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Richard Stedman


Professor and Department Chair

111B Fernow Hall
(607) 255-9729

As a faculty member in resource policy and management, Richard Stedman’s teaching, outreach, and research focus on the interaction between social and ecological systems. His training is in sociology, and he uses the theories and methodologies of this discipline as a lens for examining a broad array of human/environment conflicts. He is particularly interested in the challenges that rapid social and ecological changes pose for the sustainability of forested ecosystems, watersheds, and human communities.

Research Focus

His current research activity examine (i) the sustainability of resource-dependent communities, especially as they transition to natural resource-based tourism development; (ii) environmental risk perception and management at the community level; (iii) causes and consequences of land-use change along a gradient from very rural to very urban systems, with an emphasis on the urban-rural fringe; (iv) natural resource-based decision making among private (agricultural and forest) landowners; and (v) socio-ecological factors that underlie attachment to place and foster subsequent environmental behavior.

Outreach and Extension Focus

Stedman’s extension and outreach program has been focused on understanding community and landscape transitions associated with rapid energy development. As part of the Marcellus Shale Outreach Team, he received the 2011 Cornell University David J. Allee and Paul R. Eberts Community and Economic Vitality (CEV) Award. His current energy outreach program is increasingly focused on large scale renewable resources, particularly wind and solar installations.

Teaching Focus

His teaching, both at the graduate and undergraduate level, operates at the boundary between social and ecological systems. He currently teaches two undergraduate courses: an introductory course, required for the ESS major, that that exposes students to social science perspectives on environmental problems, and trains them for later in-depth analysis. He also teaches an upper level undergraduate/graduate class on the human dimensions of coupled systems, intended for seniors who have had training in both ecology and social science. He also offers a graduate seminar “Community, Place, and Environment”, co-taught with David Brown in the department of Development Sociology.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications