Scientists & Staff
Lynne M. Westphal
My research focuses on how people participate in decision-making and management of local environments and in combining methods and information from a variety of science disciplines to better address complex issues. A lot of my research is in urban areas, where nearby nature plays a vital role in improving quality of life.
With my research colleagues, we are looking civic engagement in stewardship in the Chicago Wilderness region and in comparison to similar activities in others cities. This builds on earlier work where I looked at volunteer motivations and the social impacts of block-level greening projects.
In the RESTORE project we are investigating whether the social structure of groups making ecological restoration decisions makes a difference in terms of the biodiversity of the restoration sites. If it does, it points to best management practices for enhancing biodiversity but if it doesn't, that's good, too because it indicates that a variety of approaches to restoration may be effective, thereby expanding the suite of options for conducting ecological restoration.
I have long been involved in research and other projects in the Calumet rustbelt landscape of southeast Chicago and northwest Indiana. Currently my focus there is with the Northwest Indiana Urban waters project (http://www.urbanwaters.gov/pdf/northwestindiana.pdf). Information on earlier work can be found here (http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/urban/calumet/).
- Continue to refine and strengthen participatory decision making and management of natural areas.
- Continuing the integration of social, biological, and physical disciplines in natural resources research.
Why This Research is Important
We understand the importance of habitat for wildlife, yet humans need good habitat, too. Trees, rivers and streams, parks and other open spaces all play a significant role in creating good places to live. My work helps planners, municipal employees, elected officials, NGOs, tree advocates, and others understand how to manage natural resources to improve quality of life and achieve environmental justice.
- Environmental Design Research Association
- American Psychological Association
Sec. 35 (environmental psychology)
- American Sociological Association
- International Society of Arboriculture
- Society for Conservation Biology
Featured Publications & Products
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Davis, Amelie Y.; Copp, Cindy; Ross, Laurel M.; Bouman, Mark J.; Fisher, Cherie L.; Johnston, Mark K. 2014. Characteristics of stewardship in the Chicago Wilderness Region. Cities and the Environment. 7(1): article 3.
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Hirsch, Jennifer. 2010. Engaging Chicago residents in climate change action: Results from Rapid Ethnographic Inquiry. Cities and the Environment. 3(1): article 13. 16 p.
- Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc; Westphal, Lynne M.; Longoni, Mario. 2010. Fish consumption risk perception among anglers in an industrial urban area. In: Watts, Clifton E., Jr.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc, eds. Proceedings of the 2009 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-66. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 48-56.
- Atwell, Ryan C.; Schulte, Lisa A.; Westphal, Lynne M. 2010. How to build multifunctional agricultural landscapes in the U.S corn belt: add perennials and partnerships. Land Use Policy. 27: 1082-1090.
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Gobster, Paul H.; Gross, Matthias. 2010. Models for renaturing brownfield areas [Chapter 19]. In: Hall, Marcus, ed. Restoration and history: The search for a usable environmental past. New York, NY: Routledge: 208-217.
- Atwell, Ryan. C.; Schulte, Lisa. A.; Westphal, Lynne M. 2011. Tweak, adapt, or transform: Policy scenarios in response to emerging bioenergy markets in the U.S. Ecology and Society. 16 (1): 10. 15 p.
Publications & Products
- Johnson, Michelle L.; Locke, Dexter H.; Svendsen, Erika ; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Westphal, Lynne M.; Romolini, Michele ; Grove, J. Morgan. 2019. Context matters: influence of organizational, environmental, and social factors on civic environmental stewardship group intensity. Ecology and Society
- Asah, Stanley T.; Bengston, David N.; Westphal, Lynne M.; Gowan, Catherine H. 2018. Mechanisms of children's exposure to nature: Predicting adulthood environmental citizenship and commitment to nature-based activities. Environment and Behavior.
- Browning, Matthew H.E.M.; Kuo, Ming; Sachdeva, Sonya; Lee, Kangjae; Westphal, Lynne. 2018. Greenness and school-wide test scores are not always positively associated - A replication of "linking student performance in Massachusetts elementary schools with the 'greenness' of school surroundings using remote sensing". Landscape and Urban Planning
- Kuo, Ming ; Browning, Matthew H. E. M.; Sachdeva, Sonya ; Lee, Kangjae ; Westphal, Lynne. 2018. Might School Performance Grow on Trees? Examining the Link Between "Greenness" and Academic Achievement in Urban, High-Poverty Schools. Frontiers in Psychology
- Watkins, Shannon Lea; Vogt, Jess ; Mincey, Sarah K.; Fischer, Burnell C.; Bergmann, Rachael A.; Widney, Sarah E.; Westphal, Lynne M.; Sweeney, Sean. 2018. Does collaborative tree planting between nonprofits and neighborhood groups improve neighborhood community capacity?. Cities
- Belaire, J. Amy; Westphal, Lynne M.; Minor, Emily S. 2016. Different social drivers, including perceptions of urban wildlife, explain the ecological resources in residential landscapes. Landscape Ecology. 31(2): 401-413.
- Gobster, Paul H.; Floress, Kristin; Westphal, Lynne M.; Watkins, Cristy A.; Vining, Joanne; Wali, Alaka. 2016. Resident and user support for urban natural areas restoration practices. Biological Conservation. 203: 216-225.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Fisher, Dana R.; Connolly, James J.T.; Johnson, Michelle L.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Locke, Dexter H.; Westphal, Lynne M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc; Grove, Morgan; Romolini, Michele; Blahna, Dale J.; Wolf, Kathleen L. 2016. Stewardship mapping and assessment project: a framework for understanding community-based environmental stewardship. Gen. Tech. Rep. 156. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 134 p.
- Belaire, J. Amy; Westphal, Lynne M.; Whelan, Christopher J.; Minor, Emily S. 2015. Urban residents' perceptions of birds in the neighborhood: Biodiversity, cultural ecosystem services, and disservices. The Condor. 117(2): 192-202.
- Watkins, Christy; Westphal, Lynne M.; Gobster, Paul H.; Vining, Joanne; Wali, Alaka; Tudor, Madeleine. 2015. Shared principles of restoration practice in the Chicago wilderness region. Human Ecology Review. 21(1): 155-177.
- Watkins, Cristy; Westphal, Lynne M. 2015. People don't talk in institutional statements: A methodological case study of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework. Policy Studies Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/psj.12139. 25 p.
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Watkins, Cristy; Gobster, Paul H.; Heneghan, Liam; Ross, Kristen; Ross, Laurel; Tudor, Madeleine; Wali, Alaka; Wise, David H.; Vining, Joanne; Zellner, Moira. 2014. Social Science Methods Used in the RESTORE Project. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-138. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 116 p.
- Atwell, Ryan C.; Schulte, Lisa A.; Westphal, Lynne M. 2009. Linking resilience theory and diffusion of innovations theory to understand the potential for perennials in the U.S. Corn Belt. Ecology and Society. 14(1): 30.
- Atwell, Ryan C.; Schulte, Lisa A.; Westphal, Lynne M. 2009. Landscape, community, countryside: linking biophysical and social scales in US Corn Belt agricultural landscapes. Landscape Ecology. 24: 791-806.
- De Sousa, Christopher A.; Wu, Changson; Westphal, Lynne M. 2009. Assessing the effect of publicly assisted brownfield redevelopment on surrounding property values. Economic Development Quarterly. 23(2): 95-110.
- Lu, Jacqueline W.T.; Shane, Megan; Svendsen, Erika; Campbell, Lindsay; Fragola, Cristiana; Krasny, Marianne; Lovasl, Gina; Maddox, David; McDonnell, Simon; McPhearson, P. Timon; Montalto, Franco; Newman, Andrew; Pehek, Ellen; Rae, Ruth A.; Stedman, Richard; Tidball, Keith G.; Westphal, Lynne; Whitlow, Tom. 2009. MillionTreesNYC, Green infrastructure, and urban ecology: building a research agenda. MillionTreesNYC, Green infrastructure, and urban ecology: building a research agenda. Report from the workshop. New York, NY: [Publisher unknown]. 44 p.
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Longoni, Mario; LeBlanc, Cherie L.; Wali, Alaka. 2008. Anglers' appraisals of the risks of eating sport-caught fish from industrial areas: lessons from Chicago's Calumet region. Human Ecology Review. 15(1): 46-62.
- Fernandez-Juricic, Esteban; Zollner, Patrick A.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc; Westphal, Lynne M. 2007. Responses of nestling black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) to aquatic and terrestrial recreational activities: a manipulative study. Waterbirds. 30(4): 554-565.
- Kramer, Daniel Boyd; Polasky, Stephen; Starfield, Anthony; Palik, Brian; Westphal, Lynn; Snyder, Stephanie; Jakes, Pamela; Hudson, Rachel; Gustafson, Eric. 2006. A Comparison of Alternative Strategies for Cost-Effective Water Quality Management in Lakes. Environmental Management Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 411-425
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Ostry, Michael E. 2006. Decisions at the water's edge: sustaining riparian landscapes in the midwest. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-247. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 31 p.
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Levengood, Jeffery M.; Wali, Alaka; Soucek, David; Stotz, Douglas F. 2005. Brownfield redevelopment: a hidden opportunity for conservation biology. In: Bengston, David N., tech. ed. Policies for managing urban growth and landscape change: a key to conservation in the 21st century. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-265. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 21-26
- Gobster, Paul H.; Westpahl, Lynne M. 2004. The human dimensions of urban greenways: planning for recreation and related experiences. Landscape and Urban Planning 68:147-165
- Westphal, Lynne M. 2003. Social Aspects of Urban Forestry: Urban Greening and Social Benefits: a Study of Empowerment Outcomes. Journal of Arboriculture 29(3):137-147
- Westphal, Lynne M. 2003. Water, water everywhere... integrated riparian research in the North Central Region. In: Van Sambeek, J. W.; Dawson, Jeffery O.; Ponder Jr., Felix; Loewenstein, Edward F.; Fralish, James S., eds. Proceedings of the 13th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-234. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station: 108-113
- Westphal, Lynne M.; Isebrands, J. G. 2001. Phytoremediation of Chicago's brownfields: consideration of ecological approaches and social issues.. In: Brownfields 2001 proceedings; Chicago, II.
- Westphal, Lynne M. 2000. Increasing the trustworthiness of research results: the role of computers in qualitative text analysis. In: Bengston, david N., ed. Applications of computer-aided text analysis in natural resources. General Techical Report. NC-211. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station: 1-6.
- Westphal, Lynne. 1999. Growing Power?: Social Benefits From Urban Greening Projects. Westphal, Lynne M. Growing Power?: Social Benefits From Urban Greening Projects. 1999
- Gobster, P. H.; Westphal, L. M. 1998. People and the River: Perception and Use of Chicago Waterways for Recreation.. Misc. Publ., Milwaukee, WI: U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.
- Gobster, Paul H.; Westphal, Lynne M. 1998. People and the river: perception and use of Chicago waterways for recreation.. Chicago Rivers Demonstr. Proj. Rep. Milwaukee, WI: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. 192 p.
National Research Highlights
An analysis of academic achievement within Chicago Public Schools suggests that a higher proportion of tree cover, relative to grass and other vegetation, on school yards is associated with higher math and reading scores.
Resident and visitor beliefs about whether a given restoration practice, such as controlled burning, is already being used at a site can be a powerful predictor of support for that practice.
Childhood nature experiences have lifelong positive effects. Children’s voluntary engagement with nature, as opposed to exposure through schools and other organized programs, can result in benefits such as improved test scores, self-discipline, and reduced behavioral problems. This study examined different mechanisms through which children and youth are exposed to nature and the extent to which different exposure mechanisms are associated with such long-term benefits.
Birds can help urban residents make connections to the outdoors. Forest Service scientists surveyed urban residents and found that most of them like most birds, even if they aren’t aware of the full species richness in their neighborhoods. This awareness can be used to reach urban residents and help them move towards an understanding of sustainability.
Restoration is growing in application, and Forest Service scientists found a set of guiding principles in effect throughout the Chicago Wilderness region. These principles reflect not only a shared philosophy and technique, but also serve as a system of collective action to benefit the larger landscape and the people who live within it.
Forest Service researchers and partners interviewed residents of two Chicago neighborhoods about their awareness of climate change and their own climate-friendly behaviors. They found that residents have varying levels of knowledge about climate change and identified many opportunities to simultaneously meet neighborhood goals and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The findings will help the City of Chicago shape its Climate Action Plan outreach to residents and the lessons learned are applicable in other places as well.
NRS researchers Paul Gobster and Lynne Westphal and a German colleague, Matthias Gross, analyzed urban restoration projects and developed several alternative models that articulate the various possible types of restoration projects.