Photo of Kenneth M. SylvesterKenneth M. Sylvester

Director of Research and Sponsored Programs, University of Michigan-Flint
Adjunct Research Associate Professor, ICPSR

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

Journal Articles

Sylvester, K.M., and P.W. Rhode, "Making Green Revolutions: Kansas farms, recovery and the new agriculture, 1918-1981," Agricultural History, forthcoming, 90, 4, 2016.

Sylvester, Kenneth M., Myron Gutmann, and Daniel G. Brown. 2015. "At the margins: agriculture, subsidies and the shifting fate of North America's native grassland." Population and Environment, DOI. Abstract.

Sylvester, Kenneth M., Daniel G. Brown, Susan Hautaniemi Leonard, Emily Merchant, and Meghan Hutchins. 2015. "Exploring agent-level calculations of risk and returns in relation to observed land-use changes in the US Great Plains, 1870-1940." Regional Environmental Change, 15(2): 301-315. PMCID: PMC4340090. DOI. Abstract.

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.


White, S.A., K.M. Sylvester and R.P. Tucker, 'Climate and North American History: The State of the Field,' in Bernd Sommer, ed., Cultural Dynamics of Climate Change and the Environment in Northern America. Climate and Culture vol. 3 (Leiden: Brill, 2015): 109-136.

Sylvester, K.M., and S.H. Leonard, 'Revisiting wealth on the American frontier: the distribution of land in Kansas, 1875-1940,' in P. Baskerville and K. Inwood, eds., Lives in Transition: Longitudinal Analysis from Historical Sources (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015): 165-186.

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.


View staff list