Jake Brenner

Jake Brenner

Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies and Science
Faculty, Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Faculty, Latin American Studies

Specialty:Human-Environment Geography, Land Use, and Water Resources
Phone:(607) 274-3967
Office:258 Ctr for Natural Sciences
Ithaca, NY 14850


I teach human-environment geography, ranging from theories of globalization to environmental management decisions made by individuals in particular places.  My research focuses on how and why landscapes change.  Specifically I am interested in land use, land conservation, institutional analysis, biological invasions,  vulnerability and resilience, peri-urban fringe areas, the deserts of southwestern North America, the forests of northeastern North America, and undergraduate education in geography and environmental studies.  I use mixed methods, including social-scientific surveys, ecological surveys, interviews, focus groups, participant-observation, and geospatial analysis (GPS, GIS, and remote sensing).  I have a long-standing interest in Latin America, having lived and worked in Costa Rica, Bolivia, and Mexico.  Much of my work these days focuses on voluntary conservation by private landowners, including institutes of higher education.  Since 2012 I have served as Faculty Manager of Ithaca College Natural Lands (ICNL). 

For more information on Ithaca College Natural Lands, check out the following Web site:


For a brief explanation of why I love what I do, check out the following video (4 min):




IICC 100: Integration - Connecting the Disciplines

ICSM/HNRS 105: Globalization, the Environment, and You (Honors Program first-year seminar)

ENVS 120: Environmental Sentinels (local environmental knowledge through wilderness awareness skills)

ENVS 220: Human-Environment Geography (primarily case studies of places and objects)

HNRS 230: Not-So-Natural Disasters (Honors Program short seminar)

ENVS 201/301/402: Environmental Research (independent projects: introductory/intermediate/advanced)

ENVS 331: Topics in Geography and Planning – Land Use and Management

ENVS 331: Topics in Geography and Planning – Water Use and Management



Brenner, J. C., S. Lavallato, E. Hileman, I. Bidwell  (2014)  Gaps between Land Conservation Ideals and Practices: Preserving Rural Character by ‘Keeping Danby Danby’  Presentation at the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Sacramento, CA. 

Heffron, S., J. C. Brenner, M. Crocco, C. McClure, D. J. Rutherford, M. Scholz, K. Somdahl-Sands, and K. Sparks. (2013) Improving Geography Education Research across the Different Elements of Geography. Research in Geographic Education 15 (2): 16–28.

Brenner, J. C., J. G. Hamilton, T. Drake, and J. Jordan.  (2013)  Building Local Environmental Knowledge in Undergraduates with Experiential Wilderness Skills and Awareness Training: The Case of Environmental Sentinels. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 3(4): 404–415.

Brenner, J. C., S. Lavallato, M. Cherry, and E. Hileman.  (2013)  Land Use Determines Interest in Conservation Easements among Private Landowners.  Land Use Policy 35: 24-32.

Brenner, J. C. and L. L. Kanda.  (2013)  Land Disturbance Facilitates Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) Invasion from Pastures in Sonora, Mexico.  Invasive Plant Science and Management 6(1): 187-195.

Brenner, J. C. and J. G. Davis.  (2012)  Transboundary Conservation across Scales: A World-Regional Inventory and a Local Case Study from the United States-Mexico Border.  Journal of the Southwest 54(3): 499-520.

Brenner, J. C., Z. J. Christman, and J. Rogan.  (2012)  Segmentation of Landsat Thematic Mapper Imagery Improves Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) Pasture Mapping in the Sonoran Desert of Mexico.  Applied Geography 34: 569-575.

Brenner, J. C.  (2011)  Pasture Conversion, Private Ranchers, and the Invasive Exotic Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) in Mexico’s Sonoran Desert.  Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101(1): 84-106.

Brenner, J. C.  (2010)  What Drives the Conversion of Native Rangeland to Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) Pasture in Mexico’s Sonoran Desert?: The Social Dimensions of a Biological Invasion.  Human Ecology 38(4): 495-505. 

Brenner, J. C., S. Walker, and A. Olsson. (2010)  Vulnerability and Biological Invasion at an Urban-Wildland Interface in Tucson, Arizona.  Presentation at the Global Land Project Open Science Meeting, Tempe, AZ.