My ongoing projects include the following:
Adaptive decisions to climate and environmental change: Farmers and livestock owners perceive ongoing changes in their climate and environments, and they make livelihood decisions based on these perceptions. I’m interested in understanding the variation in adaptive behaviors present within large landscapes, including how systems-level feedbacks affect changes in natural and human components.
Forest landscapes in the American West: Active restoration of historically fire-adapted forests is important in the face of a hotter and drier future. My recent work asks questions about how forest restoration and forest management can restore healthier forests and also benefit rural, formerly timber-dependent communities. I’m particularly interested in the role that forest collaboratives can play in this process.
Livelihood decision-making and migration: Mobility is an important adaptation strategy for rural people in the tropics, and it shapes rural landscapes in many ways. I study why people migrate and the effects of migration decisions on natural and human environments. This work includes both individual decision-making, as well as population-level shifts, and is focused largely on landscapes of protected areas.
Evaluating community conservation initiatives: Tradeoffs between biodiversity conservation and people’s livelihoods are most evident at the borders of strictly protected areas. I study conservation and development strategies that try to address these tradeoffs, focusing on the mechanisms leading to outcomes for both wildlife and people.
Cooperation and local resource management: Strong institutions governing the use of farmland, forests, and pastures are increasingly important for resource dependent communities, yet significant challenges impede sustainable outcomes. My developing work in this area tries to predict the emergence and persistence of local resource institutions, with a focus on cooperation among individuals and groups.