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'Forest killer' plant study explores rapid environmental change factors
Date:9/21/2012

populous communities and forests that the people use in their daily lives.

The study will also examine what people are doing to spread Mikania and how the plant affects people's lives. Collaborators on the study include: Abigail York, co-principal investigator and ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change assistant professor; Li An, San Diego State University; Dirgha Ghimire, University of Michigan; Jennifer Glick, ASU School of Social and Family Dynamics professor; and Sean Murphy, CABI, an international non-profit organization focused on solving agricultural and environmental problems through scientific expertise.

"What sets our research apart from most previous work on invasive species and human populations is that we are taking an integrated approach to examining the environment, people, and society at many different levels: individuals, households, landscapes, community governance organizations, and so-called 'non-family organizations' like marketplaces/stores, schools and employers," said Scott Yabiku, the study's principal investigator and ASU School of Social and Family Dynamics associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Researchers are integrating a holistic, use-inspired approach into their study by observing and documenting the problem, using experimentation to tease apart driving forces, and implementing an intervention to reduce the spread of the species throughout the 21 community forests that border Chitwan National Park. Examining how people affect the forest's health and how the forest affects resident's livelihood will vary from an individual level to how forest management groups are addressing the problem.

"Not only are we thoroughly studying the social and ecological system surrounding the Chitwan National Park, we will also conduct experiments that test if an educational intervention with community forest groups can slow the spread of invasive species," Yabiku said. "At the end
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Contact: Julie Newberg
julie.newberg@asu.edu
480-727-3116
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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