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Student Spotlight

Jessica Veysey

Ph.D. Student Profile: Jessica S. Veysey

Degree: Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
jss4@unh.edu

Research Topic: Efficacy of Wetland Policies in the State of New Hampshire

Advisor: Dr. Kim Babbitt


Description of Research

Freshwater wetlands provide myriad services and goods that are critical to human health and well-being.

Pond

Nevertheless, many states lack comprehensive knowledge of how land-use policies affect wetland ecosystems. New Hampshire (NH), the fastest growing state in the northeast, is a prime example. Development in NH causes rapid, sometimes unanticipated, changes to the landscape that impact human health and wetland ecosystem integrity. There has been no systematic evaluation, however, of: a) the types of wetland-related policies at work in NH’s municipalities; b) the relative success of these different policies at protecting wetlands; and c) the extent to which social processes influence wetland management. These monitoring gaps represent major flaws in the state’s wetlands protection system, which hinder attempts at adaptive wetland management.

My research examines the impacts of land-use policies on NH’s freshwater wetland ecosystems over the last 50 years. I am specifically exploring the following questions:

  1. What is the diversity of wetland-related policies in NH?
  2. To what extent do these policies achieve their stated goals?
  3. Which policies most influence wetland distribution and extent?
  4. Which social factors most influence wetland management decisions?
  5. How has management impacted habitat for wetland-dependent wildlife?
  6. How can an integrated assessment of policy and social process inform future wetland management decisions?

I am using a comparative, mixed-method approach to address these questions, combining detailed qualitative case studies of social processes and practices with quantitative assessments of ecological change