Matt Turner

Position title: Professor


Department of Geography
160 Science Hall
550 N. Park Street
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706


Ph.D., Univ of California-Berkeley, 1992


Environmental governance, political ecology, savanna/steppe ecology, critical development studies, STS, Africa, remote sensing/GIS


Political ecology, development theory, politics of conservation and conservation science, remote sensing/GIS applications to natural resource management, pastoralism and common property theory, ecology of tropical savanna/steppe vegetation, range ecology


Interdisciplinary L&S 106: Global Poverty: Cross-cultural Perspectives
Geography/EnvSt 339: Environmental Conservation
Geography 355: Africa South of the Sahara
Geography/EnvSt 537: Culture and Environment
Geograpy 766: Geographical Inquiry and Analysis


Ribot, J.C., P. Faye, and M.D. Turner. (in press). Climate of anxiety: Sahelian emigration under a changing sky. Public Culture
Turner, M.D. 2018. Assessment through socioecological abstraction: The case of nutrient management models in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa. Land Use Policy. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.09.034.
Turner, M.D., Moumouni, O., 2018. The dividing of fields in Sudano-Sahelian West Africa: The roles of soil fertility variation and legal doctrine. Land Use Policy 77, 362-374.
Turner, M.D. and O. Moumouni. 2018. Mosaics of property: Control of village land in West Africa. Journal of Peasant Studies. DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2018.1439931
Goldman, M.J., Turner, M.D., Daly, M., 2018. A critical political ecology of human dimensions of climate change: Epistemology, ontology, and ethics. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 9, e526.
Turner, M.D. 2018. Questions of imbalance: Environmental science and the assessment of land degradation in dryland West Africa. pgs 421-441 In: R. Lave, C. Biermann, and S. Lane, Eds. Handbook of Critical Physical Geography. Palgrave Publishing.
Turner, M.D. 2017. Livestock mobility and the territorial state: South-Western Niger (1890-1920). Africa 87(3):578-606.
Turner, M.D. 2017. Political ecology and scale. In D. Richardson, N. Castree, M.F. Goodchild, A.L. Kobayashi, W. Liu and R. Marston (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Geography. London, Wiley-Blackwell.
Coppock, L., M. Fernandez-Gimenez, P. Hiernaux, E. Huber-Sannwald, C. Schloeder, C.B. Valdiva, J.T. Arredondo, M.J. Jacobs, and M.D. Turner. 2017. Rangelands in developing nations: Conceptual advances and societal implications in D.D. Briske, Ed. Rangeland Systems: Processes, Management and Challenges.
Turner, M.D. 2016. Political Ecology III: The commons and commoning. Progress in Human Geography. doi:10.1177/0309132516664433.
Turner, M.D. 2016. Rethinking land endowment and inequality in rural Africa: The importance of soil fertility. World Development 87: 258-273.
Turner, M.D., B. Butt, A. Singh, A.A. Ayantunde and B. Gerard. 2016. Variation in vegetative cover and livestock mobility needs in Sahelian West Africa. Journal of Land Use Science 11: 76-95.
Umutoni,C. A. Ayantunde ,M. Turner and G. J. Sawadogo. 2016. Community participation in decentralized management of natural resources in the southern region of Mali. Environment and Natural Resource Research 6 (2): 1-15. DOI:
Turner, M.D., J.G. McPeak, K. Gillin, E. Kitchell and N. Kimambo 2016. Reconciling flexibility and tenure security for pastoral resources: The geography of transhumance networks in eastern Senegal. Human Ecology 44: 199-215.
Turner, M.D. 2016. Climate vulnerability as a relational concept. Geoforum 68: 29-38.
Turner, M.D. 2015. Integrating politics and ecology through mixed methods. In R.L. Bryant (Ed.), International Handbook of Political Ecology. London, Edward Elgar Publishing.
Ayantunde, A.A., M.D. Turner, and A. Kalilou. 2015. Participatory analysis of vulnerability to drought in three agro-pastoral communities in the West African Sahel. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 5(13). DOI 10.1186/s13570-015-0033-x
Turner, M.D. and P. Hiernaux 2015. The effects of management history and landscape position on inter-field variation in soil fertility and millet yields in southwestern Niger Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 211: 73-83
Turner, M.D.2015. Political ecology II: Engagements with ecology. Invited essay. Progress in Human Geography 1-9 DOI: 10.1177/0309132515577025.
Turner, M.D. 2014. Principled engagements in political ecology. ACME 13(4): 478-488
Kitchell, E., M.D. Turner, and J. McPeak. 2014 Mapping of pastoral corridors: Practices and politics in Eastern Senegal. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 4: 17
Turner, M.D., J. McPeak, and A.A. Ayantunde. 2014. The role of livestock mobility in the livelihood strategies of rural peoples in semi-arid West Africa. Human Ecology. doi:10.1007/s10745-013-9636-2.
Turner, M. D., B. Butt, A. Singh, L. Brottem, A. A. Ayantunde and B. Gerard 2014. Mobility needs of pastoral livestock in semi-arid Africa. Land Use Science. DOI 10.1080/1747423X.2014.965280


Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor (2014-)
Abo S. Sher Faculty Fellow (January 2009-December 2013)
Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, September 2002-August 2003
Vilas Associate, University of Wisconsin, Madison July 2002-June 2004


Catherine Day “Climate Adaptation on Southwestern Farms: A Network Political Ecology of Farm Decision-making in a Changing Climate” [completed 8/18]Michael Eggen (co-advised with Mutlu Ozdogan) “Climate Change Impacts to Smallholder Cropping Strategies of Choke Mountain, Ethiopia” [completed 6/18]Kramer Gillin “Livestock Mobility, Pasture Management, and Socio-Environmental Change in Central Tajikistan” Erin Kitchell “Institutional Arrangements for Concerted Resource Management in Agropastoral areas of Senegal and Mali” Jules Reynolds (co-advised with Michael Bell) “Malawi, Maize, and Multiple Knowledges: A multispecies ethnography of climate change knowledge and practice in rural Malawi”Sarah Stefanos (co-advised with Rob Beattie)”Investors, Transnational Institutions, Commercial Agriculture, and Agrarian Transformation in Twenty-First Century Ethiopia” Molly Teague (co-advised with Lisa Naughton) “Cocoa Cultivation and Forest Conservation in Côte d’Ivoire” Emmanuel Urey “Political Ecology of Land and Agriculture Concessions in Liberia” [completed 5/18] Allen Xiao (co-advised with Bob Kaiser) “Encountering Ethnicities in the African City: A Performative Ethnography of Urban Youth”