Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Our People

Kelly Garbach, PhD

Title/s: Assistant Professor

Specialty Area: Environmental Science, Sustainable Agriculture, Ecosystem Assessment, Social/Ecological Systems

Office #: BVM Hall 424

Phone: 773.508.2948

E-mail: kgarbach@luc.edu


I joined the Environmental Science Department at Loyola University Chicago in 2012 after completing my PhD in Ecology at the University of California Davis. My research evaluates relationships between social processes, environmental policies, and ecological outcomes in agricultural ecosystems.

Agricultural systems are an exciting research frontier that represents a core challenge environmental science—how to design multifunctional ecosystems that sustain production while maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. Sustainable agroecosystems require integrating ecological and social investigation to address fundamental questions such as: How do changes in land use influence the availability and spatial distribution of ecosystem services? What are the decision-pathways through which managers adopt land use practices with multiple benefits? My work aims to address these core questions and develops applications to both policy and practice.

My research includes working as a Fulbright Scholar in Costa Rica (2008–09) investigating the effects of Payment for Ecosystem Services on stimulating use of on-farm conservation practices and their outcomes in tropical cattle ranches. I have worked with Bioversity International and Ecoagriculture Partners investigating global outcomes of agroecology strategies. I also use social network analysis to examine how community partnerships can support natural resource management; I have worked with USAID and the Academy for Educational Development, evaluating the role of social networks in sustainability of dairy systems in Kenya and ecological tourism in the Dominican Republic. My current projects include collaborations on sustainable sourcing of raw agricultural goods, and developing strategies to integrate native pollinators into production specialty crops in the United States.


  • PhD, Ecology, University California Davis, 2011
  • BSc, Anthropology, Loyola University Chicago, 2002