Exurban development impacts ecological functioning and creates myriad challenges for land management practitioners such as small parcel management, changing landowner attitudes and objectives, and increased importance of non-traditional land management entities. The next generation of land management professionals will require intensive interdisciplinary training and knowledge, skills, and abilities that match these novel landscapes and stakeholder needs.
We offer a total of 6 MS positions beginning in August 2020 for a new Exurban Forest Ecosystem Management Fellowship program in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Connecticut. The positions are for graduate research assistantships and are fully funded for two academic years with full tuition remission. The overall focus of the fellowship program is on training students to effectively navigate the land management profession in our increasingly exurban world. Specific research topics could focus on one or more of the following areas: 1) carbon and nutrient cycling, 2) managing for ecosystem resiliency, 3) synanthropic wildlife, 4) ecosystem toxicology, 5) human dimensions and landowner decision-making, 6) land-use planning and parcelization, and 7) specialty wood products and non-timber forest products. As part of the Fellowship experience, each student will receive training in exurban forest management and planning, socio-ecological systems theory and application, ecosystem science and management, and communication and engagement through project-based service learning. Fellows will conduct engaged scholarship through cooperator-based research and gain direct experience working with categories of potential employers in novel and expanding sectors of land management stakeholders.