Thesis: Landowners, neighbors, and invasive species

garlicmustard_smallLast week, Ms. Kelly Crosset successfully defended her MS thesis entitled, Landowner Perspectives on Invasive Species Management and Neighbors in Southwest Wisconsin. The abstract is below, and we will be working on developing a paper based on her work, which is quite interesting.

If you’d like to learn more about this study, let me know.


Invasive species control is a necessary management practice for landowners who want foster land health. Invasive species are known to spread rapidly across landscapes, thus, reducing the efficacy of property-specific control efforts, unless coordinated with neighbors. Research indicates that people tend to cooperate when they share similar characteristics and management goals. Given the diversity of landowner goals, this study asked a relatively simple research question, how plausible is it to combat invasive species at multi-property scales? To explore the relationships among neighbors and invasive species removal, we conducted eighteen semi-structured interviews with landowners living in Iowa, Richland, and Sauk Counties in Southwest Wisconsin. Interviewees were selected from two groups: (1) landowners who actively remove and manage invasive species and (2) neighbors of those who actively remove and manage invasive species. Given the mixed farms and woodlands found in the study area, interviewees included farmers and non-farm landowners. Interview questions focused on interviewees‘ goals for their land, their management practices—generally and specific to invasive species, relationships with their neighbors, and the egocentric networks they tapped for land management decisions. Through qualitative analysis of key themes and characteristics, findings indicate that there are substantial social barriers that inhibit invasive species management at scales beyond individual properties.

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