Les Rowntree

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Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., Environmental Geography, University of Oregon (retired 2005)


Research Interests

Environmental and Global Change; International Environmental Issues; Human Impacts on Forest Ecosystems; Fire Ecology; SF Bay and Central California Coastal Natural History


Courses Taught

Natural History and Environmental Issues of the San Francisco Bay Area; Environmental Research and Writing; California Environmental Controversies; Graduate Seminar in American Environmental Thought


Current Writing and Research Projects

I am currently working on three book projects: first, a natural history of California's Central Coast Bioregion (co-authored with Allison Green and Rowan Rowntree) for the University of California Press series on our state's bioregions; second, a new introductory environmental science/studies textbook for Prentice Hall; and, third, I am finishing the 3rd edition of our award-winning book Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment, Development (Rowntree, Lewis, Price, and Wyckoff; Prentice Hall). While doing the research (and writing) for these three book projects occupies most of my time, there are two other projects that I am involved in. One is an international and interdisciplinary research project focused on environmental change and issues in the French Pyrenees; the other is more local and deals with vegetation change and fire ecology in the SF Bay Area.


Community Service

My community service includes editorial advisory boards for national and international environmental journals, the advisory board of the California Institute of Biodiversity (CIB), the scientific advisory board for Bluewater/Earth Island Institute and until recently, as a mayoral; appointee to the City of Berkeley's Disaster Preparedness Commission, which was responsible for working on issues of seismic safety and prevention and preparedness for catastrophic urban interface fires.


Graduate Student Advising

I enjoy working with all Environmental Studies graduate students, whatever their interests, because of what I learn from them during their thesis research and writing. That said, the areas where my knowledge and experience complements graduate student interests are on topics involving international environmental issues (I've done research in Mexico, Morocco, Australia, and Europe, with plans for Russia and South Africa in the coming year), California central coast natural history, fire ecology (local or international), and historical ecology.


Other Interests and Activities

Sailing, sea kayaking, open water rowing, cross-country and backcountry skiing, hiking, biking, natural history walks to bird and botanize, folk and bluegrass music.