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College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Faculty and Staff Profile

Gary Edward Machlis

University Professor of Environmental Sustainability

Office: 239 Lehotsky

Phone: 864-656-3400


Educational Background

PhD Human Ecology
Yale University 1979

MS Forestry
University of Washington 1975

BS Forestry
University of Washington 1974

Courses Taught

The Politics of Science
Disasters, Resilience, and Recovery
Issues in Scientific Integrity
Social Ecology: Foundations for Sustainability and Human Resilience
Global Challenges in Conservation and Sustainability


Dr. Gary E. Machlis is University Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, and served as Science Advisor to the Director, U.S. National Park Service (NPS) from 2009-2014. Dr. Machlis also served during that time as co-Leader of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sciences Group, which conducted scientific assessments during major environmental crises such as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Hurricane Sandy. He joined the Clemson faculty in 2013; he was on the faculty at the University of Idaho from 1979-2013. Dr. Machlis received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle, and his Ph.D. in human ecology from Yale. He has written numerous books and scientific papers on issues of human ecology, society and the environment, conservation, and sustainability, including The State of the World's Parks (1985), the first systematic study of threats to protected areas around the world. His most recent books (co-authored) are The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water, published by the University of Chicago (2018) and American Covenant: National Parks and our Nation’s Future published by Yale University Press (2021). His next book, Desolation Row: Sustainability for the Forgotten will be published by the University of Utah Press in 2013. His research has been published in journals as varied as Bioscience, Climatic Change, Conservation Biology, Society and Natural Resources, Science Advances, and Science. Machlis was a founding Deputy Editor for Science Advances, the online scientific journal in the Science family of journals. Dr. Machlis has been a leader in collaborative higher education. He served on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) National Committee on Opportunities for Women and Minorities in Science for over a decade. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) Network, which now includes 13 U.S. federal agencies and over 200 universities and served as its National Coordinator from 1998-2006. For this work, Dr. Machlis was a recipient of the Department of the Interior's Conservation Service Award, one of the highest awards of the Department granted to private citizens. Dr. Machlis is active in international conservation, and is a member of the IUCN's Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas. He has worked in China on the Giant Panda Project for the World Wildlife Fund and has conducted research on conservation and sustainability issues in the Galápagos Islands, the national parks of Kenya, and in Eastern Europe. He has helped advance environmental science and sustainability collaborations between the U.S. and Cuba. Dr. Machlis helped establish and directed the National Parks Science Scholars Program, with over $8 million in scholarships to students from Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the countries of Latin America. He also led the AAAS project to rebuild science capacity in Haiti after its devastating earthquake. In 2020 he was appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Sustainability Roundtable and served on the Executive Council of the NASEM Response and Resilient Recovery Strategic Science Initiative. He also serves on the National Academies Board on Environmental Change and Society. His current research focuses on conservation science, recurrent acute disasters and the impacts of these disasters on human ecosystems, the politics of science, and sustainability for vulnerable populations. Dr. Machlis is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research Interests

Disaster response, science during crisis, conservation science and politics, sustainability

Research Publications


Machlis, G.E., T. Anderson, and B. Conover, 2021. Sentinels: The Piñon Pine and Juniper Trees of Bears
Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Bozeman, MT: Last Glacier Press.

Machlis, G.E. and D. Tichnell, 2021 (1985, reissued by Routledge Press, with new Foreword), The State of
the World’s Parks: An International Assessment for Resource Management, Policy, and Research. New York: Routledge press.

Machlis, G.E. and M. Soukup, 2021. American Covenant: National Parks and Our Nation’s Future. New
Haven: Yale University Press.

Machlis, G.E. and J.B. Jarvis, 2018. The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Burch, W.R. Jr., G.E. Machlis, and J.E. Force, 2017. The Structure & Dynamics of Human Ecosystems: Toward a Model for Understanding and Action. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Beissinger, S.R., D.D. Ackerly, H. Doremus, and G.E. Machlis, 2017. Science, Conservation, and National Parks. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Grove, J.M., M.L. Cadenasso, S.T.A. Pickett, G.E. Machlis, and W.R. Burch, Jr., 2015. The Baltimore School of Urban Ecology: Space, Scale, and Time for the Study of Cities. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Machlis, G.E., T. Hanson, J. McKendry and Z. Špiri? (eds.), 2011. Warfare Ecology: A New Synthesis for Peace and Security. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Refereed Journal Articles:

Machlis, G.E., S. Pickett, and M. Roman. March 2022. “A framework for research on recurrent acute
disasters” Science Advances, 8, eabk2458.

Machlis, G.E. and S.K. Pierce. June 2021. Establishing a difficult airway response team for a regional
hospital: A case study in the adoption and diffusion of innovations. The Journal of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation 36(2).

Colwell, R. and G.E. Machlis. May 2019. The role of GeoHealth in science during crisis. GeoHealth: 3-4.

Colwell, R.R. and G.E. Machlis. April 2019. Science during crisis. Science 364: 6435.

Machlis, G.E. and N. Krogman. 2018. Sustainability science and education in Haiti and Puerto Rico.
Vinculos-ESPE 3(1): 29-39.

Jodi, A., M. J. Scott, P. Beier, D. A. Boyce, D. Figg, H. Hamilton, G. E. Machlis, K. Muller, K. V. Rosenberg, R. Sauvajot, M. Raymond, M. Shaffer, and R. Wentworth. 2016. Completing the system: Opportunities and challenges for a national habitat conservation system. BioScience 66(9): 774-784.

McNutt, M.K. and G.E. Machlis. 2015. Parks for Science. Science 348:1291. (Editorial)

Berger, J., S. Cain, E. Cheng, P. Dratch, K. Ellison, J. Francis, H.C. Frost, S. Gende, C. Groves, W.A. Karesh, E. Leslie, G. Machlis, R.A. Medellin, R.F. Noss, K.H. Redford, M. Soukup, D. Wilcove, and S. Zack. 2014. Optimism and challenge for science-based conservation of migratory species in and out of U.S. national parks. Conservation Biology 28(1): 4-12.

Hanson, Thor and G. Machlis. 2014. The broad view of warfare ecology: response to Marler. Environmental
Conservation 41(3): 241.

Machlis, G., T.A. Frankovich, P.M. Alcolado, E. García-Machado, A.C. Hernández-Zanuy, R.E. Hueter,
N. Knowlton, E. Perera, and J.W. Tunnell, Jr. 2012. US-Cuba scientific collaboration: Emerging issues and opportunities in marine and related environmental sciences. Oceanography 25(2): 227– 231.

Machlis, G.E. and M.K. McNutt. 2011. Black swans, wicked problems, and science during crisis.
Oceanography 24(3): 318-320.

Honors and Awards

Outstanding Academic Title for 2018 award for The Structure and Dynamics of Human Ecosystems: Toward A Model for Understanding and Action, co- authored by WR Burch, Gary E. Machlis, and JE Force, Yale University Press, 2017 by Choice, the publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries, 2018.

Distinguished Alumni Award, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2014.

Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Forestry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2012.
Scientific Achievement Award, for contributions to advancing science, Washington (DC) Academy of Science, 2011.

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
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