Tom Beckley

Professor, Enviro./Natural Res. Social Science


Forestry and Environmental Management

Forestry/Geology 211

1 506 453 4917

Academic interests

  • Social problems and issues in forest dependent communities
  • Public participation in resource management and policy
  • Criteria and indicators of sustainable development
  • Community capacity, sustainability and adaptability
  • Environmental values and stewardship
  • Sociology of energy, energy literacy, and climate change

Brief biography

Dr. Tom Beckley has been working in the field of natural resource sociology in Canada since 1993. Since his undergraduate studies in sociology/anthropology and environmental studies he has been interested in the intersection of culture and social processes on resource management.

Dr. Beckley received both his Master’s degree in Rural Sociology and his PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). Since 2000, he has been teaching in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at UNB in Fredericton. Dr. Beckley’s teaching focuses on human dimensions of natural resource management. This includes macro social structures and systems as well as systems of values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour. He deals extensively with the role of ethics and values and how they combine with science in management processes. He also focuses on practical skills of writing, oral communication, critical thinking, critical writing, and ethical reflection.

Prior to joining UNB, he worked as the first research sociologist ever hired by the Canadian Forest Service, first in Alberta and New Brunswick. His research has focused on social dynamics in community sustainability, social indicators, sense of place, community forestry, public engagement in forest management, planning and policy and most recently, energy and climate change.

Dr. Beckley served as co-editor of Society and Natural Resources from 2009-2011.

In his personal life, he tries to live his environmental values through managing his own 100 acre woodlot, making maple syrup, foraging, and growing much of his own food.

Courses taught

  • Social & Cultural Systems
  • Nature, Society & Social Ecology
  • Resource Management Issues, Ethics, Communications I
  • Resource Management Issues, Ethics, Communications II
  • Environmental Field Camp

Selected research

Beckley, T. M. 2017. Energy and the rural sociological imagination. Journal of Rural Social Sciences. 32(2):69–97

Parkins, J. R., T. M. Beckley, L. Comeau, R. C. Stedman. C Rollins, A. Kessler. 2017. Can Distrust Enhance Public Engagement? Insights From a National Survey on Energy Issues in Canada. Society and Natural Resources. 30(8):934-948."

Beckley, T. M. 2014. Public engagement, planning, and politics in the forest sector in New Brunswick, 1997-2014. Journal of New Brunswick Studies. 5:41-65

Quartuch, M. R. and T. M. Beckley. 2014. Carrots and sticks: Attitudes of small-scale forest landowners toward incentives and regulation in New Brunswick and Maine. Environmental Management. 53(1) :202-218.

Beckley, T. M., D. J. Martz, S. Nadeau, W. C. Reimer, and E. Wall. 2008. Multiple capacities, multiple outcomes: Delving deeper into the meaning of community capacity. Journal of Rural and Community Development. 3(3):56-75

Beckley, T. M., R. C. Stedman, S. Wallace, and M. Ambard. 2007. Snapshots of what matters most: Using photo-elicitation to articulate sense of place. Society and Natural Resources. 20(10):913-929.