Dr. Kelly Cobourn

Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Dr. Cobourn is a natural resource economist who specializes in identifying and understanding the linkages between natural systems and human decision making. Her research and teaching program advances bioeconomic modeling to explore questions that sit at the intersection of economics with diverse disciplines, including hydrology, agronomy, and entomology. Applications of her work address diverse global-change issues such as drought, invasive species spread, and water quality degradation. Current projects build on these themes to develop insight into the drivers of complex human-natural systems that affect freshwater ecosystems and global food security.

Dr. Cobourn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. She came to Virginia Tech in 2013 from a position as Assistant Professor of Economics at Boise State University. Prior to that, she earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis and an M.S. in Resource Economics and Policy from the University of Maine.


At Virginia Tech, Dr. Cobourn builds on her experience working across disciplines to teach classes in natural resource policy, water resource policy and economics, and advanced natural resource economics (with a focus on dynamic programming). She works nationally to support water research, education, and outreach on the Board of Directors for the Universities Council on Water Resources.

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