Department of Community Sustainability

Read about the Department of Community Sustainability and their work internationally

About us

Community Sustainability (CSUS) is an interdisciplinary department that addresses contemporary issues of sustainability in agriculture, recreation, natural resources and the environment. CSUS was formerly called the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies (CARRS). Consistent with its mission to assist in the development of sustainable communities, the department offers three undergraduate majors linked by a common core in community sustainability:

  • Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS)
  • Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SPRT)
  • Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education (AFNRE)

The CSUS graduate program offers two majors:

  • Community Sustainability (MS and PhD)
  • Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management (MS and PhD)

In both undergraduate and graduate programs, CSUS embraces international, as well as domestic applications, engagement, and opportunities

International Programs

  • Timothy Silberg Collecting Data From Greenhouse Trials
    Former graduate student Timothy Silberg (Ph.D., 2019) collects data from greenhouse trials related to parasitic weed infestation at the Chitedze Agricultural Research Station, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Lilongwe, Malawi.
    African Great Lakes Coffee Project; Daniel Clay.
  • Energy Security and Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern Africa; Robert Richardson
  • Omo-Turkana Research Network, Ethiopia and Kenya; Jennifer Hodbod

Current International Projects

  • African Great Lakes Coffee Project. Clay, D.C., Ortega, D., and Lopez, M.C. 2015-2019. U.S. Agency for International Development.
  • Enhancing Knowledge and Capacity to Strengthen Agricultural and Food Security Policy Processes in Nigeria. Liverpool-Tasie, L.S.O. and Schmitt Olabisi, L. S. Agency for International Development/Feed the Future through MSU Food Security Group. 2015-2018.
  • Global Change Learning Lab in Southern Africa: An international partnership facilitating agroecology research and information sharing by MSU researchers and partners collaborating on action research in sub-Saharan Africa. The Learning Lab engages in interdisciplinary, participatory action research and agroecological approaches to address challenges facing smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Snapp, S.S., Chikowo, R., and Richardson, R.B. 2014-2019. U.S. Agency for International Development. http://globalchangescience.org/eastafricanode/
  • INFEWS/T3: Rethinking Dams: Innovative Hydropower Solutions to Achieve Sustainable Food and Energy Production, and Sustainable Communities. Moran, E.F. Lopez, M.C., Moore, N.J. Hyndman, D.W. and Mueller, N.H.. 2017-2020. National Science Foundation.
  • OTuRN: An international consortium of social and environmental scientists researching the impacts of hydrological, agricultural, and social change on the people and ecosystems surrounding the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana. Hodbod, J. and Tebbs, E. (2018-present) https://www.canr.msu.edu/oturn/

Cards with with different animals and plants on them. Person specifically pointing at cow

Focus Countries or Regions:

  • East Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania
  • Southern Africa: Malawi, Zambia
  • West Africa: Ghana, Mali, Nigeria
Timothy Silberg Trains Enumerators
Former graduate student Timothy Silberg (Ph.D., 2019) trains enumerators in advance of rural household survey in Dedza District in Malawi.

Study Abroad Program:

  • India-Ecology of the Mountains

The Department of Community Sustainability currently has approximately twenty (20) international graduate students

Recent Publications:

  1. Bro*, A., Ortega, D., Clay, D.C., Richardson, R.B.. (2019). Understanding individuals’ incentives for climate change adaptation in Nicaragua's coffee sector. Climate and Developmenthttps://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2019.1619506
  2. Grabowski*, P., Olabisi, L. S., Adebiyi*, J., Waldman, K., Richardson, R., Rusinamhodzi, L., Snapp, S. (2019). Assessing adoption potential in a risky environment: The case of perennial pigeonpea. Agricultural Systems 171: 89-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2019.01.001
  3. Hodbod, J., Stevenson, E.G.J., Akall*, G., Akuja, T., Angelei*, I., Buffavand, L., Derbyshire*, S., Elias, A.B., Eulenberger*, I., Gownaris, N., Kamski, B., Kurewa*, A., Lokuruka, M., Mercy, F., Okenwa*, D., Rodgers*, C., Tebbs, E. (2019).  Social-ecological change in the Omo-Turkana Basin: A synthesis of current developments. Ambio, 48(10), 1099-1115. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-018-1139-3 Cover story and 3,500 downloads.
  4. Hodbod, J., Tebbs, E., Chan, K., Sharma*, S. (2019). Integrating participatory methods and remote sensing to enhance understanding of ecosystem service dynamics across scales. Land, 8(9), 132.https://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/8/9/132/htm
  5. Kerr, J.M., Bum, T., Lapinski, M.K., Liu, R.W., Liu, Z., Zhao, J. (2019). The effects of social norms on motivation crowding: Experimental evidence from the Tibetan Plateau. International Journal of the Commons 13(1), 430-454. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26632727
  6. Mulenga, B., Tembo, S., Richardson, R.B.. (2019). Electricity access and charcoal consumption among urban households in Zambia. Development Southern Africa 36(5): 585-599. https://doi.org/10.1080/0376835X.2018.1517036.
  7. Silberg*, T., Chimonyo, V., Richardson, R.B., Snapp, S.S., Renner, K. (2019). Legume diversification and weed management in African cereal-based systems. Agricultural Systems 174: 83-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2019.05.004
  8. Yeboah*, F.K., Lupi, F., Kaplowitz, M.D., Kerr, J.M. (2019). Households’ preferences for attributes of Conditional Cash Transfer programs: A choice experiment in Ghana. Development Policy Review37(3): 402-422. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12345
  9. Assan*, E., Suvedi, M., Schmitt Olabisi, L., A. Allen. (2018). Coping with and adapting to climate change: A gender perspective from smallholder farming in Ghana. Environments 5(8). https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080086
  10. Castro-Diaz*, L., Lopez, M.C., Moran, E. (2018). Downstream fishers and the impacts generated by the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam.” Human Ecology 46(3): 411–422. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-018-9992-z
  11. Hockett*, M., Richardson, R.B.. (2018). Examining the drivers of agricultural experimentation among smallholder farmers in Malawi. Experimental Agriculture 54(01): 45-65. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0014479716000673.
  12. Lapinski, M., Liu, R.W., Kerr, J.M., Zhao, J., Bum, T.. (2018). Characterizing Interpersonal Influence for Grassland Conservation Behaviors in a Unique Population. Environmental Communication. https://doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2018.1436579
  13. Moran, E., Lopez, M.C., Moore, N., Müller, N. Hyndman, D.W. (2018). Sustainable hydropower in the 21st century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United State of America 115(47): 11891–11898. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1809426115
  14. Richardson, R.B., Suvedi, M. (2018). The potential for small-scale aquaculture in Cambodia. Environments 5(7): 76. https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5070076
  15. Waldman*, K.B., Kerr, J.M. (2018). Does safety information influence consumers’ preferences for controversial food products? Food Quality and Preference 64: 56-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2017.10.013
  16. Waldman*, K.B., Richardson, R.B. (2018). Confronting tradeoffs between agricultural ecosystem services and adaptation to climate change in Mali. Ecological Economics 150: 184-193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.04.003

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