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Horticulture and Natural Resources


Our research focus and efforts revolve around solving environmental problems and to understand the human dimensions of natural resource management.

  • How does interpretation influence the visitor/tourist experience?
  • How do we effectively evaluate the long-term outcomes of ecotourism?
  • How do we accommodate the increasing use of parks and protected areas world-wide while at the same time providing for a high quality visitor experience and the conservation of natural resources?
  • How do we gain greater public support for wildlife conservation at a global scale?
  • How do we develop effective techniques for managing outdoor recreation?
  • How can research integrate public perceptions, policy, and institutional constraints to inform the defensible management of natural resources?

Questions such as these that pertain to societal grand challenges surrounding natural resources are the primary focus of PMC researchers. Our program of research, education, and training is designed to provide graduate students a comprehensive toolbox to effectively address issues concerning parks and protected area management and increasing public understanding of the natural, cultural and recreational value of these resources world-wide.

The Park Management and Conservation Lab conducts a program of global research in national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges, state parks, zoos and aquariums.

Latest Publications

  • Loomis, J., Richardson, L., Huber, C., Skibins, J.C. & Sharp, R.L. (2018). A method to value nature-related webcam viewing: the value of virtual use with application to brown bear webcam viewing. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy.
  • Sharp, R.L., Bradley, M.J., Maples, J. (2017). A methodological evaluation of an environmental education survey: Is there a technological advantage? Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership, 9(3).
  • Skibins, J.C. & Sharp, R.L. (2017). Evaluation of the brown bear viewing experience at Katmai National Park and Preserve: Implications for management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 22(5).
  • Raynor, E.J., T. Cable, B. Cox, and B. Sandercock. (2017). Effects of Tamarix removal on community dynamics of riparian birds in a semiarid grassland. Journal of Restoration Ecology 25(5): 778-787.
  • Mayorga, M., T. Cable, and C. Mullins. (2017). Evaluation of Interpretive Media Use and Effectiveness at a Nature Center. Journal of Interpretation Research. 22 (1), 75-82.

Check out the research focus of our faculty members listed to the right.

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Ted Cable
Natural resource management and interpretation

Ryan Sharp
Park management & conservation