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Michaela Foster

Global Change Fellow Alumna | Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources | North Carolina State University

2014 – 2015 Global Change Fellow

Where are they now?

Michaela is a Data and Policy Analyst at the European Forest Institute

Statement of purpose:

I am a master’s student in Natural Resources with a policy and administration concentration at North Carolina State University. I am working under Dr. Fred Cubbage and Dr. Nils Peterson in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. My research interests lie in natural resource decision-making, policy, and how science informs the two, and my current research explores how agencies are working to restore longleaf pine ecosystems in the Southeast.

Description of research:

My research explores the restoration of longleaf pine ecosystems in the Southeast as a case study to uncover how different agencies manage the same resource across the landscape. Longleaf pine ecosystems were once the predominant ecosystem in the Southeast, but now this system only covers about 3% of its original range. Federal, state, and nongovernmental organizations are working to restore this once prominent landscape; however, restoration efforts are not always coordinated between agencies. Every management decision made by agencies transcends jurisdictional boundaries and shapes the landscape at many scales. I am evaluating management plans in the following categories: issues and objective statement, fact base, plan proposals and implementation, interdependency and integration with other plans, and stakeholder participation. This analysis will provide insight into the institutional context in which management decisions are being, including understanding limitations and constraints agencies are operating under as well as identifying opportunities to improve management. My research will contribute to SECSC’s Science Theme 4: Ecological Research and Monitoring, Task 5: Provide support to LCCs in assessing new strategies to conserve natural communities.

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