Martin Nie

Photo of Nie, Martin

Martin Nie

Professor, Natural Resource Policy; Director, Bolle Center for People & Forests


Personal Summary

Martin Nie is Professor of Natural Resources Policy and Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests. As appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Nie is currently serving on the U.S. Forest Service’s National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. In 2015, Nie received the College's "Druids Outstanding Professor Award."

Nie’s research broadly focuses on federal lands and wildlife policy, law, planning, and management. Some of Nie’s more recent projects focus on reform proposals and initiatives in National Forest law and management, the future prospects of the Wilderness Preservation System, the rewriting of National Forest plans, and the practice of adaptive management. Nie’s latest book is The Governance of Western Public Lands: Mapping Its Present and Future (2008).

Martin regularly teaches Natural Resources Policy (NRSM 422), Wildlife Policy (WILD 410) and more specialized policy courses at the graduate level. His goal in research and teaching is to provide trusted and relevant information, analysis, and questions to decision makers and students. He cares deeply about federal lands and their future conservation and management. 

Nie grew up in Ontario, Canada and received degrees from the University of Nebraska and Northern Arizona University. He loves to ski, hike, backpack, float rivers, hunt and hang out in his garage. He also enjoys photography, music, playing a lot of hockey, good (and not good) beer, strong cheese, bread and pastries.


Ph.D. Northern Arizona University, Department of Political Science (Environmental Policy Program)

B.A.  University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, Department of Political Science.

Courses Taught

NRSM 422:  Natural Resources Policy (undergraduate & graduate).  This course examines public land and resources policy, law and administration from multiple perspectives.  It covers environmental and administrative decision making and various contemporary resource management problems and conflicts.  A number of substantive policy areas are examined including national forests, public rangelands, water, wildlife and biodiversity, and protected areas, among others.  These substantive areas are approached and analyzed in a number of different ways.  422 is generally taught every fall and spring semester, and can be taken for undergraduate and graduate credit. Spring 2013 syllabus.

WILD 410: Wildlife Policy. This course examines wildlife law, policy and politics from multiple perspectives. Students are provided an intense introduction to the legal framework of fish and wildlife management in the United States (with coverage of U.S. and state constitutions, key wildlife statutes, administrative regulations, and case law).  The political context of wildlife management is provided so that students can better understand the conflicts and tensions in the field. A major part of the class focuses on the Endangered Species Act. This important law is used as a way to investigate a number of broader challenges and opportunities related to the conservation of biological diversity. The class is organized as a discussion-oriented large seminar with roughly thirty undergraduate and graduate students. Most sessions will include a very short background lecture followed by more in-depth class discussions on assigned readings. Spring 2015 Syllabus

WILD 410 v. NRSM 422 Natural Resources Policy: There is no prerequisite for WILD 410 but students are strongly encouraged to first take NRSM 422.  The latter provides a foundational introduction to the field of natural resources law and policy, with a wider focus on federal land management, water law, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). There will inevitably be some overlap between the two courses but WILD 410 is designed to provide students a more narrow and specialized introduction to policy and politics, with a focus on wildlife conservation. 

NRSM 622: Advanced Problems in Environmental Policy.  The seminar examines a number of policy problems and contemporary issues in environmental policy, law, and administration.  Problems and opportunities related to public land conflict and governance, environmental planning, science and decision making, tribal resource management, and private land development, among others, are analyzed.  It is a readings-based seminar and students lead most reviews and discussions.

Research Interests

A "research news profile" written about Nie's work focused on national forest and federal lands planning.

Field of Study

federal public land and resources policy, wildlife policy, environmental conflict, conservation strategy, property, governance.


Nie is the Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests

Core faculty member in the College's Resource Conservation Program.

Lake Upsata Muledraggers (Glacier Hockey League)

Off-and-on again relationship with the Nebraska Cornhuskers (mostly on) and Toronto Maple Leafs (mostly off)

Selected Publications

Nie, M. & C. Barns, "The 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act: The Next Chapter in Wilderness Designation, Politics and Management," Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy 5 (2014): 237-301.  See coverage of topic and article in Greenwire

Nie, M. & E. Schembra. "The Important Role of Standards in National Forest Planning, Law, and Management," Environmental Law Reporter 44 (2014): 10281-10298.

Nie, M. “Invited Testimony on Montana Legislature’s Joint Resolution No. 15 on the Study of Public Land Management in Montana.”(On the effort to study the transfer of federal lands to the state of Montana).  Montana State Legislature’s Environmental Quality Council, Helena, MT.  Sept. 11, 2013.

Schultz, C., T. Sisk, B. Noon, and M. Nie. “Wildlife Conservation Planning under the United States Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule,” Journal of Wildlife Management 77, no. 3 (2013): 428-444.

Nie, M. “Whatever Happened to Ecosystem Management and Federal Lands Planning?” in Kalyani Robbins, ed., The Laws of Nature: Reflections on the Evolution of Ecosystem Management Law and Policy (Akron, OH: University of Akron Press, 2013), pp. 67-94.

Nie, M. and C. Schultz, “Decision-Making Triggers in Adaptive Management,” Conservation Biology 26, no. 6 (2012): 1137-1144.

Schultz, C. and M. Nie, “Decision-Making Triggers, Adaptive Management, and Natural Resources Law and Planning,” Natural Resources Journal 52 (2012): 443-521

Nie, M. "Place-Based National Forest Legislation and Agreements: Common Characteristics and Policy Recommendations," Environmental Law Reporter, 41 (2011): 10229-10246.  PDF hereAppendix (comparison tables).

Nie, M. Prepared Statement on National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule.  U.S. Forest Service, National Science Forum (Washington, D.C.: March 30, 2010). PDF here.

Nie, M. & M. Fiebig. "Managing the National Forests through Place-Based Legislation," Ecology Law Quarterly, 37, no. 1 (2010): 1-52.  PDF here.

Nie, M. Congressional Testimony on S. 1470, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.  U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Dec. 14, 2009).  PDF here.

Nie, M. "Interview with President Bush's Undersecretary of Agriculture, Mark Rey," Headwaters News (April 22, 2009).

Burchfield, J. & M. Nie. National Forests Policy Assessment: Report to Senator Jon Tester (Missoula, MT: University of Montana, College of Forestry and Conservation, 2008).  PDF here.

Nie, M. "The Use of Co-Management and Protected Land Use Designations to Protect Tribal Cultural Resources and Reserved Treaty Rights on Federal Lands," Natural Resources Journal, 48 (2008): 1-63. PDF here.

Nie, M. "The Underappreciated Role of Regulatory Enforcement in Natural Resource Conservation," Policy Sciences, 41, no. 2 (2008): 139-164.  PDF here.

Nie, M. The Governance of Western Public Lands: Mapping Its Present & Future (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008)

Nie, M. “Governing the Tongass: National Forest Conflict & Political Decision Making,” Environmental Law 36, no. 2 (2006): 385-480. PDF here.

Nie, M. “The 2005 National Forest System Land and Resource Management Planning Regulations: Comments and Analysis.” Public Land & Resources Law Review 27 (2006): 99-106. PDF here.

Nie, M. “Statutory Detail and Administrative Discretion in Public Lands Governance: Arguments and Alternatives,” Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation 19, no. 2 (2004/2005): 223-291. PDF here.

Nie, M. “Administrative Rulemaking and Public Lands Conflict: The Forest Service’s Roadless Rule.” Natural Resources Journal 44 (2004): 687-742. PDF here.

Nie, M. “State Wildlife Governance and Carnivore Conservation,” in Nina Fascione, Aimee Delach, and Martin E. Smith, eds., People and Predators: From Conflict to Coexistence (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004), pp. 197-218.

Nie, M. “State Wildlife Policy and Management: The Scope and Bias of Political Conflict.” Public Administration Review 64, no. 2 (2004): 206-218.

Nie, M. “Drivers of Natural Resource-based Political Conflict.” Policy Sciences 36 (2003): 307-341. PDF here.

Nie, M. Beyond Wolves: The Politics of Wolf Recovery and Management (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003)

In the News

Nie's opposition to transferring federal lands to the states covered in USA Today (April 25, 2015)

Nie, M. & C. Barns, "Wilderness: The Next 50 Years?" Mountain West Perspectives (Sept. 10, 2014)

Editorial, "How the Proposed 'Transfer' of Public Lands to Western States is a Prelude to Privatization," Missoulian (Sept. 4, 2014) (as also published by Billings Gazette, Independent Record, Montana Standard, and WyoFile).  See also follow-up editorial by the Billings Gazette, "Americans' Inheritance cannot be given away."

Nie selected as U.S. Forest Service national advisory committee member to help guide management of public forest and grasslands, USDA News Release (Aug. 12, 2014)

Interview with Montana Public Radio, about the latest Sagebrush Rebellion, "Sagebrush Rebels Rise Again" (Dec. 2013). 

Interview with Capitol Ideas (The Council of State Governments) on the latest Sagebrush Rebellion, "The New Battle Lands: States Seeking Control of Public Lands in the West," Jan. 2014.

Coverage of Montana's "public lands study" and the latest Sagebrush Rebellion, the Missoula Independent, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Bitterroot Star