Experimental Behavioral Science and Conservation - Interactions of Society and the Environment Seminar Series

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 3:30pm

USGS Fort Collins Science Center, Main Conference Room.

Backyard behavioral science: Addressing private land management with experimental research and insights into human behavior

Management decisions on private lands affect social and environmental outcomes. Policies designed to influence these decisions typically provide information or financial incentives. Behavioral science uses experimental design to generate insights into those interventions and alternative factors that influence human behavior, yet there are limited applications to land management. I will provide a brief primer on the field of behavioral science and discuss opportunities and challenges in addressing externalities from private land management, including water quality, habitat conservation and wildfire risk mitigation.

  • Dr. Hilary Byerly is a Wildfire Research (WiRē) postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado, based in Jackson, WY. She is interested in how insights into behavior and decision making can explain how people manage the natural environment and inform more effective programs and policies. Hilary holds a Ph.D. from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, a M.S. in applied economics from Cornell University, and a B.A. in environmental studies and international affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Motivating residents to recruit their neighbors for conservation causes

Achieving conservation objectives often requires community members to not only contribute personally to conservation efforts, but also motivate others to contribute through behaviors like peer recruitment, distribution of resources, and sanctioning of non-contributors. Little research, however, has examined how to encourage community members to engage in these collective action behaviors. We report the results of a field experiment testing an outreach intervention designed based on the theory of social influence to enhance neighborhood collective action for invasive species control. Our findings suggest that integrating the reported social influence techniques into conservation outreach programs may be an effective strategy for enhancing neighborhood collective action for biodiversity conservation.

  • Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Niemiec (pronounced “Knee-Mick”) is an Assistant Professor in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department at Colorado State University. She has a PhD from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University, and a B.A. in Ecology and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College. Becky’s research focuses on understanding the drivers and outcomes of community conservation action. She is particularly interested in applying conservation psychology theory and methods to design and evaluate community outreach and engagement programs for conservation. She has examined the human dimensions of a diversity of natural resource management issues including: invasive species management in New Zealand and Hawaii, Southern Pine Beetle management in New Jersey, wolf restoration in Colorado, and wildscaping on residential properties in Colorado.

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Time: 3:30-5:00 p.m. MT

Location: USGS Fort Collins Science Center (2150 Centre Ave, Bldg C), Main Conference Room. Park in the lot to the south of the building and check in at the front desk with a valid ID. Directions can be found here: https://www.fort.usgs.gov/about/directions

Or via webinar: To attend remotely via Google Hangout, please go to https://hangouts.google.com/hangouts/_/usgs.gov/isess 


Interactions of Society and the Environment Seminar Series

Fort Collins, Colorado

Co-sponsored by:

  • Colorado State University
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey