Research Agenda


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    The research programs, managed by the Institute’s affiliated faculty, are forging new ground in combining data and methods from the natural and social sciences to inform the decisions made by natural resource managers.

      • Jordan W. Smith, the Institute’s Director, conducts research on how changing climatic conditions will affect outdoor recreation resources and the experiential opportunities that those resources provide.
      • Chris Monz focuses on measuring the spatial behavior of outdoor recreationists and its impacts on the biotic and abiotic components of outdoor recreation resources.
      • Mark Brunson focuses on the dynamics of coupled human and natural systems, especially in high desert and rangeland ecosystems. Currently, Dr. Brunson’s research involves using outdoor recreationists’ behavioral and emotional attachments to natural areas to improve their understanding of ecological processes.
      • Jacopo Baggio uses game-based experiments and agent-based models to develop a better understanding of complex socio-ecological systems, which include nature-based outdoor recreation systems.
      • Chase Lamborn, a Research Associate within the Institute, provides a program of research that is focused on providing data to assist state and federal land management agencies, local governments, interest groups, and private citizens with resource planning and management efforts.

    Collectively, the Institute’s affiliated faculty have the knowledge, ability, and talent to combine the data and models from the natural and physical sciences to identify creative and sustainable solutions to the emerging challenges facing outdoor recreation systems across the globe.