Dr. Gregory Veeck

Gregory veek

Veeck on a mountainWestern Michigan University geography professor Dr. Gregory Veeck has conducted extensive international research specializing in economic geography, agriculture, rural development and rural environmental/ecological issues in the United States, China, Japan, and Korea.

Veeck has been conducting field research for 31 years. He made his first visit to China in 1985, when he studied Chinese at Taiwan Normal University while working on an agriculture project. He has traveled to China almost every year since and has lived in East Asia for approximately seven years.

Veeck’s research has been published in many journals including, Economic Geography, World Development, The Geographical Review, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Focus on Geography, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and the Professional Geographer. He has edited, co-edited, or co-written eight books related to China, including serving as the environmental editor for the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China. The third edition of his China text, China’s Geography, co-written primarily with Clifton W. Pannell will be released on March 15 of this year.  

Funding for his research has been awarded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Academy of Science, Fulbright Research Fund, National Geographic Research Fund, World Wildlife Fund, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Program, USDA and others.

Veeck earned his bachelor’s degree at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, his master’s degree at Purdue University, and a doctoral degree at the University of Georgia. He was hired as a geography professor at WMU in 1999, following his wife, Dr. Anne Veeck, a professor of business, who joined the faculty in 1998. “My wife and I were hired as international research faculty by former WMU Provost Tim Light,” said Veeck. “Provost Light had a program to recruit international scholars on campus. My wife and I have two kids, so we wanted jobs on the same campus. We have very much enjoyed working at WMU and living in Kalamazoo, and will always be grateful for the opportunity”.

In recent years, Veeck has been working with scholars from the Chinese Academy of Sciences interviewing local husbandry experts and herders in Gansu, Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in western China. Using mixed-methods, Veeck and Emerson Veeck sittingcombine remotely sensed environmental data with information collected from household surveys and these interviews. He has completed 18 household-survey-based projects largely in rural areas of East Asia including China, Japan and South Korea. “The surveys typically focus on the interactions among agricultural and environmental issues and farmers and herders,” said Veeck. “All of these issues come to roost at the farm level, but are linked to economic change at regional, national and global scales.”

Currently, he and Professor Charles Emerson (also WMU Geography) are again working with the team of researchers from the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. They will complete the study with research trips to the western provinces of Gansu and Sichuan in June of this year. The research centers on assessing the ecological protection policies mandated by the government for the grasslands of Western China, and the effect of these policies on herding families and the husbandry sector.  “This is a multi-scale study of grassland use and health in eight counties in three western provinces of China,” said Veeck. “We joined government interviews and household surveys with remote sensing derived vegetation indices and estimates of annual and monthly precipitation for the years from 2000 to 2016. This project was funded with funds from a WMU FRACAA award, a National Geographic Research Award, and matching funds from the Ruth and Milton E. Scherer Fund of the WMU Department of Geography.

By Margaret von Steinen