Understanding the interactions between social and ecological systems
Our department was an early leader in conservation social science and policy, recognizing more than a half century ago the need to incorporate social science into the study of natural resources and the environment. Our leadership in this area continues to enable an integrated approach to understanding interactions between social and ecological systems.
We encompass a range of specialties, including governance, institutional strategies, human dimensions, environmental sociology, and environmental education. Our work explores interactions between human communities and environmental resources, drivers and impacts of change on social-ecological systems, stakeholder attitudes, values, and behaviors, community engagement in stewardship, the role of governmental and non-governmental institutions in the conservation and management of resources, and the formulation and effects of natural resource and environmental policies and practices.
We frequently collaborate with ecologists in our department as well as faculty in a variety of disciplines across campus. We strive to ensure that our work is informed by theory and can be applied to address real-world problems, working closely with external partners so that our products will be used by practitioners and decision makers.