Photo of Kenneth M. SylvesterKenneth M. Sylvester

Research Associate Professor, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research;
Research Affiliate, Population Studies Center

Brief Biography

Dr. Sylvester studies demographic and socioeconomic behavior in relation to environmental change. A historian by training, Sylvester uses census microdata, geo-spatial data, multivariate and simulation methods to study human-environment relationships, adaptive behavior, agrarian society and environmental impacts, mainly in western North America. Sylvester serves as PI and co-investigator on several awards (NIH, NSF, and SSHRC), including the recently funded "Sustaining Populations and Landscapes at Risk." He also serves as incoming co-editor, with J. David Hacker, of the interdisciplinary journal Historical Methods.

Recent Publications


Gutmann, Myron, G.D. Deane, Kenneth M. Sylvester, and E.R. Merchant. 2011. Navigating Time and Space in Population Studies. Abstract

Sylvester, K.M. 2001. The Limits of Rural Capitalism: Family, Culture, and Markets in Montcalm, Manitoba, 1870-1940. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Journal Articles

Sylvester, Kenneth M., Daniel G. Brown, G. Deane, and R. Kornak. 2013. "Land transitions in the American plains: Multilevel modeling of drivers of grassland conversion (1956-2006)." Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 168: 7-15. PMCID: PMC3634617. DOI. Abstract.

Maxwell, S.K., and Kenneth M. Sylvester. 2012. "Identification of ever and never cropped land (1984-2010) using Landsat and Maximum NDVI image composites: Southwestern Kansas case study." Remote Sensing of Environment, 121: 186-195. DOI.

Sylvester, Kenneth M., and E.S A. Rupley. 2012. "Revising the Dust Bowl: High Above the Kansas Grasslands." Environmental History, 17(3): 603-633. Abstract.

Sylvester, K.M. (2009) "Ecological Frontiers on the Grasslands of Kansas: Changes in Farm Scale and Crop Diversity." Journal of Economic History, 69, 4: 1040-1061. PMCID: PMC2835352. DOI.

Sylvester, K.M. and G.P. Cunfer (2009). "An Unremembered Diversity: Mixed Husbandry and the American Grasslands." Agricultural History, 83, 3: 352-383. PMCID: PMC2766303. DOI.

Sylvester, K.M., S.H. Leonard, M.P. Gutmann, and G. Cunfer, "Demography and environment in grassland settlement: Using linked longitudinal and cross-sectional data to explore household/agricultural systems," History and Computing, 14: 31-60, 2002 (publ. 2006).


Leonard, Susan Hautaniemi, Myron Gutmann, Glenn D. Deane , and Kenneth M. Sylvester. 2010. "Drought and the Lifecycle/Landuse Trajectory in Agricultural Households." In Demographic Responses to Economic and Environmental Crises, Proceedings of the IUSSP Seminar May 21-23, 2009, Reitaku University edited by Satomi Kuroso, Tommy Bengtsson and Cameron Campbell. Kashiwa, Japan: Reitaku University.

Sylvester, K.M., and M.P. Gutmann. 2008. "Dustbowl legacies: long term change and resilience in the shortgrass steppe," in Charles Redman and David Fosters, eds. Agrarian Landscapes in Transition: Comparison of Long-Term Ecological and Cultural Change (New York, Oxford University Press): 122-151.

Sylvester, K.M., and M.P. Gutmann. 2008. "Changing Landscapes across America: A Comparative Perspective," in Charles Redman and David Fosters, eds. Agrarian Landscapes in Transition: Comparison of Long-Term Ecological and Cultural Change (New York, Oxford University Press): 16-43.

Sylvester, K.M., "Rural to urban migration: finding household complexity in a new world environment," in Peter Baskerville and Eric W. Sager. eds., Household Counts: Canadian Households and Families in 1901 (University of Toronto Press, 2007): 147-179.

Sylvester, K.M., and C.L. Redman. 2007. "Integrating the Biophysical and Social Sciences," in Max Schnepf and Craig Cox, eds., Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality, Strengthening the Science Base (Ankeny, Iowa: Soil and Water Conservation Society): 17-20.


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