Bilal Butt

Assistant Professor


PhD, Michigan State University (geography)

MA, Michigan State University (geography)

(734) 615-6149


Bilal Butt, PhD, is an assistant professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability and a faculty affiliate of the African Studies Center. Bilal is a people-environment geographer with regional specialization in sub-Saharan Africa and technical expertise in geospatial technologies (GPS, GIS & Remote Sensing), ecological monitoring and social-scientific appraisals. His general research interests lie at the intersection of the natural and social sciences to answer questions of how people and wildlife are coping with, and adapting to changing climates, politics, livelihoods and ecologies in arid and semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa.  His current projects investigate: (1) the spatiality of livelihood strategies (resource access and utilization) among pastoral peoples under regimes of increasing climatic variability and uncertainty; (2) the nature of the relationships between wildlife and livestock in dry land pastoral ecosystems of East Africa - examining questions of wildlife-livestock competition; (3) violent and non-violent conflicts over natural resources, and; (4) how mobile information technologies such as cell phones influence natural resource management strategies among pastoral peoples in dry lands.

  • 2016: NSF CAREER Grant: Situated Resilience and the New Geographies of Wildlife-Livestock Relationships.

  • 2013: African Studies Center Research Grant: Technologies of Conversation Governance and State Surveillance in Kenya's Protected Areas.

  • 2012: NSF Starter Grant, Division of Biological Infrastructure: Understanding savanna vegetation dynamics in East Africa under different off-take methods and precipitation regimes.

  • 2011: SNRE SEED Grant: Science, Practice, and Public Participatation: Natural Resource Monitoring in African Protected Areas.


“Bilal Butt, Ming Xu receive NSF CAREER awards”

Gill Chin Lim Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Global Studies, International Studies and Programs at Michigan State University (2008) 

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