Mark W Brunson

Mark W Brunson
Utah State University | USU · Department of Environment and Society

Doctor of Philosophy

About

144
Publications
23,007
Reads
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3,239
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 1992 - present
Utah State University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Education
June 1989 - August 1991
Oregon State University
Field of study
  • Forestry
September 1987 - May 1989
Oregon State University
Field of study
  • Forest Recreation Resources

Publications

Publications (144)
Article
On the Ground •Public programs, strategies, and incentives to implement rangeland climate adaptation are more effective if they are tailored to local drought exposures, sensitivities, and adaptation opportunities. As such, local rangeland advisers who aid in climate adaptation are pivotal to the development of these resources. •We hosted a virtual...
Article
On the Ground •Researchers have studied human dimensions of rangelands since the earliest days of US range science, usually focusing only on white, male, English-speaking ranch owners. •To address questions of rural prosperity and collaborative management, social scientists and the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network must turn their at...
Article
Invasive species management in natural landscapes is generally executed at the scale of independent jurisdictions, yet the ecological processes and biodiversity to be protected from invasion occur over large spatial scales and across multiple jurisdictions. Jurisdictional land boundaries can influence the flows and dynamics of ecological systems, a...
Preprint
Full-text available
The boundaries of most protected areas are not large enough to encompass natural processes such as hydrologic and ecological connections between wetlands and within watersheds. Therefore, management is likely to be improved by working across boundaries with multiple jurisdictions. This research explores barriers and opportunities for cross-boundary...
Article
Full-text available
ContextLarge landscapes exhibit natural heterogeneity. Land management can impose additional variation, altering ecosystem patterns. Habitat characteristics may reflect these management factors, potentially resulting in habitat differences that manifest along jurisdictional boundaries.Objectives We characterized the patchwork of habitats across a c...
Article
As natural resource managers continue to face complex problems, cross-boundary stewardship among multiple jurisdictions becomes increasingly important. Cooperation is one strategy for achieving stewardship across boundaries, and understanding different types of cooperative interactions is essential for managers to effectively work together. This re...
Article
Wildfires pose significant risks to populations living in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). We examine the influence of WUI residents’ risk perceptions as well as other cognitive constructs (guided by Protection Motivation Theory) likely to influence their decisions to take wildfire mitigation actions before and shortly after a near-miss wildfire...
Article
Maintaining healthy rangeland ecosystems requires adaptive co-management at the landscape scale. Because the majority of western rangelands are publicly owned, it is critical that federal land management agencies work together in generating and sharing information. Promotion and communication of rangeland management innovations among agencies is on...
Article
On the Ground •Multijurisdictional rangeland “mega fires” are becoming more common. •Using interview data, we examined cross-boundary collaboration after the Soda Fire that burned approximately 113,312 ha (280,000 acres) of southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. •We found relationships established in other management contexts were activated b...
Article
This research aims to understand the attitudes and values of culinary ‘innovators’ already working with ‘local’ or ‘grass-fed/finished’ beef. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with specialty chefs and butchers in the Rocky Mountain Region based on the hypothesis that they operate as opinion leaders and understand that the benefits of, and b...
Chapter
Full-text available
Invasive species and their management represent a complex issue spanning social and ecological systems. Invasive species present existing and potential threats to the nature of ecosystems and the products and services that people receive from them. Humans can both cause and address problems through their complex interactions with ecosystems. Yet, p...
Article
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Human‐induced ecological boundaries, or anthropogenic ecotones, may arise where administrative boundaries meet on undeveloped lands. Landscape‐level ecological processes related to factors such as fire, invasive species, grazing, resource extraction, wildlife, and water may be affected due to unique management strategies adopted by each administrat...
Article
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Availability of water for irrigated crops is driven by climate and policy, as moderated by public priorities and opinions. We explore how climate and water policy interact to influence water availability for cannabis (Cannabis sativa), a newly regulated crop in California, as well as how public discourse frames these interactions. Grower access to...
Article
Disturbance to ecosystems in parks and protected areas from nature-based tourism and recreation is increasing in scale and severity, as are the impacts of climate change-but there is limited research examining the degree to which these anthropogenic disturbances interact. In this perspective paper, we draw on the available literature to expose comp...
Article
Full-text available
Although natural resource managers are concerned about climate change, many are unable to adequately incorporate climate change science into their adaptation strategies or management plans, and are not always aware of or do not always employ the most current scientific knowledge. One of the most prominent natural resource management agencies in the...
Article
Full-text available
The benefits of urban trees are well known; however, tree roots often damage sidewalks, requiring root cutting, tree removal, and sidewalk replacement. We used alternative materials that allowed for tree retention and sidewalk replacement at two sites in northern Utah. From these projects, we developed a plan to help Extension professionals build s...
Article
Ecosystem services are benefits humans obtain as a result of ecosystem processes and conditions. In the western United States, public rangelands are managed for a spectrum of ecosystem services on behalf of multiple stakeholders. Decisions of ranchers who hold public land grazing allotments must balance operational needs for forage with societal ex...
Article
Full-text available
The increasing worldwide spread of non-native species is both a component and a consequence of environmental change, and islands are especially vulnerable to negative effects. Efforts to control non-native species often include public education intended to promote behaviors designed to reduce or reverse their spread. To inform the use of informatio...
Article
Rangeland seeding practices in the Intermountain western United States are predominantly implemented in the year immediately following wildfire for the purposes of Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR). This necessarily links restoration and rehabilitation outcomes to the probability of a single year providing sufficiently favorable micr...
Article
Millions of hectares of sagebrush/bunchgrass rangeland in the western United States are undergoing type conversion to systems dominated by introduced annual grasses that proliferate after wildfire. Postfire rehabilitation and restoration are problematic in these complex systems, but restoration difficulties are exacerbated by high annual and season...
Article
Full-text available
Protected areas (PAs) can generate many benefits inside and outside their borders, and achieving objectives for diverse stakeholders raises many challenges. There are many examples of successful PA management around the globe, although a systematic and comprehensive approach to developing and sharing these solutions has been lacking. We present “so...
Article
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2018. Analyzing stakeholders' workshop dialogue for evidence of social learning. Ecology and Society 23(1):42. ABSTRACT. After much debate and synthesis, social learning scholarship is entering an era of empirical research. Given the range across individual-, network-, and systems-level perspectives and scales, clear documentation of social learnin...
Article
Full-text available
Ecologists who specialize in translational ecology (TE) seek to link ecological knowledge to decision making by integrating ecological science with the full complement of social dimensions that underlie today's complex environmental issues. TE is motivated by a search for outcomes that directly serve the needs of natural resource managers and decis...
Article
We define a translational ecologist as a professional ecologist with diverse disciplinary expertise and skill sets, as well as a suitable personal disposition, who engages across social, professional, and disciplinary boundaries to partner with decision makers to achieve practical environmental solutions. Becoming a translational ecologist requires...
Article
Invasive annual weeds negatively impact ecosystem services and pose a major conservation threat on semiarid rangelands throughout the western United States. Rehabilitation of these rangelands is challenging due to interannual climate and subseasonal weather variability that impacts seed germination, seedling survival and establishment, annual weed...
Chapter
Full-text available
A social–ecological system (SES) is a combination of social and ecological actors and processes that influence each other in profound ways. The SES framework is not a research methodology or a checklist to identify problems. It is a conceptual framework designed to keep both the social and ecological components of a system in focus so that the inte...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently (2016) occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grou...
Article
As a result of climate change and past management practices, wildfires are becoming larger and occurring more frequently than ever before in the Western U.S. In order to mitigate the effects of this growing threat, fire management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service have encouraged residents in at-risk communities to protect their homes, prope...
Article
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On the Ground • Ranchers'’ responses to drought differ depending on where they live and specific circumstances of their ranches, but there are striking similarities across regions. • Changes in practice after a drought reflect a general desire to buffer one's operation against disruptions, rather than being specifically aimed at the next drought....
Article
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The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) was created in response to a request from the Office of Management and Budget that the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA – NRCS) document the societal benefits anticipated to accrue from a major increase in conservation funding authorized by the 2002 Farm...
Article
Because humans depend on rangelands for a wide variety of ecosystem goods and services, they have a large stake in research that explores supply and demand for those goods and services.Scientists and science users who ranked 142 separate rangeland issues chose a socio-economic concern as most pressing: How to help rural communities plan for, adapt...
Chapter
Invasive species are problems because of people. Whether these species are introduced accidentally or purposefully, human activities inevitably influence their spread. Disturbance processes and control options are affected by economic, political, and social factors as well as by biological ones. To understand the dynamics of invasion and potential...
Article
Environmental science exists to seek solutions to problems related to human-nature interactions. Unfortunately, in many cases, environmental research findings are not effectively used because scientists are not able to convey their knowledge effectively to policy makers and the public, and/or because the questions they address are not directly link...
Article
Full-text available
As a hunted species becomes increasingly rare, the effort required to locate and harvest an individual tends to increase. As rarity increases, governmental oversight, including changes in hunting regulations and protection of habitats and individuals using mechanisms such as the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), can be used to mitigate extinction ri...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Individual perceptions of wildfire can differ substantially from one person to another and from the reality of wildfire risk. This variability in wildfire risk perception can result in inconsistent responses to wildfire mitigation at the individual and community level. Although several studies in wildfire risk perception have found that subjective...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently (2015) occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grou...
Conference Paper
Background / Purpose: This presentation was part of an organized oral session on understanding woody plant encroachment as a social-ecological systems problem. The talk presented data from two general public surveys, one in the Great Basin, USA, about vegetation change and sagebrush decline, and one in the Rocky Mountains states, USA, about encro...
Article
The Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) is an integrated long-term study that evaluates ecological effects of alternative treatments designed to reduce woody fuels and to stimulate the herbaceous understory of sagebrush steppe communities of the Intermountain West. This synopsis summarizes results through 3 yr posttreatment. Wo...
Article
Full-text available
In surveys of residents in three urban and three rural locations in the Great Basin we examined the social acceptability of six management practices showing promise for restoring sagebrush-dominated rangelands. Unlike most studies of range management perceptions that have relied on single measurements, we used longitudinal data from a questionnaire...
Article
Full-text available
This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by the Society for Range Management and can be found at: http://www.srmjournals.org/
Conference Paper
Noted ecologist and former ESA president William Schlesinger proposed in a 2010 Science editorial that ecologists must learn better how to “translate” our science to policy makers and citizens. Translation is a two-way process. Becoming "translational ecologists" will require not only becoming better communicators who are attuned to the most up-to-...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Question/Methods The mission of ESA’s flagship education program – SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability) – is to engage undergraduate minority students and diversify the field of ecology through mentoring and peer support in ecology careers. In 2013, ESA engaged Formative Evaluation Research Associates...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The mission of ESA’s flagship education program – SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability) – is to engage undergraduate minority students and diversify the field of ecology through mentoring and peer support in ecology careers. In 2013, ESA engaged Formative Evaluation Research Associates...
Article
On the Ground Shrub-dominated rangelands are highly susceptible to land degradation, partly because low land values can encourage neglect, leading to poor stewardship and/or conversion to more lucrative but ecologically less desirably uses. Recent efforts to assess the value of “ecosystem services” show that commodity values don't capture all the b...
Article
Integration of conservation partnerships across geographic, biological, and administrative boundaries is increasingly relevant because drivers of change, such as climate shifts, transcend these boundaries. We explored successes and challenges of established conservation programs that span multiple watersheds and consider both social and ecological...
Data
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a b s t r a c t Across the globe, environmental change is resulting in novel ecosystems that have altered habitat struc-ture and functioning. Research is needed to understand how changes in habitat structure in these new ecosystems impact community interactions, especially when these manipulations are being proposed to reduce invasive species. We c...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Increasing energy development and recreation use has led to an increase in gravel road mileage across arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Traffic on these roads creates "fugitive" dust that may affect immediately adjacent plants and soils. Dust deposition can potentially reduce fitness of mature plants while reducing recrui...
Article
Full-text available
Woody plants have increased in density and extent in rangelands worldwide since the 1800s, and land managers increasingly remove woodland plants in hopes of restoring pre-settlement conditions and/or improved forage for grazing livestock. Because such efforts can be controversial, especially on publicly owned lands, managers often attempt to frame...
Article
Full-text available
Resilience-based frameworks for social-ecological systems (SES) are prominent in contemporary scientific literatures, but critics suggest these approaches may promise more than they deliver. A fundamental premise underlying the SES approach is that, because of the scope of human activities worldwide, we cannot separate ecological and human elements...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Ecology, like all sciences, is challenged to remain relevant to a society that increasingly distrusts all established institutions. In recognition of this challenge, Schlesinger (2010) called for a “translational ecology” that would “connect end-users of environmental science to the field research carried out by scient...
Article
Full-text available
Research on the impacts of wildfire and invasive plants in rangelands has focused on biophysical rather than human dimensions of these environmental processes. We offer a synthetic perspective on economic and social aspects of wildfire and invasive plants in American deserts, focusing on the Great Basin because greater research attention has been g...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Research to predict climate change impacts in rangeland ecosystems has emphasized effects on dominant grass and shrub species and implications for grazing management. Less attention has been given to the forb component of rangelands. Managed ecosystems are, by definition, coupled natural-human systems. Successful strate...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The concept of “earth stewardship” implies a level of informed care and attention that sustains a certain type of relationship between ecosystems and human systems. Discussions of stewardship even among scientists have tended to be philosophical more than ecological, typically focusing on flows of ecosystem services to...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Eleutherodactylus coqui is a small tropical terrestrial frog that is native to Puerto Rico and was first seen on the Hawaiian Islands in the late 1980s. Millions of dollars have been spent in recent years in an attempt to control E. coqui, but eradication is deemed no longer possible on the Island of Hawaii. Based on p...
Article
Full-text available
Intact sagebrush communities in the Great Basin are rapidly disappearing because of invasion of nonnative plants, large wildfires, and encroachment of pinyon and juniper woodlands. Land management options, including the use of prescribed fire, grazing, herbicides, or mechanical treatments, can reduce the potential for wildfire and restore plant com...
Article
Full-text available
SageSTEP is a comprehensive regional experiment that provides critical information to managers faced with a sagebrush steppe ecosystem that is increasingly at risk from wildfire, invasive plants, and climate change. The experiment provides managers with information that can be used to restore ecological communities across the 100+ million acres of...
Article
Full-text available
The Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP) is a comprehensive, integrated, long-term study that evaluates the ecological effects of fire and fire surrogate treatments designed to reduce fuel and to restore sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) communities of the Great Basin and surrounding areas. SageSTEP has several features that make it id...
Article
Full-text available
Small-acreage landowners are a challenging audience for Extension because they can differ from traditional clientele in knowledge levels, management goals, and information use. To reach this growing audience, it is important to understand the information-use patterns and delivery preferences of this clientele. We surveyed small-acreage owners in fo...
Article
An improved knowledge of livestock behavior can help both ranchers and researchers understand the benefits of rotational grazing systems. Ranchers tend to make corrective changes quite easily instead of substantive changes. Shifting from a continuous to a rotational grazing system is likely to represent a substantive change, in that typically it re...
Article
Exurban development - ie, low-density housing (<64 homes/square mile) within a landscape dominated by native vegetaition - is now the fastest-growing form of land use in the US, covering nearly 25% of the area of the lower 48 states. The most rapid change is occurring in the Southwest and Rocky Mountains states where it typically involves conversio...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The area dominated by sagebrush in the western United States has diminished by an estimated 50 percent over the past century, largely due to environmental stressors related to human management actions. Accordingly scientists and land managers seek options for restoring native sagebrush-perennial grass ecosystems. These...
Article
Working ranches are often promoted as means of private rangeland conservation because they can safeguard ecosystem services, protect open space, and maintain traditional ranching culture. To understand the potential for generating broad social benefits from what have come to be called "working landscapes," one must consider the synergies of people,...