Jeff Langholz
McCone Building M214
(831) 647-6418

Professor Langholz is passionate about sustainability of the world’s natural resources, asking “How can we use fisheries, forests, wildlife, water, and other natural resources in ways that meet our current needs while also protecting them for the future?”

His teaching and research draw from extensive professional experience with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and consultancies across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. A past Fulbright Scholar in South Africa, Langholz is an award-winning researcher and teacher whose work has generated coverage in over 250 media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, National Geographic, and The Economist.

In a previous life, Langholz was a salmon rancher with a non-profit hatchery in Alaska, a rice farmer with the U.S. Peace Corps in West Africa, and a professional mediator. His on-campus service includes stints on the Faculty Senate and as a Program Chair. Off campus, he has served on the boards of several non-profits, most recently Foundations of Success and a local land trust called The Santa Lucia Conservancy.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

This course introduces students to public policy theory and practice with an emphasis on international environmental topics. Using a variety of exercises, case studies, lectures, and assignments, students will learn answers to the following questions: What is public policy? Who makes it? What forms does it take? What issues does it address? How is it made? How do policies differ across contexts? What is “policy analysis” and how do I do it? As a half-semester, two-unit course, the goal is not to transform students into a political scientist but rather to deliver the foundational knowledge and skills needed to understand and work effectively within the policy arena.

Fall 2018 - MIIS, MIIS First Half of Term, Fall 2019 - MIIS, MIIS First Half of Term

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Achieving large-scale, long-term impact often entails changing public policy. Unfortunately, many current and future professionals lack an understanding of proven strategies for achieving policy change. This course helps fill that gap by delivering essential knowledge and skills for policy change. It focuses on ten proven models that apply not just across policy topics such as environment, development, trade and security, but also across policy decision-making levels, from local and regional to national and global.

Fall 2019 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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Overwhelming scientific data indicates that fisheries, forests, freshwater and other natural resources continue to decline and most biodiversity conservation projects fail to accomplish their goals. This course addresses both problems. It delivers state of the art techniques for designing conservation projects that have the strongest possible chance of success and evaluating the extent of that success. Examples include: knowing the conservation project cycle, assessing site conditions, developing management plans, and creating monitoring and evaluation plans. This "learn by doing" course emphasizes hands-on practice, especially through a conservation project management software program called Miradi. Although the course emphasizes site specific, in situ biodiversity conservation (i.e. protected natural areas), the skills and knowledge can apply to a wide range of environmental projects and programs.

Fall 2018 - MIIS, Fall 2019 - MIIS

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This course is about saving life on earth. It provides the scientific foundation required to formulate sound environmental policies capable of addressing human population growth, habitat destruction, resource overexploitation, and other anthropogenic factors that continue to undermine the earth’s ecological systems. The course focuses on scientific underpinnings of conserving the world’s remaining biological diversity (aka “biodiversity”). It draws from biology, ecology, and other natural sciences to deliver the broad scientific training that future policymakers need. As a short survey course, the goal is not to transform you into a biologist or an ecologist, but rather to equip you with the basic knowledge you need to understand how the natural world works, speak the language with confidence, and use science to develop sound environmental policy.

Spring 2019 - MIIS

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Environmental conflicts continue to rise in frequency and intensity across much of the world. Growing human population and dwindling natural resource stocks exacerbate the problem. “Resource wars” have convinced scholars and policy makers alike that environmental factors play a critical international security role. Despite increased attention to the natural resources and conflict, a significant information gap persists. Scholars know surprisingly little about the conditions under which fisheries, forests, wildlife, minerals, water, and other resources lead to (or exacerbate) conflict. They know even less about the best ways to prevent or resolve such conflicts. Thus, growing demand exists for professionals who can analyze root causes of these conflicts and apply tools for resolving them. This course helps fill that demand. It uses lectures, case studies, role plays, and simulations to deliver techniques for analyzing, preventing, and resolving natural resource disputes worldwide.

Spring 2019 - MIIS

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Green Business Feasibility Assessment

This course provides hands-on experience conducting a rigorous feasibility assessment for a new triple-bottom-line business. Applying a well-established methodology, students will research and write a detailed feasibility assessment covering several factors, among them: the venture type, industry context, resource needs, target market(s), potential benefits (including social and environmental), key risks, and financial review. In their written report and oral presentation, students will also make an overall recommendation to implement, postpone, or not implement the new business.

The Spring 2016 course focuses on water solutions. In particular, students will analyze the potential for an innovative, California-based business model to help alleviate water challenges in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom. Regardless of the theme, country, or final recommendation, all students will gain a practical, career-enhancing skill and with a strong writing sample to back it up.

Spring 2019 - MIIS

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Areas of Interest

Professor Langholz is all about maximizing impact. For him, making the biggest possible difference means focusing on three things: policy, business, and leadership. His policy work emphasizes designing, implementing, and evaluating effective policies across multiple scales and topics. On the business side, he is a successful “green” entrepreneur with direct experience in roles such as CEO, president, advisor, director, and angel investor. For leadership, he emphasizes innovation, collaboration, and communication. This includes a highly rated leadership course Jeff developed as a visiting adjunct professor at Stanford University, then delivered to grad students from Stanford, the Institute, and other area schools.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Natural Resource Policy & Management, Cornell University
  • MS in Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development, University of Maryland, College Park
  • BA in History, Dana College

Professor Langholz has been teaching at the Institute since 1999.


  • Langholz, J. (forthcoming in 2014). Private Protected Areas: A Global Movement for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Langholz, J. and A. Abeles. 2014. Rethinking postgraduate education for marine conservation. Marine Policy 43(1):372–375.
  • Langholz, J., Sand, K., Raak, L., Berner, A., Anderson, H., Geels, B., McKeehan, A., and A. Nelsen. 2013. Strategies and tactics for managing environmental conflicts: Insights from Goldman Environmental Prize recipients. Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 5(1): 1-17.
  • Langholz, J. and M. Jay-Russell. 2013. The potential role of wildlife in pathogenic contamination of fresh produce. Human-Wildlife Interactions 7(1):140–157.
  • Gennet S., Howard J., Langholz J., Andrews K., Reynolds M., and S. Morrison. 2013. Farm practices for food safety: An emerging threat to floodplain and riparian ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology & Environment; doi:10.1890/120243.
  • Langholz, J. and F. DePaolis. 2013. Economic Contributions of Santa Cruz County Agriculture. Office of the Agricultural Commissioner, Santa Cruzy County, CA.
  • Langholz, J. and F. DePaolis. 2013. Economic Contributions of San Luis Obispo County Agriculture. Office of the Agricultural Commissioner, San Luis Obispo County, CA.
  • Langholz, J. and F. DePaolis. 2012. Economic Contributions of Monterey County Agriculture. Office of the Agricultural Commissioner, Monterey County, CA.
  • Langholz, J. 2010. Global Trends in Private Protected Areas and Their Implications for the Northern Great Plains. Great Plains Research 20(1): 9-16.
  • Lowell, K., Langholz, J. and D. Stuart. 2010. Safe and Sustainable: Co-Managing for Food Safety and Ecological Health in California’s Central Coast Region. Georgetown University and The Nature Conservancy. 131 pp.
  • Langholz, J. 2009. Saving Species, Privately. World Watch Magazine 22(5):7-11.
  • Langholz, J. and K. Turner. 2008. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways (2nd Edition). Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing.
  • Sims-Castley, R., G. Kerley, B. Geach, and J. Langholz. 2006. Socio-economic significance of ecotourism-based private game reserves in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. PARKS 15:2, 6-15.
  • Langholz, J. and Krug, W. 2004. New Forms of Biodiversity Governance: Non-State Actors and the Private Protected Area Action Plan. Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy 7:9-29.
  • Langholz, J. 2004. Forest Recreation on Private Lands. In: Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. New York: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • Langholz, J. 2004. Lessons from Global Climate Change: A Proposed Kyoto Protocol for the World’s Oceans. Pages 43-58, In: S. Uno, T. Katsumura, and H. Imaoka (editors), Development of Marine Resources and Ocean Governance: The Environment of Coastal Regions along the Sea of Japan. Hamada, Japan: University of Shimane Press.
  • Langholz, J. and K. Turner. 2003. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and Save Money!): 51 Easy Ways. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing.
  • Langholz, J. 2003. Privatizing Conservation. Pages 117-135, In: S. Brechin, P. Wilshusen, P. West, and C. Fortwangler (editors), Contested Nature: Promoting International Biodiversity with Social Justice in the 21st Century. New York: State University of New York Press.
  • Langholz, J. 2002. Privately Owned Parks. Pages 172-188, In: J. Terborgh, C. van Schaik, L. Davenport, and M. Rao (editors), Making Parks Work: Strategies for Preserving Tropical Forests. Covelo, CA: Island Press.
  • Langholz, J. 2002. External Partnering for the Triple Bottom Line: People, Profits, and the Protection of Biodiversity. Corporate Environmental Strategy 9(1):1-10.
  • Kramer, R., Langholz, J. and N. Salafsky. 2002. The Role of the Private Sector in Protected Area Establishment and Management: A Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Effectiveness. Pages 335-351, In: J. Terborgh, C. van Schaik, L. Davenport, and M. Rao (editors), Making Parks Work: Strategies for Preserving Tropical Forests. Covelo, CA: Island Press.
  • Langholz, J., and J. Lassoie. 2002. Combining Conservation and Development on Private Lands: Lessons from Costa Rica. Environment, Development, and Sustainability.
  • Langholz, J. and K. Brandon. 2001. Ecotourism and Privately Owned Protected Areas. Pages 303-314, In: D. Weaver (editor), The Encyclopedia of Ecotourism. Oxon, United Kingdom: CAB International.
  • Langholz, J., and J. Lassoie. 2001. Perils and Promise of Privately Owned Protected Areas. BioScience 51(12):1079-1085.
  • Langholz, J., J. Lassoie, and J. Schelhas. 2000. Incentives for Biodiversity Conservation: Lessons from Costa Rica’s Private Wildlife Refuge Program. Conservation Biology 14(6): 1735-1743.
  • Langholz, J., J. Lassoie, D. Lee, and D. Chapman. 2000. Economic Considerations of Privately Owned Parks. Ecological Economics 33(2):173-183.
  • Langholz, J. 1999. Exploring the Effects of Alternative Income Opportunities on Rainforest Use: Insights from Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve. Society and Natural Resources 12:139-149.
  • Uphoff, N., and J. Langholz. 1998. Incentives for Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons. Environmental Conservation 25(3): 251-261.
  • Langholz, J. 1996. Economics, Objectives, and Success of Private Nature Reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Conservation Biology 10(1):271-280.
  • Langholz, J. 1996. Ecotourism Impact at Independently Owned Nature Reserves in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Miller, Joseph and E.Malek-Zadeh (editors), The Ecotourism Equation: Measuring the Impacts. New Haven, CT: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Bulletin Series, No.99

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