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Zhao Ma

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Associate Professor of Natural Resource Social Science
FORS Room 111
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47909-2033

Human Dimensions Lab website

Dr. Ma's research focuses on understanding how individuals and institutions make decisions with respect to natural resource management and conservation. Her current projects include a study of smallholder farmer perception of and adaptation to climate change in semi-arid and arid regions of China, an assessment of forest resilience and climate change adaptation among forest agencies in the Intermountain West, a study of institutional adaptive water management decision making in the context of rapid environmental and social changes in the Wasatch Front Metropolitan Area, an assessment of the dynamics of coupled human and large carnivore systems in the western United States, and studies of non-industrial private forest management and conservation policies in Indiana and beyond.

Awards & Honors

(2019) Faculty Leadership Academy for Interdisciplinary Research (FLAIR) Fellow. Purdue University Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships.

(2018) Nominee for the Outstanding Graduate Mentor/Teacher Award. Purdue University College of Agriculture.

(2018) Seed for Success Award. Purdue University.

(2017) Faculty Policy Fellow. Purdue Policy Research Institute.

(2017) The Bravo Award. Purdue University College of Agriculture.

(2017) William L. Hoover Exemplary Faculty Service Award. Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

(2013) Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year for the Quinney College of Natural Resources. Utah State University.

Selected Publications

Alexander, J., Brunson, M., Cabe, T., Crall, A., Dockry, M., Emery, M., . . . Vukomanovic, J. (in press). Social and cultural dynamics of non-native invasive species. In Invasive Species in Forests and Grasslands of the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the United States Forest Sector.

Pike, C., Enebak, S., Mackey, L., Ma, Z., & Rathjen, M. (2019). Forest Nursery Seedling Production in the United States—Fiscal Year 2018. 62(1-2), 20-24. Retrieved from

Erwin, A., McWherter, B., Nixon, R., Popovici, R., Rathjen, M., & Ma, Z. (2019). A review of Grassroots Global Governance. Society & Natural Resources, 32(11), 1330-1332.

Ma, Z., Floress, K., & Clarke, M. K. (2019). Relationships between absenteeism, conservation group membership, and land management among family forest owners. Land Use Policy, 91, 104407.

Metcalf, A. L., Gill, N., Niemiec, Moreno, C., Bach, T., Ikutegbe, V., . . . Lubeck, A. (2019). Opportunities for better use of collective action theory in research and governance for invasive species management. Conservation Biology, 33(2), 275-287.

Ma, Z., Barney, J. N., Coutts, S. R., Caicedo, A. L., De Clerck-Floate , R., West, N. M., . . . Beckie, H. (2019). Considering weed management as a social dilemma bridges individual and collective interests. Nature Plants, 5, 343-351.

Floress, K., Snyder, S., Ma, Z., & Butler, S. (2019). Where farm and forest meet: Comparing National Woodland Owner Survey respondents with and without farmland. Land Use Policy, 87, 104007.

Ma, Z., Burnhan, M., Wardropper, C., Hawes, J., & Du Bray, M. M. (2019). Farmer adaptation to reduced groundwater availability. Environmental Research Letters, 14, 115010.

Steele-Jones, D. C., Cutler, A., & Newcomb, K. (2019). Promoting sustainability in public natural resource agencies: Insights from the USDA Forest Service. Journal of Forestry.

Clarke, M. K., Ma, Z., Snyder, S., & Floress, K. (2019). What are family forest owners thinking and doing about invasive plants? Landscape and Urban Planning, 188, 80-92.

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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