Audrey L. Mayer

Audrey L. Mayer
"Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life."
—Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder


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Associate Professor of Ecology and Environmental Policy

Coordinator, Peace Corps Masters International Program in Forestry

  • PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee
  • BA, Biology/Public Policy Analysis, Pomona College

Sustainability Science and Policy

I have a joint appointment with the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. My research fits generally within the framework of multidisciplinary sustainability science. I develop and test sustainability indices for their utility to manage dynamic human-environmental systems from local to global scales. I also look at the impact of economic trade on the sustainability of these systems, the so-called "leakage" effect, and its impact on local ecosystems, the "boomerang" effect. Finally, I am interested in using economic incentive policies and landscape-scale management tools to safeguard forest ecosystem services, commonly referred to as "payment for ecosystem services" (PES).

My training and experience is multidisciplinary, split between ecology and policy, with plenty of natural resource economics thrown into the mix. My work is split between computer simulations and GIS, to data collection in a variety of habitats. I have conducted field work in the coastal sage scrub in southern California, the Florida Everglades, urbanized watersheds in Cincinnati, protected natural areas throughout the Midwest, and the boreal forest in Finland and Russia.

Areas of Expertise

  • Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
  • Sustainability science
  • Landscape ecology
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • International Trade
  • Information Theory

Recent Publications

  • Lind-Riehl J, S Jeltema, M Morrison, G Shirkey, AL Mayer, MD Rouleau, and R Winkler. 2015. Family legacies and community networks shape private forest management. Land Use Policy 45:95-102. Read More
  • Mayer AL, RP Donovan, and CW Pawlowski. 2014. Information and entropy theory for the sustainability of Coupled Human And Natural Systems (CHANS). Ecology and Society 19(3):11. Read More
  • Henareh Khalyani A, AL Mayer, and ES Norman. 2014. Water flows towards power: Socioecological degradation of Lake Urmia, Iran. Society and Natural Resources 27(7):759-767. Read More
  • Vaidya A and AL Mayer. 2014. Use of the participatory approach to develop sustainability assessments for natural resource management. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 21(4):369-379. Read More
  • Roy AH, LK Rhea, AL Mayer, WD Shuster, JJ Beaulieu, MA Hopton, MM Morrison, and A St. Amand. 2014. How much is enough? Minimal responses of water quality and stream biota to retrofit stormwater management in a suburban neighborhood. PLoS ONE 9(1):e85011. Read More
  • Henareh Khalyani A, AL Mayer, MJ Falkowski, and D Muralidharan. 2013. Deforestation and landscape structure changes in relation to socioeconomic dynamics and climate change in Zagros forests. Journal of Land Use Science 8(3):321-340.
  • Henareh Khalyani A and AL Mayer. 2013. Spatial and temporal deforestation dynamics of Zagros forests (Iran) from 1972 to 2009. Landscape and Urban Planning 117:1-12.
  • Mayer AL and MD Rouleau. 2013. ForestSim model of impacts of smallholder dynamics: forested landscapes of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. International Journal of Forestry Research, article ID 520207, 13pp. Read More
  • Henareh Khalyani A, AL Mayer, CR Webster, and MJ Falkowski. 2013. Protection impact assessment at two scales in the Bozin and Marakhil protected area, Iran. Ecological Indicators 25:99-107.
  • Henareh Khalyani A, MJ Falkowski, and AL Mayer. 2012. Classification of Landsat images based on spectral and topographic variables for land cover change detection in Zagros forests. International Journal of Remote Sensing 33(21):6956-6974.
  • Schubert JR and AL Mayer. 2012. Peer influence of nonindustrial private forest owners in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Open Journal of Forestry 2(3):147-155.
  • Mayer AL, WD Shuster, JJ Beaulieu, ME Hopton, LK Rhea, AH Roy, HW Thurston. 2012. Building green infrastructure via citizen participation – a six-year study in the Shepherd Creek (Ohio, USA). Environmental Practice 14(1):57-67.

Recent Funding

  • 2012-2016: National Science Foundation, SEP program, $1,800,000: “Sustainable Forest-Based Biofuel Pathways to Hydrocarbon Transportation Fuels: Biomass Production, Torrefaction, Pyrolysis, Catalytic Upgrading, and Combustion” (as Co-PI; PI: David Shonnard)
  • 2012-2016: FORMAS (Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning), 25,000,000 SEK: “Green infrastructures for ecological sustainability and human well-being: A network of forest, rural and urban landscapes as laboratories for integrative research.” (as Co-I; PI Per Angelstam, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU))
  • 2010-2012: USDA Forest Service, McIntire-Stennis, $21,000: “Correlating change in landscape scale carbon storage through shifting forest ownership and management goals.” (PI)


Research Projects

  • Sustainability indices using information theory
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Sustainable biofuels
  • Dynamics of landscapes dominated by small private forest owners
  • Deforestation drivers and remote sensing

Teaching Experience

  • SS3300 – Environmental Problems
  • SS3313/FW3313/SS5313 – Sustainability Science, Policy & Assessment
  • FW/SS4380 – Landscape Ecology and Planning
  • FW 4810 – Integrated Resource Assessment (Senior Capstone)