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Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Research in Human Dimensions in Wildlife Conservation

Research on the human dimensions of wildlife conservation focuses on how people’s knowledge, values, and behaviors influence and are affected by decisions about the conservation of wildlife and management of natural resources. Our Department’s efforts in this area emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches that encompass the theory and practice of environmental communication, public participation, natural resource economics, and the process of integrated ecosystem management.

Examples of programs:

  • Urban wildlife, green communities, and eco-friendly development (Dr. Mark Hostetler). This research explores how landscape structure and land use affects the distribution of wildlife communities in urban environments, and the role of environmental education programs to increase public awareness and participation in eco-friendly developments and increase people’s awareness and interaction with wildlife and the environment. Specific projects include influences of human communities on wildlife populations, and the efficacy of conservation education on sustainable practices in human communities.
  • Stakeholder engagement, understanding human behavior, and creating community (Dr. Nia Morales). This research focuses on methods and processes of understanding human interactions with the natural world, bringing together diverse interests and strategically involving communities in conservation and natural resource decision making. This research uses qualitative and quantitative social science methods as well as facilitation skills to help understand needs, interests, and perspectives of stakeholders and explores socio-cultural perspectives in how communities engage with nature and the environment.