Related Publications

Bodhi tree leaves (Ficus religiosa)

Journal Articles

  • 1992, “Thailand: Buddhism, Ecology and Forests,” The New Road (Gland, Switzerland) December 1991-January 1992, 21:4-5 (co-author Poranee Naadecha-Sponsel).
  • 1992, “A Comparison of the Cultural Ecology of Adjacent Muslim and Buddhist Villages in Southern Thailand: A Preliminary Field Report,” Journal of the National Research Council of Thailand 23(2):31-42 (co-author Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel).
  • 1998 “Sacred and/or Secular Approaches to Biodiversity Conservation in Thailand” (co-authors Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel, Nukul Ruttanadakul, and Somporn Juntadach) for special issue on biodiversity of Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 2(1):155-167.
  • 2000, “Does Buddhism Have Any Future?: Some Thoughts on the Possibilities of Buddhist Responses to the 21st Century,”
  • (co-author Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel) invited for Seeds of Peace 16(1):36-39, January-April issue.
  • 2003 (Spring/Summer), “Sacred Caves, Bats, and Forests: A Case Study in Buddhist Ecology,” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel), Hawai`i Association of International Buddhists Newsletter XI(1):11-12.
  • 2007, “The Spiritual Lives of Great Environmentalists,” Electronic Green Journal 25:1-9.
  • 2007 “Spiritual Ecology: One Anthropologist’s Reflections,” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 1(3):340-350.
  • 2010 (September-December), “Enhancing Awareness: Buddhist Solutions for a Future World,” Seeds of Peace 26(3):30.
  • 2010 “Religion and Environment: Exploring Spiritual Ecology,” Religion and Society: Advances in Research, Simon Coleman and Ramon Sarro, eds., New York, NY: Berghahn Books 1:131-145.
  • 2014 (April), “Indigenous Sacred Places: Threats and Responses (Review of “Standing on Sacred Ground”),” AAA Anthropology News/Society for the Anthropology of Religion Section” Anthropology News 54(3):        .
  •  2014 (April), invited Feature Article – “Spiritual Ecology: Is it the Ultimate Solution for the Environmental Crisis,” CHOICE 51(8):1339-1342, 1344-1348.
  • 2014 (Summer), invited Feature Article – “Spiritual Ecology: The New Revolution in Consciousness,”  Sufi Journal 87:18-23 (


Book Chapters

  • 1988, “Buddhism, Ecology and Forests in Thailand,” in Changing Tropical Forests: Historical Perspectives on Today’s Challenges in Asia, Australasia, and Oceania, John Dargavel, Kay Dixon, and Noel Semple, eds.  Canberra, Australia: Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Ch. 17, pp. 305-325 (co-author Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel).
  • 1991, “Nonviolent Ecology: The Possibilities of Buddhism,” in Buddhism and Nonviolent Global Problem-Solving: Ulan Bator Explorations, Glenn D. Paige and  Sarah Gilliatt, eds.  Honolulu, HI: Center for Global Nonviolence and Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, pp. 139-150.
  • 1993, “The Potential Contribution of Buddhism in Developing an Environmental Ethic for the Conservation of Biodiversity,” (Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel co-author) in Ethics, Religion, and Biodiversity: Relations Between Conservation and Cultural Values, Lawrence S. Hamilton, ed.  Cambridge, U.K.: White Horse Press, Ch. 4, pp. 75-97.
  •  1995, “The Role of Buddhism in Creating a More Sustainable Society in Thailand,” in Counting the Costs: Economic Growth and Environmental Change in Thailand, Jonathan Rigg, ed.  Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asia Studies, Ch. 2, pp. 27-46, (co-author Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel).
  • 1997 “A Theoretical Analysis of the Potential Contribution of the Monastic Community in Promoting a Green Society in Thailand,” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel) in Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Williams, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, pp. 45-68.
  • 1998, “The Historical Ecology of Thailand: Increasing Thresholds of Human Environmental Impact from Prehistory to the Present,” in Advances in Historical Ecology, William Balee, ed.  New York, NY: Columbia University Press, Ch. 17, pp. 376-404.
  •  2001, “Do Anthropologists Need Religion, and Vice Versa?: Adventures and Dangers in Spiritual Ecology,” New Directions in Anthropology and Environment: Intersections, Carole Crumley, ed., Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, Ch. 9, pp. 177-200.
  • 2001, “Is Indigenous Spiritual Ecology a New Fad?: Reflections from the Historical and Spiritual Ecology of Hawai`i,” invited for Indigenous Traditions and Ecology: The Interbeing of Cosmology and Community, John Grim, ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, pp. 159-174.
  • 2001, “Why a Tree is More than a Tree: Reflections on the Spiritual Ecology of Sacred Trees in Thailand,” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel), Santi Pracha Dhamma, Sulak Sivaraksa, et al., eds., Bangkok, Thailand: Santi Pracha Dhamma Institute, pp. 364-373.
  • 2003, “Buddhist Views of Nature and the Environment” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel), in Nature Across Cultures: Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-Western Cultures, Helaine Selin, ed., Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 351-371.
  • 2003, “Illuminating Darkness: The Monk-Cave-Bat-Ecosystem Complex in Thailand,” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel) in Socially Engaged Spirituality: Essays in Honor of Sulak Sivaraksa on His 70th Birthday, David W. Chappell, ed., Bangkok, Thailand: Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation, pp. 255-269.
  • 2011, “The Role of Spiritual Ecology in Nonkilling,” in Towards a Nonkilling World: Festschift in Honor of Prof. Glenn D. Paige, N. Radhakrishnan, et al., ed.,Trivandrum, India: Gandhi Media Center, pp. 168-194.
  • 2011, “The Religion and Environment Interface: Spiritual Ecology in Ecological Anthropology,” in Environmental Anthropology Today, Helen Kopnina, and Elleanore Shoreman, eds., New York, NY: Routledge, Chapter 1, pp. 37-55.
  • 2012, “Teaching Buddhist Ecology and Environmentalism,” in Teaching Buddhism, Gary Delaney DeAngelis and Todd Lewis, eds., New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011 (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel)(in press).
  • 2012, “Sacred Caves of the World: Illuminating Darkness,” in The Changing World Religions Map, Stan Brunn, ed., New York, NY: Springer (in press).


Encyclopedia Dictionary Articles

  • 1997, Encyclopaedia of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, Helaine Selin, ed.  Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, “Environment and Nature: Buddhism” pp. 290-291.
  • 2005, Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Bron Taylor, Editor-in-Chief, New York, NY: Continuum, “Amazonia” 1:37-40, “Anthropologists” 1:94-96, “Anthropology as Source of Nature Religion” 1:96-98, “Biodiversity” 1:179-182, “Caves – Sacred (Thailand)” 1:276-278, “Ecological Anthropology” 1:544-548, “Noble Savage and Ecologically Noble Savage” 2:1210-1212, “Rainforests(Central and South America)” 2:1338-1340, “Southeast Asia” 2:1582-1585, “Trees- Sacred (Thailand)” 2:1661-1663, and “Yanomami” 2:1778-1779.
  • 2006, Encyclopedia of Anthropology, H. James Birx, ed., Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, “Animism” 1:80-81, “Religion and Environment” 5:2006-2009.
  • 2007, online Encyclopedia of Earth, Cultler J. Cleveland, et al., eds., Washington, D.C.: National Council for Science and the Environment, Environmental Information Coalition, invited articles on “Ecological Anthropology,” “Religion, Nature and Environment,” and in 2008 “Sacred Places and Biodiversity Conservation,” published at
  •  2008, Encyclopedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, Helaine Selin, ed., The Netherlands: Springer, Second Edition online, “Buddhism: Environment and Nature” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel) 1:768-776″
  • 2013, “Buddhist Environmentalism” and “Spiritual Ecology,” invited for Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion, D. Leeming, ed., Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.


2013 (October 1), “Leslie Sponsel on Spiritual Ecology, Connection, and Environmental Change,” Anthropology and Environment Society Engagement Blog


In preparation

  • Natural Wisdom: Meditations on Buddhist Ecology from Thailand [book].

Book Reviews

  • 2007, “Indigenous Peoples’ Wisdom and Power: Affirming Our Knowledge Through Narratives, Julian E. Kunnie and Nomalungeol I. Goduka, eds.” Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 11(3):353-356.
  • 2010 (December) “Theater in a Crowded Fire: Ritual and Spirituality at Burning Man, Lee Gilmore,” CHOICE 48(4):732.
  • 2011 (April) “Trail of Story, Traveller’s Path: Reflections on Ethnoecology and Landscape, Leslie Main Johnson,” CHOICE 48(8):1529.
  • 2012 (June)  “An Unreal Estate: Sustainability & Freedom in an Evolving Community, Lucinda Carspecken, ” CHOICE 49(10):1971.
  • 2012 (June) “Sacred Natural Sites Conserving Nature and Culture, Bas Verschuuren, et al.” Quarterly Review of Biology 87(2):149.
  • 2012  (September) “The Awakened Ones: Phenomenology of Visionary Experience, Gananath Obeyesekere,” CHOICE 50(1):102.
  • 2012 (December) “Land and Spirit in Native America, Joy Porter,” CHOICE 50(4):713.
  • 2013 (January) “Dangerous and Divine: The Secret of the Serpent, Wouter Welling, ed. CHOICE 50(5):920.
  • 2012 “The Spirit of the Appalachian Trail: Community, Environment, and Belief on a Long-Distance Hiking Path, Susan Power Bratton,” CHOICE.
  • 2013 (April) “An Ecology of Happiness, Eric Lambin” CHOICE
  • 2013 (September) “Sacred Species and Sites: Advances in Biocultural Conservation,Gloria Pungetti, Gonzalo Oviedo, and Della Hooke, eds.” Quarterly Review of Biology 88(3):239-240. 
  • 2013 (November), “Beyond Nature and Culture, Philippe Descola,” CHOICE.
  • 2014 (April), “Animism and the Question of Life,” Istvan Praet,” CHOICE.
  • 2014, “Religion and Sustainability: Social Movements and the Politics of the Environment, Lucas F. Johnston,” Journal of Ecological Anthropology (in press).


Reprinted Publications

  • 2004,”Illuminating Darkness: The Monk-Cave-Bat-Ecosystem Complex in Thailand,” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel),” in This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment, Roger S. Gottlieb, ed., New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 134-144.  (Reprinted from Socially Engaged Spirituality: Essays in Honor of Sulak Sivaraaksa, David W. Chappel, ed., 2003, pp. 255-270).
  • 2010 “A Theoretical Analysis of the Potential Contribution of the Monastic Community in Promoting a Green Society in Thailand,” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel) in Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Williams, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1997, pp. 45-68.  Reprinted in Roger S. Gottlieb, ed., 2010, Religion and Environment, New York, NY: Routledge, Chapter 40.
  • 2010 (July), “Enhancing Awareness: Buddhist Solutions for a Future World” (with Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel), Patheos (reprinted as an article in Future of Religions as an ebook by Pathos in 2012).


Author with monk at sacred cave inNorthern Thailand

Professor Nukul Ruttanadakul and Dr. Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel

interviewing monk in Southern Thailand