Research/Areas of Interest:

Global biodiversity conservation; Transborder conservation; Migratory species conservation; Environmental History; Global environmental politics; Sustainable development diplomacy; North American border politics, with focus on environmental and conservation issues


  • Ph.D., The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • MA, Tufts University, Dual Degree Program between The Fletcher School and Urban and Environmental Policy
  • B.A., Brown University


Charles C. Chester teaches global environmental diplomacy at The Fletcher School. While his research focus has been on international wildlife protection, he is currently building the website, an online guide to the full range of topics subsumed under “global environmental politics.” He co-edited the volume "Conservation & Climate Change: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning and Action" (Island Press 2012) and authored "Conservation Across Borders: Biodiversity in an Interdependent World" (Island Press 2006), which examined the global phenomenon of transboundary collaboration for conservation biodiversity protection, with a focus on the Sonoran Desert (USA-Mexico) and the Northern Rockies of Canada and the United States (Yellowstone to Yukon). 

Before receiving his Ph.D. from Fletcher, he was the second graduate of the combined Fletcher MALD & Tufts Urban & Environmental Policy (UEP) masters degree. He serves on the board of Bat Conservation International and is chair of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Council. He previously served on the board of Root Capital and consulted for the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Henry P. Kendall Foundation. Currently, Charlie is working extensively on “payments for ecosystem services” from migratory species (focusing most particularly on bats), and is researching a book on the interwoven historical threads of gorilla conservation, European royalty, protected area philosophies, American taxidermy, and climate change.

Courses Taught

Selected Publications and Presentations


Conservation & Climate Change: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning and Action. 2012. Island Press. Edited volume with Jodi Hilty and Molly Cross.

Conservation Across Borders: Biodiversity in an Interdependent World. 2006. Island Press.

Articles & chapters

The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative as an adaptive response to climate change. 2019. With Jodi A. Hilty. In Handbook of climate change and biodiversity, eds. Walter Leal Filho, Jelena Barbir, and Richard Preziosi, Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

We should not end 100 years of breaking down walls to help wildlife. 2017. With Laura López-Hoffman. Houston Chronicle, 2017.

Ecosystem services from transborder migratory species: Implications for conservation governance. 2017. With Laura López-Hoffman, Darius Semmens, Wayne Thogmartin, M. Sofia Rodríguez-McGoffin, Robert Merideth, and Jay Diffendorfer. Annual Review of Environment and Resources42, 509-539.

Yellowstone microbiology science conference: Biodiversity, ecology and evolution of thermophiles in Yellowstone National Park. 2017. In Laboratory Yellowstone and the DNA revolution: A field guide to thermophiles. Johnson Creek Publishing: Bozeman, Montana.

Yellowstone to Yukon: Transborder conservation across a vast international landscape. 2015.Environmental Science & Policy, 49. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2014.08.009.

Mountain gloom and glory revisited: A survey of conservation, connectivity, and climate change in mountain regions. 2013. Journal of Mountain Ecology. With Jodi Hilty & Lawrence Hamilton.

Under the Penumbra of Waterton-Glacier: 75 Years of Failure to Establish a U.S.-Mexico International Peace Park. 2013. In Peace, Parks and Partnerships, eds. Michael Quinn & Len Broberg. University of Calgary Press. With Belinda Sifford.

Beginnings of the environmental movement. 2011. In World History Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO.

Early environmental organizations. 2011. InWorld History Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO.

Coauthor of chapters 1, 5 & 6 of Moving toward climate change adaptation: The promise of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative for addressing the region’s vulnerabilities. 2010. Editors, Lisa Graumlich and Wendy Francis. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

Connectivity science. 2010. With Jodi Hilty. In ConnectivityConservation Management: A Global Guide, ed. Graeme Worboys et al. EarthScan for IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.

Open skies over a closing border: U.S.-Mexico efforts to protect migratory birds. 2009. InConservation of shared environments: Learning from the United States and Mexico, eds. Laura López-Hoffman et al. University of Arizona Press.

Borders from a bird’s-eye view: A century of transborder conservation for North American migratory birds. 2009. In Proceedings of the 4thInternational Partners in Flight Conference: Tundra to Tropics.

Environmentalism. 2009. In Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History. Palgrave MacMillon.

Biodiversity. 2009. In Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History. Palgrave MacMillon.

Climate change and conservation: The immediate need to adapt. 2008. With James N. Levitt. Innovations(journal published by MIT Press). 

A taxonomy of global governance: A guide to understanding the diversity of international and domestic conservation accords. 2008. With William R. Moomaw. International Environmental Agreements. 8:3, 187-206.

Bridging conservation across La Frontera: An unfinished agenda for peace parks along the U.S.-Mexico divide. 2007. With Belinda Sifford. In Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution, ed. Saleem Ali. MIT Press.