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Stephen R. Gliessman

Alfred E. Heller Professor of Agroecology
Department of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz

B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Barbara


        My teaching area focuses on agroecology, sustainable agriculture, organic gardening, and ethnobotany, but also includes California natural history, botany and ecology. My research is carried out within the framework of agroecology, defined as the application of ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable food systems.  My primary research is focused on the identification, measurement, and monitoring of the ecological components of sustainability in agriculture, and the connection of these components to the economic and social aspects of long-term food system design and management.   Research projects are in progress on  the conversion of conventional cropping systems to ecologically-based management, the interface between agroecosystems and natural ecosystems, the development of alternative food networks that directly link producers and consumers, and the sustainability of traditional farming systems in developing countries.   I frequently lead and/or coordinate international short courses and training programs in agroecology, with a focus on strengthening the connection between agroecological knowledge and the sustainability of agricultural communities. 

In 2008, Steve Gliessman stepped into the position of Chief Editor of the internationally known Journal of Sustainable Agriculture.  This professional journal is devoted specifically and entirely to the rapidly emerging fields of agroecology and sustainability science. The journal focuses on the changes that need to occur in the design and management of our food systems in order to balance natural resource use and environmental protection, with the needs of production, economic viability, and social well-being.  It increases professional and public awareness and gains support for the changes needed in our agricultural systems, and involved all parts of the food system from the seed to the table.  Rather than focus on separate disciplinary components of agriculture and food systems, this journal uses an interdisciplinary approach to food production as one process in a complex landscape of agricultural production, conservation, and human interaction.  Sustainable agriculture is a global problem, and a global change initiative is needed.  This journal will strive to become the forum for sustainable alternatives. Each issue of the journal is introduced by an editorial where a current food system issue is addressed by the Editor.


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