Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Jeff Langholz


I am passionate about: research and teaching that makes a difference and focuses on the "real world" rather than the "ivory tower." 

What excites me about being a professor at MIIS: Our students and faculty are on fire! People here want to build a better world, and have the skills and knowledge to make it happen.

Dr. Langholz’s research focuses sustainable use of natural resources worldwide. How can we use fisheries, forests, wildlife, water, and other natural resources in ways that guarantee their long term survival while also being good for people and profits? He is a recognized authority on the growing role that private lands play in accomplishing the triple goals of biodiversity conservation, economic development, and social justice. A past member of the World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN), much of Dr. Langholz's work takes place in and around parks of varying kinds. He was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for the 2005-2006 academic year, researching best practices for combining conservation and development on private lands in southern Africa. Dr. Langholz's conservation and sustainability work been covered by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, and other media outlets.

Dr. Langholz’s scholarly publications span multiple fields. They appear in journals that focus on biology (Conservation Biology, BioScience), sociology (Society and Natural Resources), economics (Ecological Economics), business (Corporate Environmental Strategy), oceans (Marine Policy) and law (Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy). He also co-authored a popular climate change paperback that describes simple things people can do to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions. Called You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!), the book has been featured by the New York Times, National Geographic, Chicago Tribune, and more than 250 other media outlets.

A popular international speaker and trainer, Dr. Langholz is a past recipient of the campus Excellence in Teaching Award. He teaches a wide portfolio of courses at the Institute focusing on protected natural areas, environmental science, environmental conflict management, research methods, sustainable agriculture, conservation leadership, business & biodiversity, and project design & evaluation. In 2013, Stanford University hired Dr. Langholz as a Visiting Associate Professor to design and deliver a new course called the Ocean Leadership Practicum. Delivered at the Institute and open to students from MIIS, Stanford, and other area campuses, the course delivered critical leadership skills that the world's most successful ocean champions indicated are most critical to their success.

Before entering academia, Dr. Langholz worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C., where he spent five years designing and implementing environmental policy. He is also a trained mediator with experience in two- and multi-party disputes on environmental and other topics. He has served as a consultant in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, and Europe for a variety of international organizations. He has participated in several social venture businesses in roles ranging from founder and CEO to advisor and angel investor.

Dr. Langholz's background also includes working as a fisheries technician in Prince William Sound, Alaska and a two-year assignment with the U.S. Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Recent Accomplishments

Dr. Langholz has signed a contract with Harvard University Press to publish a 2014 book called Private Protected Areas: A Global Movement for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development.

Dr. Langholz published two peer reviewed journal articles in 2013 on recent challenges to sustainable agriculture in the USA (see Publications).

What does it take to prevent or resolve conflicts over fisheries, forests, wildlife, water, and other natural resources? Dr. Langholz and six students published a landmark 2013 journal article documenting "best practices" based on more than 120 such conflicts worldwide (see Publications).

What to the most successful ocean champions have in common? Which skills are most critical to their success?  With co-author Adina Abeles from Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions, Dr. Langholz published a peer reviewed journal article documenting what it takes to succeed "on a sweeping scale, in a short time frame, and with limited resources" (see Publications).

Dr. Langholz's 2013 Ocean Leadership Practicum course was a big success. Graduate students from the Institute, Stanford, U. of California, and other area campuses mastered ten leadership skills that successful practitioners indicated were most critical to their success (see Publications). Participant skills improved an average of 558% across the ten topics. 58% of participants rated the Ocean Leadership Practicum "one of the best courses I have ever taken." Another 38% rated it "the single best course I have ever taken." The remaining 4% rated it "above average."


Biodiversity conservation, environmental conflict management, international environmental policy, protected natural areas, research methods, project design, program evaluation, social entrepreneurship, adaptive management, conservation leadership, sustainable development


PhD, Natural Resource Policy and Management, Cornell University; BA, History, Dana College; MS, Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology University of Maryland

Selected Publications

Langholz, J. (forthcoming in 2014). Private Protected Areas: A Global Movement for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Langholz, J. and A. Abeles. 2014. Rethinking postgraduate education for marine conservation. Marine Policy 43(1):372–375.

Langholz, J., Sand, K., Raak, L., Berner, A., Anderson, H., Geels, B., McKeehan, A., and A. Nelsen. 2013. Strategies and tactics for managing environmental conflicts: Insights from Goldman Environmental Prize recipients. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 5(1): 1-17.

Langholz, J. and M. Jay-Russell. 2013. The potential role of wildlife in pathogenic contamination of fresh produce. Human-Wildlife Interactions 7(1):140–157.

Gennet S., Howard J., Langholz J., Andrews K., Reynolds M., and S. Morrison. 2013. Farm practices for food safety: An emerging threat to floodplain and riparian ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology & Environment; doi:10.1890/120243.

Langholz, J. and F. DePaolis. 2013. Economic Contributions of Santa Cruz County Agriculture. Office of the Agricultural Commissioner, Santa Cruzy County, CA.

Langholz, J. and F. DePaolis. 2013. Economic Contributions of San Luis Obispo County Agriculture. Office of the Agricultural Commissioner, San Luis Obispo County, CA.

Langholz, J. and F. DePaolis. 2012. Economic Contributions of Monterey County Agriculture. Office of the Agricultural Commissioner, Monterey County, CA.

Langholz, J. 2010. Global Trends in Private Protected Areas and Their Implications for the Northern Great Plains. Great Plains Research 20(1): 9-16.

Lowell, K., Langholz, J. and D. Stuart. 2010. Safe and Sustainable: Co-Managing for Food Safety and Ecological Health in California’s Central Coast Region. Georgetown University and The Nature Conservancy. 131 pp.

Langholz, J. 2009. Saving Species, Privately. World Watch Magazine 22(5):7-11.

Langholz, J. and K. Turner. 2008. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways (2nd Edition). Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Sims-Castley, R., G. Kerley, B. Geach, and J. Langholz. 2006. Socio-economic significance of ecotourism-based private game reserves in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. PARKS 15:2, 6-15.

Langholz, J. and Krug, W.  2004. New Forms of Biodiversity Governance: Non-State Actors and the Private Protected Area Action Plan.  Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy 7:9-29.

Langholz, J. 2004. Forest Recreation on Private Lands. In: Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. New York: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Langholz, J. 2004. Lessons from Global Climate Change: A Proposed Kyoto Protocol for the World’s Oceans. Pages 43-58, In:  S. Uno, T. Katsumura, and H. Imaoka (editors), Development of Marine Resources and Ocean Governance: The Environment of Coastal Regions along the Sea of Japan. Hamada, Japan: University of Shimane Press.

Langholz, J. and K. Turner. 2003. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Langholz, J. 2003. Privatizing Conservation. Pages 117-135, In: S. Brechin, P. Wilshusen, P. West, and C. Fortwangler (editors), Contested Nature: Promoting International Biodiversity with Social Justice in the 21st Century. New York: State University of New York Press.

Langholz, J. 2002. Privately Owned Parks. Pages 172-188, In: J. Terborgh, C. van Schaik, L. Davenport, and M. Rao (editors), Making Parks Work: Strategies for Preserving Tropical Forests. Covelo, CA: Island Press.

Langholz, J.  2002. External Partnering for the Triple Bottom Line: People, Profits, and the Protection of Biodiversity. Corporate Environmental Strategy 9(1):1-10.

Kramer, R., Langholz, J. and N. Salafsky. 2002. The Role of the Private Sector in Protected Area Establishment and Management: A Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Effectiveness. Pages 335-351, In: J. Terborgh, C. van Schaik, L. Davenport, and M. Rao (editors), Making Parks Work: Strategies for Preserving Tropical Forests. Covelo, CA: Island Press.

Langholz, J., and J. Lassoie. 2002. Combining Conservation and Development on Private Lands: Lessons from Costa Rica. Environment, Development, and Sustainability.

Langholz, J. and K. Brandon. 2001.  Ecotourism and Privately Owned Protected Areas. Pages 303-314, In: D. Weaver (editor), The Encyclopedia of Ecotourism. Oxon, United Kingdom: CAB International.

Langholz, J., and  J. Lassoie. 2001. Perils and Promise of Privately Owned Protected Areas. BioScience 51(12):1079-1085.

Langholz, J., J. Lassoie, and J. Schelhas. 2000. Incentives for Biodiversity Conservation: Lessons from Costa Rica’s Private Wildlife Refuge Program. Conservation Biology 14(6): 1735-1743.

Langholz, J., J. Lassoie, D. Lee, and D. Chapman. 2000. Economic Considerations of Privately Owned Parks. Ecological Economics 33(2):173-183.

Langholz, J. 1999. Exploring the Effects of Alternative Income Opportunities on Rainforest Use: Insights from Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve. Society and Natural Resources 12:139-149.

Uphoff, N., and J. Langholz. 1998. Incentives for Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons.  Environmental Conservation 25(3): 251-261.

Langholz, J. 1996. Economics, Objectives, and Success of Private Nature Reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Conservation Biology 10(1):271-280.

Langholz, J. 1996. Ecotourism Impact at Independently Owned Nature Reserves in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.  In:  Miller, Joseph and E.Malek-Zadeh (editors), The Ecotourism Equation: Measuring the Impacts. New Haven, CT: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Bulletin Series, No.99

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

IEPG 8503 - Resrch Strategies for Env Pol      

This course introduces students to the design and implementation of research, with an emphasis on applied research into contemporary social and ecological issues that part of policy development and implementation. The course will be interdisciplinary in scope and will include the use of historical, ethnographic, biophysical, political and contextual data and information. The course will cover various social science methods, including political science, policy analysis, and sociology, and associated analytical approaches that can be used to develop and design research proposals, including case study and comparative case studies, survey design, content analysis, documentary analysis, and ethnographic approaches.

Fall 2013 - MIIS

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IEPG 8506 - Public Policy & the Environmnt      

This course introduces students to public policy theory and practice with an emphasis on international environmental topics. Using a variety of exercises, case studies, lectures, and assignments, students will learn answers to the following questions: What is public policy? Who makes it? What forms does it take? What issues does it address? How is it made? How do policies differ across contexts? What is “policy analysis” and how do I do it? As a half-semester, two-unit course, the goal is not to transform students into a political scientist but rather to deliver the foundational knowledge and skills needed to understand and work effectively within the policy arena.

Fall 2015 - MIIS

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IEPG 8530 - Biodiversity Policy&Management      

Course Description.

Protecting the world's living natural resources can be a confusing, complex endeavor. With so many threats to the natural world, where do you start? Fortunately, policy makers from 193 countries recently agreed on five major strategic goals to guide their efforts through the year 2020. They also agreed on twenty specific targets to accomplish by 2020. These priority goals and targets drive global nature conservation efforts and frame this course. From ranching, aquaculture, forestry, and sustainable agriculture to cutting edge technologies, the course examines the best and worst of both policy and management. Students who master these topics will maximize not just their career opportunities through 2020, but also their personal contribution to protecting important natural resources.

Learning Objectives

. By the end of the course, you should be able to describe best policy and management practices for the following five topics, which represent the global biodiversity priorities through the year 2020: 1) addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society (Strategic Goal A); 2) reducing the direct pressures on biodiversity and promoting sustainable use (Strategic Goal B); 3) improving the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity (Strategic Goal C); 4) enhancing the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services (Strategic Goal D); and 5) enhancing implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building (Strategic Goal E).

Spring 2014 - MIIS

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IEPG 8550 - SustainablityLeadrshpPracticum      

Course Description.

The world's natural resources continue to decline at an alarming rate despite decades of concerted conservation efforts. Reversing this trend will require going beyond traditional approaches. The Sustainability Leadership Practicum (SLP) helps meet this need by equipping future leaders with proven tools for disrupting the status quo. The curriculum focuses on skills that leading conservation practitioners identified as being most critical to their success in promoting more sustainable use of natural resources. Priority skills combine innovation, collaboration, and communication to create change on a sweeping scale, in a short time frame, and with limited financial resources.

Learning Goal & Objectives.

The course has a single overarching goal: to equip participants with the most critical skills needed to lead disruptive change for sustainable use of natural resources. Fourteen learning objectives support this goal, representing the broad areas of innovation, collaboration, and communication.

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IEPG 8591 - Applied Conservation Science      

This course is about saving life on earth. It provides the scientific foundation required to formulate sound environmental policies capable of addressing human population growth, habitat destruction, resource overexploitation, and other anthropogenic factors that continue to undermine the earth’s ecological systems. The course focuses on scientific underpinnings of conserving the world’s remaining biological diversity (aka “biodiversity”). It draws from biology, ecology, and other natural sciences to deliver the broad scientific training that future policymakers need. As a short survey course, the goal is not to transform you into a biologist or an ecologist, but rather to equip you with the basic knowledge you need to understand how the natural world works, speak the language with confidence, and use science to develop sound environmental policy.

Spring 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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IEPG 8616 - Environmntal Conflict Mgmt      

Environmental conflicts continue to rise in frequency and intensity across much of the world. Growing human population and dwindling natural resource stocks exacerbate the problem. “Resource wars” have convinced scholars and policy makers alike that environmental factors play a critical international security role. Despite increased attention to the natural resources and conflict, a significant information gap persists. Scholars know surprisingly little about the conditions under which fisheries, forests, wildlife, minerals, water, and other resources lead to (or exacerbate) conflict. They know even less about the best ways to prevent or resolve such conflicts. Thus, growing demand exists for professionals who can analyze root causes of these conflicts and apply tools for resolving them. This course helps fill that demand. It uses lectures, case studies, role plays, and simulations to deliver techniques for analyzing, preventing, and resolving natural resource disputes worldwide.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS, Fall 2015 - MIIS

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IEPG 8664 - Conservatn Prjct Design & Eval      

Overwhelming scientific data indicates that fisheries, forests, freshwater and other natural resources continue to decline and most biodiversity conservation projects fail to accomplish their goals. This course addresses both problems. It delivers state of the art techniques for designing conservation projects that have the strongest possible chance of success and evaluating the extent of that success. Examples include: knowing the conservation project cycle, assessing site conditions, developing management plans, and creating monitoring and evaluation plans. This "learn by doing" course emphasizes hands-on practice, especially through a conservation project management software program called Miradi. Although the course emphasizes site specific, in situ biodiversity conservation (i.e. protected natural areas), the skills and knowledge can apply to a wide range of environmental projects and programs.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS, Fall 2015 - MIIS

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