Martin Nie

Photo of Nie, Martin

Martin Nie

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


Office Hours:

2.00--4.00 T, Th.  

Personal Summary

Martin Nie is Professor of Natural Resources Policy and Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests. Nie’s research focuses on federal public lands and wildlife policy, law, planning, and management. Some of Nie’s most recent projects and writing examine tribal co-management on federal public lands, the authority to manage fish and wildlife on federal public lands, and various issues related to National Forest management and planning (As appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Nie served from 2014-2018 on the U.S. Forest Service’s National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule.) 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. In 2016, Nie received the University of Montana's Distinguished Teaching Award, a special recognition based on "a history of excellence in classroom teaching" and given to professors who "have demonstrated a quality long-term impact on their students." 

Nie grew up in Ontario, Canada and received degrees from the University of Nebraska and Northern Arizona University. He loves to ski as much as possible with his son Joe, float wild rivers; hike, hunt and run the mountains of Montana, and mess around in his garage listening to vintage country and rock and roll. He also enjoys playing hockey, Irish whiskey, and strong cheese.


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. Fall 2018 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 2019 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. 

WILD 595: 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, Indian treaties, 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. While the focus of the seminar is wildlife policy, many of the issues addressed are pervasive in the field of natural resources policy, such as the significance of federalism, private property, scientific uncertainty, and various policy options in conservation.  The class is organized as a discussion-oriented graduate seminar and students (individually or in teams) will lead most session reviews and discussions. Spring 2016 Syllabus.    

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.

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., et al. "Response to Kisonak's 'Fish and Wildlife Management on Federal Lands: The Authorities and Responsibilities of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies," Environmental Law 50 (2020): 973-997.  

Mills, M. & M. Nie, Bridges to a New Era: A Report on the Past, Present, & Potential Future of Tribal Co-Management on Federal Public Lands (Missoula, MT: Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic/Bolle Center for People and Forests, University of Montana, 2020).  (forthcoming in Public Lands & Resources Law Review).  

Nie, M., Landres, N., & M. Bryan, "The Public Trust in Wildlife: Closing the Implementation Gap in 13 Western States," Environmental Law Reporter, 50, no. 11 (2020)

Nie, M. Reclaiming the National Interest in Federal Public Lands & Wildlife Conservation (Missoula, MT: Bolle Center for People and Forests, 2020).  

Nie, M. "Wildlife Diversity and National Forest Management: A Goal or Obstacle for the U.S. Forest Service?"  Endangered Species and Other Wildlife 12B-1 (Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 2019).  (talk at the special institute of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation).  

Brown, S.J. & M.Nie, "Making Forest Planning Great Again? Early Implementation of the Forest Service's 2012 National Forest Planning Rule," Natural Resources & Environment 33, no. 3 (Winter 2019): 3-8.  

Nie, M. (Ed.), "The Forest Service's 2012 Planning Rule and its Implementation: Federal Advisory Committee Member Perspectives," Journal of Forestry 117, no. 1 (2019): 65-71.  

Nie, M. & P. Kelly, "State and Local Control of Federal Lands: New Developments in the Transfer of Federal Lands Movement," Ecology Law Currents, Vol. 45 (2018): 186-199.  

Nie, M. et al. "Fish and Wildlife Management on Federal Lands: Debunking State Supremacy," Environmental Law, 47, no. 4 (2017): 797-932.  More about this project, including briefing materials, presentations, and an FAQ available here). 

Nie, M. "Transferring Federal Lands to States: Unanswered Questions and Implications for Wildlife," Plenary Talk at Montana Chapter and Northwest Section of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, Mar. 8, 2017.  

Nie, M. & P. Metcalf, "National Forest Management: The Contested Use of Collaboration and Litigation," Environmental Law Reporter 46 (2016): 10208-10221.  

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

"The Hidden Battle Threatening the Future of America's Wild Places." An in-depth investigative article featuring the politics, background, and research of Nie and colleagues ("Fish and Wildlife Management on Federal Lands: Debunking State Supremacy.").  Published by Pacific Standard.  April 2019.  

High Country News (Sept. 2018) covers article written by Nie and Patrick Kelly on new developments in the transfer of federal lands movement (state and local control of federal lands).  

Salt Lake Tribune discusses Nie's co-authored work focused on fish and wildlife management authority on federal lands, as it applies to the controversy in Utah over the introduction of non-native mountain goats on national forest lands.  

Nie, a member of the U.S. Forest Service's Federal Advisory Committee for planning, discusses the 2012 planning rule and what it means for Montana with Montana Public Radio.  

Nie on federal wilderness policy and conflict, New York Times (Aug. 19, 2016)

Nie's article about the next chapter of wilderness designation, politics and management (written with former BLM Wilderness Specialist Chris Barns) covered in Outside Magazine (Feb. 2016) and Greenwire (Sept. 2014). 

Nie on efforts to transfer federal lands to states and Oregon standoff, in New York Times (Jan .16, 2016) and Buzzfeed (Jan. 16, 2016)

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