Best Student Paper Award Recipients

Best Student Paper Award Recipients

2019 ISSRM

Best paper submitted by a Doctoral student:

Megan Butler, University of Minnesota

“Enterprises for Conservation and Development: Lessons learned from community-forest enterprises in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve”

This paper contributes to literature on the relationship between governance and successful community-based initiatives through investigating governance at the scale of the community forest enterprise (CFE). The goal of this research is to investigate and understand factors that influence CFE governance through a comparative cross-case analysis of CFEs operating in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR).

Best paper submitted by a Masters student:

Carolyn Conant, Colorado State University

“From Extractive to Nonconsumptive Natural Resource Dependency: Transitions, Traditions, and Traps in Three Southeastern Utah Towns”

In this paper, I use three ex-uranium communities in southeastern Utah as comparative case studies to demonstrate how nonconsumptive natural resource dependency (NRD) may tend to reproduce the vulnerabilities that characterize extractive N RD. I present the histories and contexts of Moab, Monticello, and Blanding, Utah to provide an overview of the impact of extractive NRD on each community and their varying attempts to transition away from uranium economies, then introduce NRD concepts such as internal colonialism, extralocal control, and fictitious commodification to evaluate the impact of the transition to nonconsumptive NRD on each community. These discussions include important implications and applicability for all natural resource dependent communities that are currently facing the slow death of their traditional extraction economies and are grappling with transitions to different economic models, a trend that currently defines many rural communities across the American West.

2018 ISSRM

Best paper submitted by a Doctoral student:

Megan Bonham, Northwestern University

“Experiences with the Nighttime Environment: How Darkness Affects Human Relationships with Nature”

Through artificial lighting, humanity has undertaken a decades-long, global initiative to conquer the nighttime environment. Despite the Global North’s overwhelming success in this endeavor, limited areas of natural darkness persist, and this darkness is increasingly valued as a natural resource. Through interviews and participant observation of guided nighttime interpretive programs, I examine how program guides ‘produce,’ and how program participants ‘receive,’ experiences in natural darkness. My data illustrates how darkness facilitates a different sensory encounter with nature, as well as affective responses including fear and awe. I argue that darkness challenges our sense of domination over the rest of nature and that nighttime recreational experiences can introduce greater humility into human-environment relationships. Therefore, nighttime interpretive programs should become valued and essential work for national, regional, and local parks. Finally, I extend a call to fellow environmental social scientists to join me in studying the night—a largely neglected temporal dimension of nature—including how darkness impacts our behaviors, values, and the meanings we attach to the natural world.

2017 ISSRM

Best paper submitted by a Doctoral student:

Marian Hubbard-Rice, Utah State University

“Caffeine Demonstrates Anthropogenic E. coli: Drives Policy Change”

In 2006 Emigration Creek in Salt Lake County Utah was placed on the United States Clean Water Act list of Impaired Waters for being contaminated for Escherichia coli (E. coli). Since there are no active point sources in that section of Emigration Creek the contamination is classified as a nonpoint source. The E. coli contamination is likely attributed to failing septic systems leaking raw sewage into the waterbody. However, many residents and entities still attribute the source of E. coli to wildlife and dogs in the canyon. As a result, residents and policy makers are hesitant to address and proceed with implementing a solution to the many failing septic systems.

This interdisciplinary paper demonstrates the use of science to drive policy implementation. Utilizing a linear regression analysis this study finds that caffeine has a relationship to flow (Q) in the creek indicating the source of E. coli is human caused. This correlates to the seasonality of the water quality impairment. Using Kingdon’s Multiple Streams framework, this study analyzes the potential for public policy implementation related to the failing septic systems, including the problem stream, policy stream, and political stream. This paper hypothesizes the identification of caffeine in the water demonstrates an anthropogenic source of pollution thus driving policy change via a well-timed policy window.

2016 ISSRM

Best paper submitted by a Doctoral student:

Timothy R. Silberg, Michigan State University

“Legume-Cereal Intercropping in Central Malawi–Determinants of Practice”

In Malawi, increased population growth has reduced opportunities for farmers to expand operations and cultivate new areas of land. The country’s primary farming population is comprised of smallholders (cultivating less than two hectares), many of whom cultivate cereals (e.g., maize) as a monoculture. The repeated practice of cultivating cereals can lead to soil erosion and fertility-loss. Intercropping cereals with legumes has widely been promoted to smallholders. The intensified practice has shown to sustain crop productivity without undermining soil fertility. Unfortunately, the number of practitioners has remained low countrywide. To elucidate drivers behind intercropping, the following study used multiple logistic regression to analyze 2013 household survey data from Central Malawi.

Best paper submitted by a Masters student:

Kaitlyn Cyr, University of Alberta

“Identifying Social Norms in the Context of Wetland Conservation on Agricultural Lands”

The Canadian Prairie Provinces are home to an extensive area of North America’s wetlands, which have been continuously drained to make way for farmland, urban construction, and other human development. The development of new wetland management policies has created the opportunity to test market-mechanisms, such as incentive programs, as a tool for wetland restoration.

Social and cultural factors, such as social norms, impacting participation in these programs are relatively unstudied. Using a sample of rural landowners (n=165) across Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, this study explores the existence of social norms relating to wetland restoration on productive land. We were interested in whether different types of norms can be identified, and how these norms relate to other values and beliefs. As an exploratory study, our paper proposes that different types of social norms exist surrounding wetland drainage and that these measures can be used to better understand environmental behaviour in conservation programs on productive agricultural land. We include these norm constructs in a model of environmental behaviour with a measure of values, beliefs, and participation to investigate the role of norms in conservation program participation. Our results indicate that norms are related directly to values and beliefs and are a significant factor in behaviour.