Doug Bessette

Doug Bessette

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Assistant Professor



Doug Bessette is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability, where he researches and teaches courses in sustainable energy, energy transitions and community energy development.  He uses both an interdisciplinary coupled human-environment system and applied decision research approach to tackle multi-scale problems that often require identifying and analyzing complicated tradeoffs.  In his applied work, Doug develops and deploys structured decision-making frameworks that incorporate value-focused thinking and help stakeholders to identify objectives, generate alternatives, predict consequences and make explicit tradeoffs between values and strategies.  His past research has spanned multiple contexts including organic and sustainable agriculture, coastal climate risk management, natural resource management in developing territories and green infrastructure.

Doug earned his PhD in Geography from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada and his MSc from the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies here at MSU.  Following completion of his PhD, Doug worked as a postdoctoral scholar with the Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management at Penn State University and as a Senior Research Associate in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State University.  Before completing his undergraduate degree he served four years in the U.S. Army as an M1A1 tanker.

Doug is also an affiliated faculty member of the Environmental Science & Policy Program (ESPP) at MSU.

Access Doug's personal website.

Follow Doug on Twitter at @dlbessette.

Recent Publications

Bessette, D. & S. Mills. (2021). Farmers vs. Lakers: Agriculture, amenity, and community in predicting opposition to United States wind energy development. Energy Research & Social Science. 

Bessette, D., M. Rutty, G. Gunn, V. Tarabara, & R. Richardson. (2020) The perceived risk of underwater oil pipelines in icy conditions. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 

Bessette, D. & R. Gregory. (2020) The promise and reality of social-cultural metrics. Ecology and Society, Vol 25. 

Brosemer, K., C. Schelly, V. Gagnon, K. Arola, J. Pearce, D. Bessette & L. Schmitt Olabisi. (2020). The energy crises revealed by COVID: Intersections of indigeneity, inequity and health. Energy Research & Social Science, Vol. 68. 

Schelly, C., D. Bessette, K. Brosemer, V. Gagnon, K. Arola, A. Fiss, J. Pearce, & K. Halvorsen. (2020). Energy Policy for Energy Sovereignty: Can policy tools enhance energy sovereignty? Solar Energy. 

Bessette, D., R. Wilson, C. Beaudrie & C. Schroeder. (2019) An online decision support tool to evaluate ecological weed management strategies. Weed Science, Vol. 67, Issue 4, P. 463-473.

Bessette, D., R. Wilson & J. Arvai. (2019) Do people disagree with themselves? Exploring the internal consistency of complex, unfamiliar, and risky decisions. Journal of Risk Research, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2019.1569107

Campbell-Arvai, V., D. Bessette, L. Kenney & J. Arvai. (2019) Improving decision making for carbon management initiatives. International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, Vol. 22, Issue 3/4, P. 342-358.

Bessette, D. & A. Depew. (2019) Tracking renewable energy values, benefits, and concerns in Michigan: In the media and at public meetings. Prepared for Michigan Energy Office, Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy.

Mills, S., D. Bessette & H. Smith. (2019) Exploring Landowners’ Post-Construction Changes in Perceptions of Wind Energy in Michigan. Land Use Policy, Vol. 82, P. 754-762.

Bessette D., S. Zwickle, & R.S. Wilson (2019) In the weeds: Distinguishing organic farmers who want information about ecological weed management from those who need it. Renewable Agriculture & Food Systems, Vol. 34, Issue 5, P. 160-171.

Campbell-Arvai, V., D. Bessette, R. Wilson & J. Arvai. (2018) Decision-making for the environment, SAGE Handbook on Nature, Section: “Risk and the environment: social theories, public understandings, and the science-policy interface,” ed. N. Pidgeon & B. Macgillivray.

Bessette D., & J. Arvai. (2018) Engaging attribute tradeoffs in clean energy portfolio development. Energy Policy. Vol. 115, P. 221-229.

Bessette, D. & J. Bruskotter. (2018) Deer Stakeholder Engagement Process: Informing the Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife 10-year Deer Management Plan. Prepared for Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Bessette D., L. Mayer, B. Cwik, M. Vezer, K. Keller, R. Lempert & N. Tuana. (2017) Building a values-informed mental model (ViMM) for New Orleans climate risk  management. Risk Analysis, Vol. 37, Issue 10, Pg. 1993-2004. DOI: 10.1111/risa.12743

Bessette D. J. Arvai, & V. Campbell-Arvai. (2016) Expanding the reach of participatory risk management: Testing an online decision-aiding framework for informing internally consistent choices. Risk Analysis, Vol. 36, Issue 5, P. 992-1005. DOI: 10.1111/risa.12481

Kenney, L, D. Bessette & J. Arvai. (2015) Structuring decisions about energy in developing communities: an example from Canada’s north. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Vol 58, Issue 5, P. 855-873. DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2014.899205

Bessette, D., J. Arvai & V. Campbell-Arvai. (2014) Decision support framework for developing regional energy strategies.  Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 48, P. 1401-1408. DOI: 10.1021/es4036286