Ohio University

Thomas Smucker

Thomas Smucker Profile Picture
Associate Professor & Graduate Chair
Clippinger 111

Office Hours

Wednesday, 1 to 3 p.m., and Thursday, 2 to 4 p.m.

Recent News


Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2003


  • Environment and development
  • Rural livelihood and coping strategies
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • African drylands

My research and teaching is broadly concerned with interactions between the environment and social development. I teach courses in human and human-environment geography, including Human Geography, Global Issues in Environmental Geography, Geography of Hunger and Food Security, and Theories of Development. My recent research has examined livelihood diversification and food security, household and community strategies for coping with drought, and the implications for social development in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in East Africa.

From 2010-2015, I served as PI of the NSF-funded Local Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation Project (LKCCAP), a collaboration of Tanzanian and US scholars that examined geographical inequality and interdependence in adaptive capacity to climate change along four altitudinal gradients in northern Tanzania.

During the 2018-19 academic year, I will join colleagues at the Department of Geography at Kenyatta University as a Visiting Researcher. While in Kenya, I will pursue new research that examines bridges and barriers to greater integration among drought risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and land restoration initiatives at county level in Kenya and district level in Tanzania.

Courses Taught

  • GEOG 1200: Human Geography
  • GEOG 3410/5410: Geography of Hunger and Food Security
  • GEOG 3431: Global Issues in Environmental Geography
  • GEOG 4800: Senior Seminar in Geography
  • GEOG 6420: Theories of Development

Representative Publications

Wangui, E. and Smucker, T. 2018. Gendered Constraints to Scaling Up: A Case Study of Spontaneous Adaptation in a Pastoralist Community in Mwanga District, Tanzania. Climate and Development 10(4): 369-376.

Velempini, K. Smucker, T, and Clem C. 2018. Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change: Mapping and Assessment of Water Resource Management Challenges in the North Pare Highlands, Tanzania. African Geographical Review 37: 30-48.

Sinha, G. Smucker, T., Lovell, E., Velempini, K., Miller, S., Weiner D., Wangui, E. 2017. The Pedagogical Benefits of Participatory GIS for Geographic Education. Journal of Geography 116: 165- 179.

Smucker, T, and Wangui, E. 2016. Gendered Local Knowledge and Adaptive Practices: Differentiation and Change in Mwanga District, Tanzania. Ambio 45(S3): 45(3), 276-286.

Rai, P. and Smucker, T. 2016. Empowering through Entitlement? The Micropolitics of Food Access in Maharashtra State, India. Journal of Rural Studies 45: 260-269.

Asaka, J. and Smucker, T. 2016. Assessing the Role of Mobile Phone Communication in Drought- Related Mobility Patterns of Samburu Pastoralists. Journal of Arid Environments 128: 12-16.

Smucker, T., Wisner, B., Mascarenhas, A., Munishi, P. K., Wangui, E. E., Sinha, G., Weiner, D., Bwenge, C., Lovell, E. 2015. Differentiated Livelihoods, Local Institutions, and the Adaptation Imperative: Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Policy in Tanzania. Geoforum 59: 39-50.

Wangui, E., Smucker, T., Wisner, B., Lovell, E., Maingi, S., Sinha, G, Mascarenhas, A., Weiner, D., Meena, H, and Munishi, P. 2012. Integrated Development, Risk Management and Community- Based Climate Change Adaptation in a Mountain-Plains System in Northern Tanzania. Revue de géographie alpine/Journal of Alpine Research 100(1): 2-16.