Kathleen E. Halvorsen

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 Advanced Natural Resource Policy and Principles of Interdisciplinary Team Science which is an international class taught to MTU students and students at universities 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 about 100 scientists and students from Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina, and the United States with a five year National Science Foundation Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant to study the policy and socioecological dimensions of forest-related bioenergy development across the Americas.

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, spinning yarn, knitting, and spending time with my dogs.

Areas of Expertise

  • Woody bioenergy
  • Climate change
  • Natural resource policy
  • Biodiversity policy
  • Bioenergy policy

Recent Publications

  • Asbjornsen, Heidi, Alex S. Mayer, Kelly W. Jones, Theresa Selfa, Leonardo Saenz, Randall K. Kolka, Kathleen E. Halvorsen. 2015. Assessing the impacts of Payments for Watershed Services on Sustainability in Coupled Natural and Human Systems. Bioscience 65(6)579-91.
  • J.L. Knowlton, K.E. Halvorsen, R. M. Handler, M. O’Rourke. 2014. Teaching interdisciplinary science teamwork skills to graduate students using in-person and web-based interactions. Sustainability 6: 9428-9440.
  • Adams*, E.A. and K.E. Halvorsen. 2014. Perceptions of Nongovernmental Organization(NGO) Staff about Water Privatization in Developing Countries. Human Geographies – Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography 8(2).
  • Robles Morua*, A., K.E. Halvorsen, A.S. Mayer, and E.R. Vivoni. 2014. Can Hydrologic Models Change Water-related Risk Perceptions? Results of a Participatory Modeling Workshop in the Sonora River Basin, Mexico. Environmental Modeling and Software 52:273-282.
  • Norris, P., M. O’Rourke, A. Mayer, and K.E. Halvorsen. 2015. Doubling Down: Transdisciplinary Research Team Formation as a Wicked Problem. Invited Manuscript for Special Issue of Urban and Landscape Ecology on Wicked Problems. Accepted with minor revisions at Urban and Landscape Ecology.
  • NRC-NAS Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production (Lave, L.B. (chair), I.C. Burke (co-chair), W.E. Tyner (co-chair), V.H. Dale, K.E. Halvorsen, J.D. Hill, S.R. Kaffka, K.C. Klasing, S.J. McGovern, J.A. Miranowski, A. Patrinos, J.L. Schnoor, D.R. Schweikhardt, T.L. Selfa, B.L. Sohngen, and J.A. Soria). 2011. Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy. Natural Research Council of the National Academies.

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, 2010-2016, $317,000.
  • NSF Coupled Natural and Human Systems: Biocomplexity of Hydrological Services Payments and Watershed Sustainability in Mexico. $1,500,000 National Science Foundation Coupled Natural and Human Systems (NSF CNH). 2014-2019
  • Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) CRN3 Grant: Interdisicplinary Research Team Development and Bioenergy Impact Assessment. $200,000. 2014-2016

Teaching Experience

  • SS5340 Principles of Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research
  • SS/FW5111 Advanced Natural Resource Policy
  • FW3110 Natural Resource Policy
  • SS4390 Climate Change and Society
  • SS/FW3760 Human Dimensions of Natural Resources