Research in the Department of Natural Resources is driven by our conservation mission. We seek to conduct research that contributes to enhanced understanding of Earth’s biodiversity, the ecological processes that support this diversity, and how resilient relationships between humans and the environment can be fostered. Thus–whether basic or applied in their questions and approaches–our research programs are motivated by a common goal. That goal is to strengthen society’s capacity to conserve biological diversity and maintain resilient social-ecological systems in the face of globalization, urbanization, climate change, habitat fragmentation, and loss of biological diversity.
Because of the nature of these challenges, much of our research is necessarily interdisciplinary. Our research faculty, academic staff, and extension programs conduct research that integrates the physical, chemical, and biological disciplines as well as research that integrates ecological and social questions and approaches. They collaborate with colleagues in the department, in other departments at Cornell, at other colleges and universities around the globe, at state and federal resource agencies, and at national conservation organizations.
The research expertise of our faculty and staff ranges from conservation genetics to global change biology, from environmental governance to adaptive management, from microbial ecology to fish and wildlife biology, from invasive species to rare and endangered species, from computational biology and uncertainty analysis to wetland biogeochemistry. It also ranges from civic ecology to citizen science, from water resource management to working landscapes, from environmental risk perception to community-based natural resource management, from stock assessment and spatial analysis of fish populations to carbon dynamics in temperate and tropical forests, from bird behavior to human behavior, from food-web interactions to human-wildlife conflict management, from plant species diversity to bio-cultural diversity.
Much of our research is conducted in New York State but our faculty and graduate students also have research sites in other states in the Northeast and many countries, including China, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Tajikistan, Canada, and Finland.
Explore the many areas of research that the department is engaged in by visiting the following:
- Research interests of faculty and graduate field members
- Research interests of current graduate students
- Recent M.S. theses and doctoral dissertations completed by graduate students within the Field of Natural Resources
- Research conducted as part of the Department’s Extension Programs
- Research conducted by the Department’s Human Dimensions Research Unit
- Research conducted by the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, which is housed in and collaborates with people in the department
- Research conducted at the Cornell Biological Field Station