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About Human-Environment Systems

HES Team

The Human-Environment Systems team is working to solve complex environmental problems and train a new generation of students to meet the challenges of the next century. We believe that meeting the great environmental challenges facing the planet requires understanding the interplay between the biophysical world and our societal actions. We aspire to create knowledge and capacity to address these challenges.


We strive to build capacity through research, education, and engagement to resolve critical human-environment system challenges of our time.


We are a transdisciplinary community promoting understanding of complex human-environment systems. We believe that explicitly integrating social and biophysical disciplines reveals unique systems-level understanding. Our efforts are informed by engagement within the systems in which we work. We aspire to create actionable knowledge that promotes a sustainable, just, and prosperous world. We measure our success by the impact of our students, our contribution to scientific understanding, our impact on societal solutions, and the quality of our collaborative relationships.


The critical environmental challenges of our time — climate change, deforestation, pollution, biodiversity and habitat loss — all exist in the context of complex systems, with important biophysical and societal elements. Resolution requires a deep understanding of system-level function and the associated feedbacks and interactions between humans and the environment. Human-environment systems science merges transdisciplinary research with education to solve complex problems.

View Our Strategic Plan.