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About D. Layne Coppock

My professional goal has always been to help solve important problems related to the use and conservation of natural resources. My scholarship is therefore diverse and emphasizes applied work. Over the past 35 years I have transitioned from a focus on biology and ecology to an emphasis on the human dimensions of natural resource management—namely, how can the fates of people be improved when they must cope with the dynamic, fragile, and limited resources found in rangeland and small-holder farming systems? This intellectual transition makes perfect sense to me given my professional goal. After completing my BS degree in zoology, I conducted MS work in wildlife and rangeland ecology with a study of the grazing interactions between bison and prairie dogs in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. This was followed by PhD work in international animal science that characterized the feeding ecology and resource use of pastoral livestock herds in the Turkana District of northwestern Kenya. After attaining the PhD I joined the Ethiopian rangelands program at the International Livestock Center for Africa in Addis Ababa as a research scientist and unit leader. In 1991 I became a tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Range Science at Utah State University. I have stayed at USU ever since and have gradually become more involved in problem-solving work for rangeland and small-holder farming systems. I have become more interested in interdisciplinary efforts that incorporate social science with ecology and agriculture. I have altered my approaches to incorporate social surveys and focus groups as well as action-oriented, participatory methods. Projects undertaken by myself and colleagues include studies of: (1) How to improve risk management and reduce poverty among pastoralists via capacity building and livelihood diversification; (2) how to improve drought management and adoption of innovations among Utah ranchers; (3) effects of pastoralists and vegetation change on sustaining protected areas and endangered wildlife in Ethiopia; (4) factors affecting adoption of soil and water conservation practices among small farmers in Kenyan watersheds; (5) determinants of livelihood resilience among small famers in western Tanzania; and (6) factors promoting sustainability of agro-pastoral communities in Bolivia. More information can be found at (


Present Emeritus Professor, Utah State University Environment and Society
Adjunct Associate Professor, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Dept. of Wildland Resources, Utah State University Environment and Society

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Researcher of the Year, USU College of Natural Resources (2012)
  • Finalist, USU International Professor of the Year (2011)
  • Co-recipient of Communication Award with F. Wayua et al., 19th World Forum Intl. Food & Agribusiness Manage. Assoc., Budapest, Hungary (2009)
  • Co-recipient of a Gold Medal for Meritorius Service with S. Desta et al., Ethiopian Society for Animal Production, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2007)
  • Faculty Advisor of the Year, USU College of Natural Resources (2004)
  • Finalist, King Baudouin Award (Belgium) Outstanding Achievement (1994)


  • Graduate Orientation Seminar (ENVS 6840/7840)
  • Environment & Society (ENVS 3330)


1985 Ph.D., Colorado State University ‐ International Animal Science
1981 M.S., Colorado State University ‐ Wildlife Biology
1977 B.S., Colorado State University ‐ Zoology

Contact Information

Office Phone: (435) 797-1262
Office Fax: (435) 797-4048


Articles (80)