Neil Carter

Neil Carter

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Associate Professor, Geospatial Data Sciences Conservation + Restoration, University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability



PhD, Michigan State University, 2013
M.S., terrestrial ecosystems, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2007
B.S., ecology, behavior and evolution, University of California, San Diego, 2003


Carter’s interdisciplinary research examines the complex dynamics that characterize interactions between wildlife and people (e.g., provision of ecosystem services, conflicts) in a global change context. His work addresses local to global wildlife conservation issues, utilizes a multitude of spatial techniques and tools, engages different stakeholders, and informs policymaking. General research interests include: spatial ecology, landscape ecology, wildlife management and policy, wildlife ecology and conservation, human dimensions of wildlife management, complexity of coupled human and natural systems, and sustainability science. Projects use field monitoring, social surveys, remote sensing, GIS, and spatial and simulation modeling to investigate human-wildlife coexistence in a number of contexts, such as the American West, Nepal, and Mozambique.

Prior to SEAS, Dr. Carter was an assistant professor in the Human-Environment Systems research group at Boise State University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center and Princeton University.Neil Carter seeks to identify and promote conditions that enable long-term coexistence between people and wildlife. 

He studies human dimensions of wildlife management, wildlife behavior and habitat, human impacts on wildlife habitat, protected area management, and other related subjects in order to advance wildlife conservation.  Carter grew up in San Diego, CA., and received his B.S. at the University of California San Diego in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution in 2003.  He moved to Michigan in 2005 to conduct his Master's research in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.  In his Master’s research, he developed an ecological model of black bear habitat suitability throughout Michigan's Lower Peninsula and combined those results with attitudinal survey data, which allowed him to map areas of potential human-bear conflict.  

He earned a Ph.D. in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. His doctoral research at the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability evaluated the complex relationships between humans and tigers in and around Chitwan National Park in Nepal.  He hopes to develop a systems model characterizing tiger-human interrelationships that can be used to address similar conservation issues in other areas. 

He completed post doctoral work as a research associate at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, Md.

Carter was a 2011 CHANS Fellow granted from the Coupled Human and Natural System Network, an MSU University Distinguished Fellow and a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow. He also participated in the 2-year Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program.

Research Interests
Human dimensions of wildlife management, wildlife behavior and habitat, human impacts on wildlife habitat, protected area management.