Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
As Co-PI, Dr. Stepp is collaboratively leading the social-science components in China to examine social networks, perceptions, and ecological knowledge of tea farmers.
Dr. Stepp has conducted biocultural conservation research over the last two decades primarily in the Maya Forest (working with Highland Maya and Lowland Maya and Garinagu) and in the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia along with shorter research trips in several other countries worldwide. His research explores persistence, change and variation of traditional ecological knowledge and ethnobiology. Much of this work has focused on wild food plants and medicinal plants.
Dr. Stepp’s work has also focused on patterns in the distribution of biological and cultural diversity (biocultural diversity) on a global scale. Other interests include the anthropology of food, medical anthropology, visual anthropology, social science research methods, GIS and land use change and human perceptions of climate change. He is also involved in documentary and ethnographic film production on topics both related and unrelated to his primary research.
Dr. Stepp’s work has been profiled by ABC News, Americas Magazine, Business Week, the Lancet, National Geographic, National Public Radio, New Scientist, and Trends in Plant Science, among others. He is founding editor of the Journal of Ecological Anthropology, former editor of the Journal of Ethnobiology and currently senior associate editor of Economic Botany, associate editor of the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine and associate editor of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture.
He is also on the editorial boards of Ethnobotany Research and Applications and Ethnobiology Letters. Lastly, Dr. Stepp is secretary/treasurer of the Anthropology & Environment Society and president-elect of the Society for Economic Botany.