Scientists & Staff
My broad research interests and expertise pertain to understanding and modeling the impact of social factors – from the individual to the community level – on natural resources planning, management, conservation, and restoration across public and private lands. Most of my research is in the context of forest and water resources.
I am currently involved in several projects related to family forest owners: policy tool preferences for engaging in management activities on their land; invasive species monitoring, prevention, and control practices; and the impact of public lands restoration activities on landowner willingness to participate in landscape restoration. I am also leading a team of scientists in conducting a meta-analysis of the family forest owner literature to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what impacts landowner decisions and behaviors.
I have a keen interest in water and the social aspects of preventing pollution from nonpoint sources, and participate in a number of projects to that end. One such project is a multistate team investigating catalysts for collective action to protect water resources. This work has led to a number of collaborative investigations that capitalize on the knowledge of scientists across the Midwest, including the analysis of large survey data sets from across the Great Lakes region. An additional project I am working on involves analyzing water governance structures that span spatial, social, administrative, and institutional levels.
Stakeholder perceptions and support of management actions and restoration on public lands is another focus of my work. I was a co-PI on a recent survey of residents in the Wisconsin Northwoods to understand what impacted their attitudes toward management on three types of public forest in the state. With other Forest Service scientists and cooperators from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, I am investigating perceptions of a large scale landscape restoration project on the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest.
Why This Research is ImportantSustainable and resilient ecosystems are dependent upon human behaviors. It is essential to understand what drives people to engage in conservation and restoration actions, and what types of policies and programs support those actions.
- Purdue University, Ph.D. Natural Resources Social Science, 2008
- Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, M.S. Forestry Human Dimensions of Watershed Management, 2004
- Research Social Scientist, USDA Forest Service 2015 - Current
- Assistant/Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point 2008 - 2015
- International Association for Society and Natural Resources
I have been involved with IASNR since I was a M.S. student at Southern Illinois University. I regularly review papers for the Society's journal and have participated in a number of activities to serve the organization, including helping to plan the annual symposium.
Publications & Products
- Floress, Kristin ; Connolly, Stephanie ; Halvorsen, Kathleen E.; Egan, Amanda ; Schuler, Thomas ; Hill, Amy ; DeSenze, Philip ; Fenimore, Scott ; Karriker, Kent. 2018. Implementing Landscape Scale Conservation across Organizational Boundaries: Lessons from the Central Appalachian Region, United States. Environmental Management
- Floress, Kristin; Haines, Anna; Usher, Emily; Gobster, Paul; Dockry, Mike. 2018. Landowner and visitor response to forest landscape restoration: the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Northeast Sands Project. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Center for Land Use Education; and University of Wisconsin Extension. 57 p.
- Floress, Kristin; Reimer, Adam; Thompson, Aaron; Burbach, Mark; Knutson, Cody; Prokopy, Linda; Ribaudo, Marc; Ulrich-Schad, Jessica. 2018. Measuring farmer conservation behaviors: Challenges and best practices. Land Use Policy. 70: 414-418.
- Floress, Kristin; García de Jalón, Silvestre; Church, Sarah P.; Babin, Nicholas; Ulrich-Schad, Jessica D.; Prokopy, Linda S. 2017. Toward a theory of farmer conservation attitudes: Dual interests and willingness to take action to protect water quality. Journal of Environmental Psychology
- Floress, Kristin; Kolozsvary, Mary Beth; Mangun, Jean. 2017. Expert Perceptions of Approaches to Protecting Isolated Wetlands in the Northeastern United States. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
- 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.
- Floress, Kristin; Akamani, Kofi; Halvorsen, Kathleen E.; Kozich, Andrew T.; Davenport, Mae. 2015. The role of social science in sucessfully implementing watershed management strategies. Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education. 154: 85-105.
National Research Highlights
Understanding why farmers adopt land management practices that protect soil, water, and other ecosystem services is a key need for developing appropriate programs and outreach strategies that promote conservation. Multiple organizations need research to support their agricultural conservation work. A team of Forest Service and university collaborators is extending research published in a 2008 Journal of Soil and Water Conservation paper that is currently the journal’s most highly cited article.
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.
Long-term investment in relationships with local organizations increases opportunities for landscape scale conservation.