Current Updates in the Human Dimensions Research Unit

The Human Dimensions Research Unit (HDRU) at Cornell University strives to expand the understanding of academicians, students, and natural resources agency staff about the human behavioral aspects of natural resource management and policy. We work to develop fundamental understandings of human behavior associated with resource management and to apply concepts and empirical findings to real-world, contemporary problems of management.

Professor Dan Decker, director of HDRU, is currently co-chair for an international human dimensions conference, organizing a plenary session for that conference, and is serving with HDRU Senior Research Associate Bruce Lauber  as co-editor of an associated special issue of the Human Dimensions of Wildlife journal. The conference will take place in Breckenridge, Colorado, September 24-27, 2012 and is a cooperative effort  between Cornell University and Colorado State University. The conference theme is “Contributions of Human Dimensions to Adaptive Capacity for Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

Dan Decker is also currently involved in multiple outreach workshops for fish and wildlfie professionals. He has worked with Cindi Jacobson (MS and PhD from Natural Resources)  John Organ (both with US Fish and Wildlife Service), as well as Chris Smith (Wildlife Management Institute) to develop a third workshop in their series at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference on “Transforming State Fish and Wildlife Agencies.”   The 2012 workshop is focused on Perspectives from Outside the Tent Looking In:  Enhancing State Wildlife Agencies’ Impact on the Future of Wildlife Conservation.”  The objective of this workshop is to identify challenges and opportunities for collaboration in wildlife conservation and strategies leading to effective wildlife resource governance.   The workshop focus is on how potential conservation partners (NGOs, federal and local governments, etc.) for State Wildlife Agencies see the direction of needed state agency transformation.  Dan is also planning a series of workshops for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on “Thinking Like a Manager,” “Implications of the Public Trust Doctrine for State Fish and Wildlife Agencies” and “Human Dimensions integration in Fish and Wildlife management through Impact Management.”

Associate Professor Richard C. Stedman, associate director of HDRU, was recently awarded (as part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension team) the David J. Allee and Paul R. Eberts Community and Economic Vitality Award for work related to Marcellus shale.

Rich Stedman is also the Cornell University representative on a National Science Foundation proposal: People, water, and climate: Predicting change, response, and adaptation in socio-ecological systems (Water Sustainability & Climate).  If successful, HDRU would be involved in a basin wide study of linkages between ecological and social change, which fits nicely with current Army Corps and Great Lakes Fisheries projects.

Associate Professor Shorna B. Allred, associate director of HDRU, is involved in multiple workshops and webinars including a Cornell Cooperative Extension Workshop that held October 14 titled “Fostering Community Engagement in Urban Forestry: A Practical Toolkit for Educators.” Others include “Ties to the Land Workshops” and webinars and Climate Atlas Webinars with Cooperative Extension Associates Kristi Sullivan and Gary Goff.

Other ongoing HDRU projects (a sample) include:

  • Increasing the Effectiveness of Fish Consumption Advisories in the Great Lakes States
  • Building Local Capacity for Environmental Resources Conservation in the Face of Change
  • Assessing Agency Capacities to Manage Fish and Wildlife Health
  • Developing knowledge to manage economic, health, and safety risks of wildlife for individuals and communities in New York
  • Human dimensions knowledge to manage wildlife habituation in national parks
  • New York State Woodland Owners and Their Interest in Woody Biofuels

A more comprehensive review of 2010 projects and activities in HDRU can be found in the HDRU Annual Report. Current HDRU publications can be found here.

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