Brian Petersen

Photo of Brian Petersen
Brian Petersen
Assistant Professor of Environmental and Sustainability Studies
(269) 387-2737
(269) 387-2272
3934 Wood Hall, Mail Stop 5419
Mailing address: 
Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5419
  • Ph.D., Environmental Studies, University of California Santa Cruz, 2010
  • M.S., Forest Resources, University of Washington, 2003
  • M.P.A., University of Washington, 2003
  • B.S., Environmental Science, University of Idaho, 1999
Research interests: 
  • Forest policy and management
  • Climate change adaptation

Dr. Brian Petersen is assistant professor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Petersen has a strong interdisciplinary background, which he draws on for teaching and research. His research focuses on forest policy and management and on climate change adaptation to meet conservation objectives on a landscape scale. In particular, he focuses on land management in the western United States and how federal agencies and other landowners plan to adapt to climate change. Dr. Petersen's current research project focuses on whitebark pine dieoff, tradeoffs in that emerge in whitebark restoration efforts and how wilderness designation affects these restoration efforts.

Prior to joining the faculty at Western Michigan University, Dr. Petersen had a three-year research associate position at Michigan State University where he conducted research in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy on climate change adaptation perceptions by Great Lakes resource managers. Dr. Petersen also collaborated with representatives from two non-governmental organizations helping to design performance measures for the US Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

In addition to research, Dr. Petersen has a strong interest in undergraduate teaching. He designed and taught a capstone course in Environmental Studies called Climate Change and Society, has taught Nature & Society, Environment, Technology and Values, and will teach An Introduction to Sustainability in the future. Dr. Petersen also created a Readings in Environmental Studies course in which students focus on ecofeminism and environmental racism and plan on creating a course on environmental journalism in which students will put together pieces for radio that focus on sustainability and environmental issues.