Smith Fellows
Smith Fellow

Abstract

Conservationists are being urged to adopt ecosystem management approaches due to a variety of problems with single species management. However, one problem with practicing effective ecosystem management is the availability of practical tools that allow ecological managers to assess the state of ecosystems. I propose to develop methods for ecological management that will integrate landscape assessment, social-ecological modeling, and scenario planning. I will develop these methods by estimating the resilience of lake and forest ecosystems within the Northern Highlands Lake District (NHLD) of Wisconsin. I will further test these methods by applying them to TNC conservation sites outside of Wisconsin. When I have completed this work, I will produce and run a short course to share my results and methods with private, public, and Native American ecological managers in the NHLD. The research program I present in my proposal will provide the Nature Conservancy and the conservation community of those interested in the theory and practice of ecosystem management with new tools to improve conservation and the human use of ecosystems.