Naughton selected for Vilas Research Investigator Award

September 18, 2015

Lisa Naughton, a professor of geography and faculty affiliate of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, has been selected to receive a UW-Madison Vilas Research Investigator Award. The award provides $30,000 for hiring a Research Assistant or Project Assistant.

Naughton studies biodiversity conservation in developing countries; social conflict and land use around protected areas; land tenure and property rights; attitudes toward wildlife; and wildlife conservation in human-dominated landscapes. Her current research includes analyses of participatory zoning in Tambopata, Peru, people-wildlife interactions around protected areas in East Africa, and attitudes toward wolves and wolf recovery in Wisconsin.

The award will help to advance Naughton's research on forest conservation and land use trends in East Africa with Niwaeli Kimambo and Jess L'Roe, both graduate students in the Department of Geography. The team is examining the impact of growing land scarcity on forests and rural communities neighboring two key East African parks, Kibale (in Uganda) and Rungwe Mountains (in Tanzania). The research is intended to help guide conservation interventions and demonstrate the impact of land markets, wage income opportunities and remittances on biodiversity and local livelihoods.

Naughton is also part of an ongoing UW-Madison study of hunters and others living in Wisconsin’s wolf range. The latest results in this unique longitudinal study, published in May in the journal Environmental Conservation, show that not even the legalization of wolf hunting in 2012 helped improve people's tolerance of these large carnivores. Naughton began the project in 2001 by creating the Attitude to Wolf Policy Survey.

Related:

and the research i'll be advancing with this award is with Niwaeli Kimambo (M.Sc. in Geography) and Jess L'Roe (M.Sc. in Nelson's CBSD program, now PhD in Geography) based on our research in East Africa.
Forest Conservation in Crowded Landscapes – Land use trends around national parks in the Albertine Rift
 
Our work examines the impact of growing land scarcity on forests and rural communities neighboring two key East African parks, Kibale (Uganda) and Rungwe Mountains (Tanzania).  At both sites we are gathering data on land ownership, forest clearing, and tree planting. Apparently new land markets have not only altered how the local poor use forests, but also who owns the land. We have also found unexpected forest expansion at some park edges where more affluent individuals are buying land at the park edge as an investment and planting trees (mainly pine and eucalyptus). These tree plantations are species-poor but can serve as ‘corridors’ for wildlife movement. Our research will help guide conservation interventions and demonstrate the impact of land markets, wage income opportunities and remittances on biodiversity and local livelihoods.