Luke WardLucas C. Ward

Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies; Director of Environmental Management and Policy Program
B.A. Whitman College
M.A., Ph.D. University of Colorado - Boulder
Phone: 406.238.7277
Office: Tyler Hall 304


As a human geographer trained in the multidisciplinary field of political ecology, Dr. Ward understands local instances of environmental change to be rooted to local- regional-, and global-scale political economic process. Dr. Ward is especially interested in how different people interpret and respond to environmental change and to policies and projects intended to regulate it.  

While he is interested how, why, and to what effects development and conservation projects and policies unfold differently in different parts of the world, his main areas of regional expertise are South America (especially the Paraguay River/La Plata River basin) and the American West.  

His fieldwork in Paraguay focuses on two related processes: 1) how global models of good environmental governance – specifically, “Integrated Resource Management” (IRM) – get translated into action by governmental and non-governmental resource management professionals in a place like Paraguay; and 2) how the indigenous Yshyr (“eesh-eer”) and mestizo residents of Paraguay’s portion of the Pantanal Wetlands experience their country’s transition toward this market-oriented approach to environmental rule-making as it relates to water laws and management of public spaces (national parks).  

Dr. Ward uses mixed methods in his fieldwork, including ethnographic field methods, participatory risk mapping, Q method, factor and cluster analysis, and case study approaches.  

Courses Taught

  • EST 101: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • EMP 102: Regional Geography of Landscape Change
  • EST 226: Energy and Society
  • ESC 321: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • EMP 411: Science, Policy, and the Environment