largely in Brazil, but has also been involved with projects and partners elsewhere in the tropics and in the US.

Dr Newton teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on food systems and the environment.


Ph.D. Environmental Sciences – University of East Anglia, UK
M.Sc. Applied Ecology and Conservation – University of East Anglia, UK
B.A. Zoology – University of Cambridge, UK


Dr. Peter Newton has been working in and around tropical forests since 2001. He works at the intersection of natural and social sciences, with an interest in understanding how policies and programs can affect forest conservation, land use, and the sustainable development of rural livelihoods. Much of his research relates to sustainable food systems: including how people rely on forests for food and fuel, and how – in many places – agriculture drives deforestation and environmental change.

Dr Newton’s research has taken him to Brazil, Indonesia, Mozambique, Uganda, and Vietnam. He also lived for several years in Botswana, working in the safari industry.

Dr Newton has published his research in environment, development, agriculture, and interdisciplinary academic journals. He also engages with the non-academic community: for example, he has given a talk at TEDx Boulder, and has provided testimony to the Colorado House Select Committee on Climate Responsibility.

A Note to Prospective Graduate Students

I am always interested in working with talented, motivated, and hard-working undergraduate and graduate students.

If you are considering applying to the ENVS Ph.D. program and are interested in working with me, please send me an email with

  • CV or resume,
  • 1-2 page statement of interest, which indicates: why you want to pursue a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies; why my research group would be a good fit; the sorts of research questions and topics you are interested in working on; and relevant experience,
  • Copies of any publications (e.g. papers, posters, reports) you have authored or co-authored.

Please note that since most of the research I am involved in involves fieldwork outside of the U.S., I do not usually admit a) M.S. students, or b) Ph.D. students who do not have some post-graduate experience working internationally.

If you are an undergraduate student already in the ENVS program and you are interested in working with me on an honors thesis research project, please send me an email with a) a CV or resume, and b) a brief (half-page) outline of your honors thesis research idea.