Webinar: Invasive plant management on non-industrial forest lands in the Panhandle, Fl after Hurricane Michael
October 19, 2022 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Invasive plant management on non-industrial forest lands in the Panhandle, Fl after Hurricane Michael
Presented by: Dr. Mysha Clarke, Assistant Professor, School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatic Sciences, UF/IFAS
Hurricane Michael had catastrophic socio-ecological impacts on landowners and forestlands in the Panhandle, Florida. Although scientists predict an increase in the spread of invasive species after ecological disturbances, there is limited research about the human dimensions of hurricanes, invasive plants, and forest management. To address this research gap, we administered mail survey to 1,000 randomly selected non-industrial forest landowners that live in the ten most affected Counties in the Panhandle, Florida. We found that 34% of respondents indicated an increase in invasive plants on their properties while 82% experienced timber loss, 62% had damaged wildlife habitats and 53% had increased vulnerability to wildfire hazards following Hurricane Michael. Our bivariate analysis found that landowners who plan to manage invasive plants in the future: are concerned about invasive plants, have some familiarity with invasives, were likely to search for forest management information on the Internet and also had plans to reforest areas of their land that were not salvage harvested after the hurricane. Although 79% of landowners were concerned about invasive plants on their forestlands, 37% of them have little to no knowledge about invasive plants. Additionally, most landowners did little to no forest management to prepare for hurricanes. However, the higher percentage of landowners who did any of the recommended management activities were also members of an environmental, conservation, industry, or woodland owners’ organization. While most landowners intend to manage invasive plants on their forestlands in the next five years, the vast majority of landowners are not connected to any forestry professionals or landowner associations. This presentation will highlight the perceptions of non-industrial forest landowners about invasive plant management including their awareness, concerns, management, and overall forest restoration plans in the Panhandle, Florida after Hurricane Michael and implications for engaging landowners in invasive plant management and hurricane preparedness.
Mysha Clarke joined the School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences in 2020. As a natural resource social scientist, her aim is to better understand people’s environmental decision-making, and to determine avenues through which to connect people with natural resource conservation and management. She uses a mixed method approach incorporating qualitative and quantitative methods to better understand the human dimensions of forest management.
Her collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects include invasive plant management on private non-industrial family forestlands, communication of invasive insects in the media, urban greenspace connectivity and urban forest change over time. Overall, she envisions her research contributing theories and knowledge to improve socio-ecological interactions, environmental decision-making and conservation by focusing primarily on the human dimensions of rural and urban forests and other natural resources. Prior to joining the FFGS, Mysha was a Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow at Villanova University in the Department of Geography and the Environment. She grew up in Jamaica and received her PhD from Purdue University in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.