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Dr. Tricia Gorby

Dr. Tricia Gorby

  • Alumni
  • Director of the National Resources Institute, Division of Extension, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Former PLUS Lab Director, Post-Doc
Research Interests: System resilience, or the ability of a coupled ecological and social system to retain function in the face of change, is a concept that ties my research interests and current projects together and best reflects the applied and interdisciplinary nature of my expertise. Specifically, I integrate my research, teaching, and outreach activities to best (1) address the pressing and applied issues that largely determine the availability and quality of the ecosystem services that we are so dependent upon, (2) facilitate stakeholder discussions towards alternative and complementary pathways to natural resource sustainability, (3) provide effective science communication with students, landowners, communities, and policy makers, and (4) improve natural resource policy and land use decisions to enhance system resilience. I use a variety of research tools including quantitative ecological and social surveys, qualitative methods (in-depth interviews, focus groups), systems thinking and diagramming, social network analysis, and spatial analysis, and have expertise in forested and agricultural landscapes.

Current research projects that I am collaborating with the ISU PLUS Lab on include:
- Exploring woody biomass ecological and social availability from urban and rural sources for alternative energy production (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, funded project),
- Identifying policy impacts on trajectories of oak forest change and opportunities for system resilience (Lead PI, USDA Forest Service funded project),
- Farmer perspectives on ecosystem service management, land-use targeting, and the future of Cornbelt agriculture, (Co-PI, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, funded project),
- Enhancing the capacity of urban communities to address and adapt to an invasive tree pest, the Emerald Ash Borer (Co-PI, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, funded project), and
- Evaluating farmer capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts (see