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UT Professor Awarded Grant to Evaluate Human Impacts of Conservation Interventions 

UT's Paul Armsworth, EEBPaul Armsworth, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has received a grant from the Pew Charitable Trust to evaluate the impacts on different sectors of society of Pew’s conservation programs (USPLRC). The award supports Armsworth’s research, which aims to inform both biodiversity conservation strategies and the management of ecosystem services. 

Over the next year, the $200,000 grant will support this collaborative effort between UT, Colorado State University, and the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Collectively, the research team offers more than 80 years of experience in collaborative research into the human impacts of conservation and natural resource management interventions. Researchers on this project represent interdisciplinary expertise in conservation science, ecosystem services, natural resource economics, geospatial analysis, environmental valuation, ecological modeling, public policy, and survey design. 

The goal of this project is the creation of a system that combines spatial analysis to quantify how conservation projects benefit people with sociological data about stakeholder opinions on those conservation projects. This system will allow for an assessment of the different pathways through which USPLRC projects impact diverse constituencies, and provide recommendations on ways to increase the benefits to people from USPLRC projects. 

Although this research will be conducted on USPLRC projects, the results will be relevant to other organizations and broader policy debates, such as how best the US can achieve ambitious conservation goals. One such goal is the Biden administration’s 30 by 30 goal—a goal that plans to protect 30 percent of US lands and ocean territories by 2030.