My name is James (J.T.) Erbaugh, and I am a PhD candidate at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. My research examines the relationship between rural livelihoods, communities, and forests.
Expanding analysis across mixed-use forest landscapes is essential for understanding forest cover change and rural livelihood strategies. It is also essential to consider production and conservation forests in tandem to understand how best to preserve valuable forest resources. Conservation is a game best played with attention to values and necessary trade-offs. Conserving forests means making choices about where and when to harvest and intensively manage and where and when to prohibit or limit certain human-forest activities. While there are no panaceas for forest management, I believe that there are “best options.” This belief fuels my interest in the connections between people and forests.
To study forest-cover change and rural livelihoods, I use a mixed-methods approach, drawing on my training in GIS/Remote Sensing, survey methodology, statistics, and policy analysis. In addition to this training, I bring over four years of living and teaching in rural, forest-dependent communities on the Navajo Nation (Navajo, NM), Sumatra (Sungai Penuh, Kerinci), and Java (Pati, Central Java). Since 2011, I have primarily focused on studying the way in which rural livelihoods and communities in Indonesia impact and are shaped by forests. The support, guidance, and inspiration from countless other teachers, researchers, travelers, and students have made my work possible. I have received financial support from the Borlaug Fellowship in International Food Security, the Dow Sustainability Fellowship, the Fulbright Program, the Institute for Social Research, the Department of Defense Critical Language Scholarship, as well as the School for Environment and Sustainability and the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. To all of the people and organizations that have helped me along this path: thank you.
The views and opinions expressed on this website are my responsibility alone. Please feel free to send me an email at jerbaugh(at)umich(dot)edu. Also, you can find me on the following sites:
Thank you for visiting, and I look forward to hearing from you.