Scientists & Staff

Kristin Floress

Research Social Scientist
1033 University Place, Suite 360
Evanston, IL, 60201
Phone: 224-999-4051

Contact Kristin Floress

Current Research

My broad research interests and expertise pertain to understanding and modeling the impact of social factors – from the individual to the community level – on natural resources planning, management, conservation, and restoration across public and private lands. Most of my research is in the context of forest and water resources.

I am currently involved in several projects related to family forest owners: policy tool preferences for engaging in management activities on their land; invasive species monitoring, prevention, and control practices; and the impact of public lands restoration activities on landowner willingness to participate in landscape restoration. I am also leading a team of scientists in conducting a meta-analysis of the family forest owner literature to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what impacts landowner decisions and behaviors.

I have a keen interest in water and the social aspects of preventing pollution from nonpoint sources, and participate in a number of projects to that end. One such project is a multistate team investigating catalysts for collective action to protect water resources. This work has led to a number of collaborative investigations that capitalize on the knowledge of scientists across the Midwest, including the analysis of large survey data sets from across the Great Lakes region. An additional project I am working on involves analyzing water governance structures that span spatial, social, administrative, and institutional levels.

Stakeholder perceptions and support of management actions and restoration on public lands is another focus of my work. I was a co-PI on a recent survey of residents in the Wisconsin Northwoods to understand what impacted their attitudes toward management on three types of public forest in the state. With other Forest Service scientists and cooperators from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, I am investigating perceptions of a large scale landscape restoration project on the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest.

Why This Research is Important

Sustainable and resilient ecosystems are dependent upon human behaviors. It is essential to understand what drives people to engage in conservation and restoration actions, and what types of policies and programs support those actions.


  • Purdue University, Ph.D. Natural Resources Social Science, 2008
  • Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, M.S. Forestry Human Dimensions of Watershed Management, 2004

Professional Experience

  • Research Social Scientist, USDA Forest Service 2015 - Current
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point 2008 - 2015

Professional Organizations

  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources
    I have been involved with IASNR since I was a M.S. student at Southern Illinois University. I regularly review papers for the Society's journal and have participated in a number of activities to serve the organization, including helping to plan the annual symposium.

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Floress, Kristin M.; Gao, Yuling; Gramig, Benjamin M.; Arbuckle, J. Gordon; Church, Sarah P.; Eanes, Francis R.; Ranjan, Pranay; Singh, Ajay S.; Prokopy, Linda Stalker. 2019. Meta-analytic data from agricultural conservation practice adoption research in the United States 1982-2018. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

National Research Highlights

Moquah Barrens, a
restored pine barrens ecosystem in Northwest Wisconsin

Landowner Acceptance of a Pine Barrens Restoration Project

Year: 2018

Despite landowners’ uncertainty about long-term outcomes near a pine barrens restoration project on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, they support management actions and trust USDA Forest Service staff.

Understanding why farmers protect soil and water resources

Year: 2017

Understanding why farmers adopt land management practices that protect soil, water, and other ecosystem services is a key need for developing appropriate programs and outreach strategies that promote conservation. Multiple organizations need research to support their agricultural conservation work. A team of Forest Service and university collaborators is extending research published in a 2008 Journal of Soil and Water Conservation paper that is currently the journal’s most highly cited article.

Resident and visitor support for urban natural areas restoration

Year: 2017

Resident and visitor beliefs about whether a given restoration practice, such as controlled burning, is already being used at a site can be a powerful predictor of support for that practice.

Stream restoration near the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, Monongahela National Forest. Kristin Floress, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Landscape Scale Conservation Evaluation of the West Virginia Restoration Venture

Year: 2016

Long-term investment in relationships with local organizations increases opportunities for landscape scale conservation.

Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2015