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Kristin Floress

Research Social Scientist
People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy
1033 University Place, Suite 360
Evanston, IL 60201
United States
Current Research

My broad research interests and expertise pertain to understanding and modeling the impact of social factors – from the individual to the community level – on natural resources planning, management, conservation, and restoration across public and private lands. Most of my research is in the context of forest and water resources.

I am currently involved in several projects related to family forest owners: policy tool preferences for engaging in management activities on their land; invasive species monitoring, prevention, and control practices; and the impact of public lands restoration activities on landowner willingness to participate in landscape restoration. I am also leading a team of scientists in conducting a meta-analysis of the family forest owner literature to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what impacts landowner decisions and behaviors.

I have a keen interest in water and the social aspects of preventing pollution from nonpoint sources, and participate in a number of projects to that end. One such project is a multistate team investigating catalysts for collective action to protect water resources. This work has led to a number of collaborative investigations that capitalize on the knowledge of scientists across the Midwest, including the analysis of large survey data sets from across the Great Lakes region. An additional project I am working on involves analyzing water governance structures that span spatial, social, administrative, and institutional levels.

Stakeholder perceptions and support of management actions and restoration on public lands is another focus of my work. I was a co-PI on a recent survey of residents in the Wisconsin Northwoods to understand what impacted their attitudes toward management on three types of public forest in the state. With other Forest Service scientists and cooperators from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, I am investigating perceptions of a large scale landscape restoration project on the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest.

Why This Research Is Important
Sustainable and resilient ecosystems are dependent upon human behaviors. It is essential to understand what drives people to engage in conservation and restoration actions, and what types of policies and programs support those actions.
  • Purdue University, Ph.D., Natural Resources Social Science, 2008
  • Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, M.S. Forestry, Human Dimensions of Watershed Management, 2004
Professional Experience
  • Research Social Scientist,  USDA Forest Service,  2015 - Current
  • Assistant/Associate Professor,  University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point,  2008 - 2015
Professional Organizations
  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources,  Current
    I have been involved with IASNR since I was a M.S. student at Southern Illinois University. I regularly review papers for the Society's journal and have participated in a number of activities to serve the organization, including helping to plan the annual symposium.
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Landowner Acceptance of a Pine Barrens Restoration Project

Year: 2018
Despite landowners’ uncertainty about long-term outcomes near a pine barrens restoration project on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, they support management actions and trust USDA Forest Service staff.

Resident and visitor support for urban natural areas restoration

Year: 2017
Resident and visitor beliefs about whether a given restoration practice, such as controlled burning, is already being used at a site can be a powerful predictor of support for that practice.

Understanding why farmers protect soil and water resources

Year: 2017
Understanding why farmers adopt land management practices that protect soil, water, and other ecosystem services is a key need for developing appropriate programs and outreach strategies that promote conservation. Multiple organizations need research to support their agricultural conservation work. ...

Landscape Scale Conservation Evaluation of the West Virginia Restoration Venture

Year: 2016
Long-term investment in relationships with local organizations increases opportunities for landscape scale conservation.