Research Themes

Theme 1: People and Conservation 

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Chatting with a farmer.

Conservation areas and actions are more likely to be implemented if stakeholders are involved in planning, and if their uses and values are explicitly considered in the planning process. Understanding and accounting for stakeholders’ perceptions can help meet many ecological goals as well as deliver public and private benefits (see Januchowski-Hartley et al. 2012). I am interested in determining ways that stakeholders can be more effectively involved in the conservation planning process and how we can blend both ecological and socioeconomic information to identify feasibility and opportunities for conservation action. Currently, I am collaborating with researchers in Australia, England and the USA to both identify types of conservation opportunities and determine socio-political factors that influence conservation plan implementation success. 

Theme 2: Conservation in a modified world

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Collecting water quality data.

Conservation actions are often required and undertaken in human modified environments that experience pressure from multiple threats. To ensure cost-effectiveness, planning the allocation of actions in modified environments requires that the spatial location of threats, management actions, and their connectivity be considered explicitly in planning (see Januchowski-Hartley et al. 2011 — part of a special issue on biological invasions and ecosystem functioning). Under this theme, I have also shown that small structures, such as culverts, are ubiquitous in landscapes of North America (see Januchowski-Hartley et al. 2013). I have also developed a method to predict road culvert passability for native fishes with different swimming speeds, showing that commonly available data on topography and drainage area are good predictors of passability. These data are being used in a spatially-explicit decision making framework to prioritize the remediation of road culverts and removal of dams to maximize benefit for native migratory fish species. I continue to explore how explicit consideration of ecological condition and/or threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services influences spatial priorities and cost-effectiveness of conservation action.