Stephen J. Leisz, PhD.


Anthropology and Geography

Fields of Expertise

Data, GIS, and Modeling, Geosciences, History, Physical Geography

Areas of Interest

Human dimensions of land use, Land cover change in Southeast Asia and Africa, Natural resource tenure


Since 1993 Dr. Leisz’s research has focused on the human dimensions of land use/land cover changes in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia and on the use of geographic information science tools and techniques (GIS, remote sensing, and GPS) to better understand the complexities of these changes. During this time he has carried out fieldwork investigating the trajectories of land use/cover changes in parts of northern Vietnam, Laos, and on the Islands of Flores and Sumba in Indonesia, and on the interplay of land and natural resource tenure systems and land use/cover in Madagascar. Growing out his interest in land use/cover changes, in 2007 he started to investigate the potential impacts of climate changes on biodiversity and human societies in Melanesia, with the intent of expanding this investigation to include parts of Southeast Asia. He has published articles in Global Environmnetal Change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Regional Environmental Change, Agricultural Systems, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Mountain Research and Development, Human Ecology, and Journal of Rural Studies, in addition to book chapters and technical reports.