March 9, 2020

Current Research

Solar Feasibility Study for Tensleep Preserve in North Central Wyoming
The Nature Conservancy
UHPSI research assistants are working in partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Tensleep Preserve, located in North Central Wyoming, to conduct a solar feasibility study for the preserve. Renewable energy technologies like solar and wind play an increasingly important role in building rural energy independence and resilience. Efforts to pursue this study are in response to the site’s vulnerability to wildfires and awareness that wildfire frequency and severity may increase in the future. UHPSI research assistants are crafting an innovative plan to guide and inform the implementation of an onsite solar project. Read more…


Impacts of Recreation on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative
In partnership with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, UHPSI research assistants are investigating trends, conditions, and projections surrounding recreation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to identify possible recreation ethics for the region. Growing negative impacts of recreation on the ecosystem necessitate a reevaluation of attitudes surrounding recreational access and growth. Through conversations with participants in the GYE recreation community, this project will strive to gain a better understanding of the perspectives, normative values, and drivers of recreation. At the closure of this project, the UHPSI team and the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative will recommend next steps to building a recreation ethic and make their findings available to the public in a paper. Read more…


Development of a Feasibility Tool to Evaluate Grassbank Potential in Thunder Basin, Wyoming
Our team is working with The Nature Conservancy Wyoming to research the feasibility of a creative approach to grassland conservation in the Thunder Basin region of Wyoming. The approach is called “grassbanking” and it brings together ranchers and conservation organizations to enhance environmental performance and ranching livelihoods by offering access to discounted grazing leases in exchange for conservation practices on local ranches. Our research will assess environmental, economic, and social aspects of this concept to determine if this is a feasible and effective conservation intervention. Our research and consultation with experts will result in a report which summarizes our findings and present actionable recommendations for TNC and their partners in the region. Read more…


Western Speaker Series
The Western Speaker Series connects conservation professionals and Yale students to explore and discuss a range of issues facing land stewardship in the American West. The Symposium Coordinators work with UHPSI staff to plan presentations, career chats, and technical training by western conservation professionals that provide our students with valuable knowledge and insight. The 2019-2020 Western Speaker Series includes topics such as organic dryland farming, wildland fires and fire ecology, climate impacts and ecological resilience, conservation within socio-ecological systems, and Indigenous land management. Previous years have featured speakers discussing the state and future of the Colorado River Watershed, human-wildlife conflict and coexistence, conservation of Indigenous lands, conflict resolution, and public/private land management partnerships. Read more…


Highlighting Indigenous Relationships in the West: A Special Issue of Indigenizing the News
Indigenizing the News is a news source dedicated to Native nations, cultures, and contemporary issues in North America. Through a special issue of the monthly newsletter, Meghanlata Gupta is working to share a variety of news articles, videos, and images that discuss how Indigenous communities collaborate with local, state, and federal governments to pursue shared management and conservation objectives in the western United States. Read more…


Climate Vulnerability in the Crown of the Continent
US Fish and Wildlife Service
UHPSI students are collaborating with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assist with a Landscape Conservation Design (LCD). The Crown Managers Partnership is creating this design to model spatially-explicit future conditions in the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, which encompasses parts of Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. As a preliminary step in LCD development, our student research assistants are conducting landscape-specific climate vulnerability assessments using NatureServe’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index. Students are assessing target conservation species and habitats such as bull trout and whitebark pine by utilizing high quality conservation and climate data to evaluate factors that indicate vulnerability. The products of this work will be spatially-explicit climate vulnerability analyses and recommendations for conducting future vulnerability assessments for the LCD. Read more…


Wildlife-Friendly  Ranching in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Rory Jacobson and Anna-Sophia Haub are working with partners at the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and the University of Pittsburgh to study ranchers’ perspectives on conservation and wildlife management in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. To understand the economic, social, and cultural drivers behind these perceptions and management strategies, they are conducting formal qualitative interviews with experts, ranchers, and beef certifiers. This research will assist in identifying  and understanding potential opportunities to support ranchers who wish to implement more wildlife management strategies with their ranching operation. Read more…