The mission of the Human Dimensions Lab is to conduct applied research on human interactions with the environment, provide educational opportunities for students exploring the intersection of biophysical and social processes, and build strong partnerships with landowners, industry, agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public. We are fundamentally interested in how people interact with the natural world and how these human dimensions influence and inform natural resource management decisions.
Our research interests have focused broadly on forest, recreation, and wildlife management issues in North America such as (1) minority communities’ access to national forest resources, (2) visitor use monitoring for federal and state forests and river systems, (3) private forest management, (4) human-wildlife conflict and management, and (5) social dimensions of forest and river restoration. We believe in pragmatic and mixed-methods research designs – we allow the problem before us to define our theoretical approach and prefer to combine quantitative analyses with qualitative interactions to help generate generalizable conclusions while embracing the depth and complexity of these issues.
At the University of Montana, we offer courses for undergraduate and graduate students interested in collaborative solutions to natural resource issues, field techniques, mixed-method research design, social psychology of human behavior, interpretation and communication, and private lands conservation.
We believe any decision to manage natural resources is necessarily a social process; through close partnership with natural resource managers (both private and public; current and future) we seek to ensure these management decisions are informed by both ecological and human dimensions.