Kathleen E. Halvorsen


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Professor of Natural Resource Policy

Joint Appointment in Social Sciences and School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

  • PhD, Forest Resource Management, University of Washington
  • MS, Environmental Science, State University of New York
  • BS, Political Economy of Natural Resources, University of California at Berkeley

Natural Resource Policy

I have a joint appointment with the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. As part of the Environmental and Energy Policy Graduate Program, I teach the Sociology of the Environment, which presents the societal dimensions of environmental concerns and natural resource management and Advanced Natural Resource Policy, which focuses on international forest policy comparisons. I will begin co-teaching a new, international course "Principles of Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research" in 2013 as part of our new research project "Sustainability, Ecosystem Services, and Bioenergy Development across the Americas."

I currently have two main research foci, both of which relate to mitigating climate change in an international context. One relates to the development of biofuels in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. This includes identification of impacts, barriers and opportunities related to this development. I view bioenergy as one important tool in our climate change mitigation toolbox. This work also links to public understandings of climate change causes and solutions.

I served on the 2010-11 National Academy of Science's Committee on the Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels and you can download our report as a free pdf here. I lead a group of thirty-three scientists from Brazil, the US, Mexico, and Argentina who recently received a five year National Science Foundation Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant to study the policy and socioecological dimensions of biofuel development across the Americas.

My other main research focus is aimed at understanding human relationships to water resources in the U.S. and Mexico. This work incorporates water quality and quantity in the face of a variety of climate change scenarios in the Great Lakes, USA and in the State of Sonora, Mexico. This includes participatory modeling, risk perceptions of water-borne disease and ecosystem services protection. Over the years, I have also studied public participation and organizational change within the USDA Forest Service. My research projects and supervision of graduate students are very interdisciplinary. I have the pleasure of working with a wide variety of social, natural, and applied (engineering) scientists across Europe, China, and North and South America.

On a more personal level, I love to spend time hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and training my dogs.

Recent Publications

  • Halvorsen, K.E., D.S. Becker, C. Hinrichs, and T.A. Selfa (eds). 2011. Special Issue Biomass and Bioenergy. 35(4).
  • Jensen*, J.E., K.E. Halvorsen, D.R. Shonnard. 2011. Cellulosic Ethanol, U.S. Federal Energy and Agricultural Policy, and the Diffusion of Innovation. Special Issue: Socioeconomic Dimensions of U.S. Bioenergy. Biomass and Bioenergy. 35(4)
  • Johnson, D., K.E. Halvorsen, B.D. Solomon. 2011. U.S. Upper Midwestern Consumers and Ethanol: Knowledge, Beliefs and Consumption. Special Issue: Socioeconomic Dimensions of U.S. Bioenergy. Biomass and Bioenergy. 35(4)
  • Becker, D.R., K. Skog, A. Hellman, K.E. Halvorsen, and T. Mace. 2009. An Outlook for Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Production in the Lake States. Energy Policy 37:5687–5693.
  • Halvorsen, K.E., J.R. Barnes*, and B.D. Solomon. 2009. Upper Midwestern USA Ethanol Potential from Cellulosic Materials. Society and Natural Resources 22(10)931-938.
  • Solomon, B. D., J.R. Barnes*, and K.E. Halvorsen. 2007. Grain and Cellulosic Ethanol: History, Economics, and Energy Policy. Biomass and Bioenergy. 31(6)216-25.

Recent Funding

  • OISE-PIRE: Sustainability, Ecosystem Services, and Bioenergy Development across the Americas (Lead Principal Investigator), Funded by NSF PIRE Program, 2012-2017, $4,841,735.
  • RCN-SEES: A Research Coordination Network on Pan American Biofuels and Bioenergy Sustainability (Co-PI), Funded by NSF RCN program, 2011-2015, $750,000.
  • NSF IDR: Sustainable Water Resources Scenarios for Rural Communities under Climate Change: Can State-of-the-Art Forecast Tools Provide Feasible Outcomes in Data Sparse Regions? (Co-PI), Funded by NSF IDR Program, 2010-2013, $317,000.
  • NSF Coupled Natural and Human Systems: Biocomplexity of Hydrological Services Payments and Watershed Sustainability in Mexico Budget Justification