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Michael Sorice

Associate Professor

Dr. Michael Sorice

Dr. Michael Sorice
310 A Cheatham Hall
  • B. A., Miami University, 1997 
  • M.S., Texas A&M University, 2001 
  • Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 2008

Natural resource recreation, recreation specialization, human dimensions of natural resource management, conservation on private lands, incentive programs and conservation policy, human-wildlife interactions, land ownership demographics & land use, attitudes & social norms, behavior assessment, research methods, data analysis.

  • FREC 2614: Human-Environment Systems
  • FREC 3544: Outdoor Recreation Management & Planning
  • FREC 5024: Social-Ecological Systems

My research interests focus on individual and group behavior as it relates to environmental stewardship with an emphasis on the role of natural resource users and landowners in protecting biodiversity and imperiled ecosystems. My work is situated in the social dilemma framework in which conservation over the long term is considered essential to sustaining human well being; yet, people opt instead for their short-term self interest. This yields human behaviors and land management practices that result in increasing losses in ecosystem function and services. I investigate the prospects for sustainable behavior across marine and terrestrial environments as well as in recreation/tourism settings and on private lands.

Managing rangelands for ecosystem services. This research characterizes relationships between human activities and natural processes in a rangeland ecosystem, as a basis for developing management practices that will enhance the sustainability of agricultural profitability while at the same time improving the flow of ecosystem services from rangeland systems. My research examines:

  • the social forces that historically and currently drive land-use decisions affecting rangeland condition,
  • factors that influence the use of best management practices (BMPs) on private lands with a focus on the role of voluntary incentive programs, and
  • implications of demographic shifts in land ownership on the adoption of BMPs and subsequent ecosystems services.

Voluntary incentive programs as a policy tool to improve imperiled/endangered species recovery on private lands. This research examines the nature of and degree to which private landowners manage land for the benefit of endangered species when provided with incentives to do so. I assess when, where, how, and why incentive programs contribute to
biodiversity conservation.

Balancing recreational use and conservation of natural resources. This research addresses the paradox of maintaining or increasing recreation/tourism benefits while protecting the target resource. Increased use leads to increased revenues that can be reinvested in management; but, it also leads to an increase in social and biophysical impacts. I have examined how destination choice is influenced by regulatory schemes as well as issues associated with allowing people to directly interact with wildlife.

  • Barnes, J.C., M. Sketch, A.R. Gramza, M.G. Sorice, R. Iovanna, A.A..Dayer, 2020. Land use decisions after the Conservation Reserve Program: Re‐enrollment, reversion, and persistence in the southern Great Plains. Conservation Science & Practice.
  • Fitchett, L.L., Sorice, M.G., Cobourn, K.M., Boyle, K.J., Klug, J.L. and Weathers, K.C., 2020. Pathways to enhanced lake integrity: A Framework to assess the effectiveness of local lake associations. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management, 25(2), pp.258-268.
  • Henson, V.R.; Cobourn, K.M.; Weathers, K.C.; Carey, C.C.; Farrell, K.J.; Klug, J.L.; Sorice, M.G.; Ward, N.K.; Weng, W. A 2020. Practical Guide for Managing Interdisciplinary Teams: Lessons Learned from Coupled Natural and Human Systems Research. Social Sciences, 9, 119. link
  • Rajala, K., Sorice, M.G. and Thomas, V.A., 2020. The meaning (s) of place: Identifying the structure of sense of place across a social–ecological landscape. People and Nature, 2(3).
  • Santo, A.R., C.J.Donlan, C.A. Hagen, G.M. Luque, and M.G. Sorice 2020. Characteristics and motivations of participants and nonparticipants in an at-risk species conservation program, Human Dimensions of Wildlife.
  • Ward, N.K., L. Fitchett, J.A. Hart, L. Shu, J. Stachelek, W. Weng, Y. Zhang et al., 2019. Integrating fast and slow processes is essential for simulating human–freshwater interactions. Ambio, 48(10), pp.1169-1182.
  • Wilcox, B. P., A. Birt, S. Archer, S. D. Fuhlendorf, U. P. Kreuter, M. G. Sorice, W. J. D. Van Leeuwen, C. B. Zou. 2018. Viewing woody plant encroachment through a social-ecological lens. Bioscience, 68(9): 691-705.
  • Cobourn, K. M. et al. 2018. From concept to practice to policy: modeling coupled natural and human systems in lake catchments. Ecosphere 9(5): e02209.
  • Sorice, M.G., K. Rajala, and U.P. Kreuter. 2018. Understanding management decisions of absentee landowners: More than just presence-absence. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 71(2): 159-162.
  • Sorice M.G., C. J. Donlan, K. J. Boyle, W. Xu, and S. Gelcich. 2018. Scaling participation in payments for ecosystem services programs. PLoS ONE 13(3): e0192211.
  • Santo, A., K. Guillozet, M.G. Sorice, T.D. Baird, S.A. Gray, C.J. Donlan and C.B. Anderson. 2017. Examining private landowners’ knowledge systems of invasive species. Human Ecology, 45(4): 449-462.
  • Hurst, K., C. P. Ramsdell, and M. G. Sorice. 2017. A life course approach to understanding social drivers of rangeland conversion. Ecology and Society, 22(1):19.
  • Ramsdell, P. R., M. G. Sorice, A. Dwyer. 2016. Using financial incentives to motivate conservation of an at-risk species on private lands. Environmental Conservation, 43: 34-44.
  • Lewis, A.L., T.D. Baird, and M.G. Sorice. 2016. Mobile Phone Use and Human–Wildlife Conflict in Northern Tanzania. Environmental management, 58:117-129.
  • Sorice, M., & Donlan, C. J. 2015. A human-centered framework for innovation in conservation incentive programs. Ambio, 44: 788-792.
  • Santo, A., Sorice, M.G., Donlan, C.J., Franck, C.T., Anderson, C.A. 2015. A human-centered approach to designing invasive species eradication programs on human- inhabited islands. Global Environmental Change 35: 289-298.
  • Berg, M. D., Sorice, M. G., Wilcox, B. P., Angerer, J. P., Rhodes, E. C., & Fox, W. E. 2015. Demographic changes drive woody plant cover trends—An example from the Great Plains. Rangeland Ecology & Management 68(4): 315-321.
  • Sorice, M.G., and T. Abel. 2015. A landowner-centered approach to obtaining participation in pre-compliance conservation programs. In Proactive strategies for protecting species: Pre-listing conservation and the Endangered Species Act, ed. C.J. Donlan, 105–114. Oakland: University of California Press.
  • Gartner, T., C. J. Donlan, M. G. Sorice, J. Mulligan, M. Sniekus, and R. Johnson. 2015. The gopher tortoise, military readiness, and pre-listing conservation. In Proactive strategies for protecting species: Pre-listing conservation and the Endangered Species Act, ed. C.J. Donlan, 105–114. Oakland: University of California Press.