Stephen F. Siebert (PhD)
Chief Technical Advisor and Forest Ecologist

My interests focus on the ecology and management of traditional land uses and effects that changes in historic social-ecological systems have on ecosystem composition, structure and function.  I have conducted long-term studies in Bhutan, Indonesia, Philippines, Belize and Greece.  I was on the faculty of the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana from 1990-2017 where I taught courses in International Environmental Change, Social Forestry, Tropical Conservation and Management field courses and established and directed a graduate program in International Conservation and Development.  I now continue investigations of changes in traditional land use systems and assist with academic institution and faculty development efforts.

Research Interests

  • Historic land uses and biological diversity
  • Ecology, use and management of non-timber forest products (rattan)
  • Ecology, management and changes in shifting cultivation systems
  • Coffee and cacao-based agroforestry systems
  • Conservation farming practices in tropical uplands


  • Ph.D. Cornell University, 1990. Major: forest science; minors: agronomy, Southeast Asian Studies, international agriculture
  • M.S. Cornell University, 1983. Major: natural resources; minor: environmental planning.
  • B.A. Colgate University, 1978. Biology (magna cum laude)

Professional Experience

  • Professor, Tropical Forest Conservation and Management, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana (1990-2017)
  • Established and directed an M.S. degree option in International Conservation and Development, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana (1994-2017)
  • Principal Investigator and Director (w. Dr. J. Belsky) of institutional and faculty development: Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (2006-2014)
  • Principal Investigator and Director of institutional and faculty development: University College of Belize (1991-1997)


Siebert, S.F. and J.M. Belsky. 2017. Keeping ecological disturbance on the land: Recreating Swidden Effects in Bhutan.  In: M. Cairns (ed.). Shifting Cultivation Policies: Balancing Environmental and Social Sustainability. CABI, London. (in press). Belsky, J.M. and S.F. Siebert. 2016. Combining Political Ecology and Ecological Disturbance Theory to Understand an Historic Forest Land Use and Livelihood in Bhutan: Lessons for Forest Conservation and Development. IUCN Social Science for Conservation. Working Paper #1. Siebert, S.F. and J.M. Belsky. 2015. Managed fuelwood harvesting for energy, income and conservation:  An opportunity for Bhutan. Biomass and Bioenergy 74:220-223. Siebert, S.F. and J.M. Belsky 2014. Historic livelihoods and land uses as ecological disturbances and their role in enhancing biodiversity: An example from Bhutan. Biological Conservation 177:82-89. Siebert, S., J. Belsky, S. Wangchuk, J. Riddering. 2014. The end of swidden in Bhutan: Implications for forest cover and biodiversity. In: M. Cairns (ed.). Shifting Cultivation and Environmental Change: Indigenous People, Agriculture and Forest Conversion. Earthscan, London. pp. 546-558. Wangchuk, S., S.F. Siebert, J.M. Belsky. 2014. Fuelwood use and availability in Bhutan: Implications for national policy and local forest management. Human Ecology 42:127-135. Namgyel, U.; J. Belsky; S. Siebert 2014. Participation and governance challenges along the Nabji community-based ecotourism trail in Bhutan. Journal Proceedings of the Bhutan Ecological Society 1:9. Wangchuk, S. and S.F. Siebert. 2013. Agricultural change in Bumthang, Bhutan: Market opportunities, government policies and climate change. Society and Natural Resources 26:1375-1389. Namgyel, U.; S. Siebert, S. Wang. 2008. Shifting cultivation and biodiversity conservation in Bhutan.  Conservation Biology 22:1349-1351. Siebert, S.F. and J.M. Belsky. 2007. Reflections on Conservation Education and Practice in Bhutan. Journal of Bhutan Studies 16:83-111. Siebert, S.F. 2012. The Nature and Culture of Rattan: Reflections on Vanishing Life in the Forests of Southeast Asia. University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu, HI. 145p.