News & Resources


New Prof on Au Sable’s Block: Dieter Bouma to Teach Ecology of the Indian Tropics

Oct 11, 2012

The Au Sable Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of its newest faculty member, Dieter Bouma, who will be teaching the 2012-2013 offering of Ecology of the Indian Tropics. Taught for many years by Orin Gelderloos of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Orin stepped down as instructor for the India course in June 2012 to devote his full time attention to research associated with his upcoming sabbatical. After review of qualified applicants, Dieter Bouma was selected to lead this year’s India course. 

A recipient of not one but two graduate degrees, Bouma holds a Master of Science from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment as well as a Master of Public Policy from U of M’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. His graduate research focused on community-based conservation in Nepal, home of the Himalayas and a border country with India.  Through an international forestry research program and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), he researched community-based conservation, specifically how rural communities in Nepal sustainably manage their forests.  The work required interdisciplinary study of forest ecology, social organization, cultural practices, and policy prescriptions.  Bouma plans to bring this interdisciplinary lens to study the Indian subtropics.

Executive Director Fred Van Dyke noted, regarding Dieter’s appointment, “Dieter brings interdisciplinary education and experience to a course that must effectively integrate the science of conservation biology, the legal and political framework of environmental policy, and the social context of Indian culture to successfully accomplish its learning goals. It’s hard to imagine a person better crafted by education and life experience than Dieter to accomplish such a challenging assignment, and even thrive in doing it, but Dieter is that person. Having actually lived, worked and studied in this part of the world, he can show students the significance and subtleties of these interactions in ways they might otherwise miss.” 

In addition to his graduate studies, Bouma gained experience in environmental conservation while working as a watershed specialist for the Huron River Watershed Council and the City of Ann Arbor. He was a student of the Institute in 2004 and 2005, crediting his courses in ‘Tropical Agriculture and Missions,’ ‘Stream Ecology,’ and ‘Woody Plants’ with preparing him for his graduate studies in Nepal.  He was also a member of the Au Sable Graduate Fellows Program from 2007 to 2010. Although Bouma will continue to work full time in communications, development and recruitment for Au Sable, the timing of the India course (December 27, 2012 through January 17, 2013) provides him an opportunity to lead the course without affecting the tasks and schedule of his current position. 

Says Van Dyke, “Au Sable looks forward to an outstanding educational experience for this year’s class of Ecology of the Indian Tropics with Dieter at the helm.”