Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Anna A. Sher, Ph.D.


Coupled human and natural systems, Land management, Perception of science, Relationship with nature, Restoration, Tamarix control


While previous studies in restoration ecology have focused on the efficacy of direct management actions, the driving forces on management decisions (e.g., managers' characteristics or attitudes, environmental conditions) and the indirect impacts on restoration outcomes from management decisions (such as whether to collaborate) are quantified here for the first time. As a case study, I used data from 244 sites across the riparian Southwest US where the invasive shrubby tree Tamarix sp. was removed using various different methods. I surveyed and interviewed the 45 land managers who were responsible for the removal projects to determine their characteristics, attitudes, and management decisions. I found differences between agencies in which removal methods were used and project objectives (i.e., goals); goals were also correlated with climate (i.e., temperature and precipitation). Surprisingly, neither education nor any other characteristic measured predicted attitudes held by managers about science and/or nature. The resulting plant community after restoration (as measured by four PCA vectors) was associated with the governing agency or organization and the manner in which each manager prioritized management goals. Finally, managers' attitude toward nature was related to plant community composition after restoration, while not associated with any measured manager characteristics or decisions, suggesting that there were subtle interactions at play. This study contributes to our understanding of what makes restoration projects successful and how to improve restoration outcomes by understanding the managers themselves.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Lisa Buie Clark

File size

122 p.

File format





Ecology, Social research, Conservation biology