Human Dimensions of Ecological Drought

Science Center Objects

Ecological impacts of drought have been rarely considered compared to agricultural or municipal water supply effects.

This interdisciplinary research holistically examines the context in which decisions about ecological impacts of drought are made to understand the perceptions and roles of different agency, private and NGO actors; the need for new scientific information; the range of response strategies being pursued; and the regulatory context in which water for ecosystems (“ecologically available water”) is managed.

The project currently has two components: a place-based case study in the Upper Missouri Headwaters Basin, Montana, and a national synthesis of insights from existing social science studies of drought impacts, information use, and institutional context. Project results provide insights about the capacity of managers and users of public lands to prepare for and respond to drought as well as institutional, scientific and cultural barriers to drought resilience.