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Zhao Ma

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Assistant Professor of Sustainable Natural Resources Social Sciences
FORS Room 111
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47909-2033

Dr. Zhao Ma's website

Dr. Ma's research focuses on understanding how individuals and institutions make decisions with respect to natural resource management and conservation. Her current projects include a study of smallholder farmer perception of and adaptation to climate change in semi-arid and arid regions of China, an assessment of forest resilience and climate change adaptation among forest agencies in the Intermountain West, a study of institutional adaptive water management decision making in the context of rapid environmental and social changes in the Wasatch Front Metropolitan Area, an assessment of the dynamics of coupled human and large carnivore systems in the western United States, and studies of non-industrial private forest management and conservation policies in Indiana and beyond.

Selected Publications

Burnham, M., Ma, Z., & Zhu, D. (in press). The human dimensions of water saving irrigation: Lessons learned from Chinese smallholder farmers. Agriculture and Human Values.

Greene, J. L., Butler, B. J., Catanzaro, P. F., Hewes, J. H., Kilgore, M. A., Kittredge, D. B., . . . Tyrrell, M. L. (2014). Family forest owners and federal taxes. Forest Policy and Economics, 38, 219-226.

Burnham, M., Radel, C., Ma, Z., & Laudati, A. (2014). Teaching and learning guide for: Extending a geographic lens towards climate justice. Geography Compass, 8(4), 277-285.

Cook, S., & Ma, Z. (2014). The interconnectedness between landowner knowledge, value, belief, attitude, and willingness to act: Policy implications for carbon sequestration on private rangelands. Journal of Environmental Management, 134, 90-99.

Cook, S., & Ma, Z. (2014). Carbon sequestration and private rangelands: Insights from Utah landowners and implications for policy development. Land Use Policy, 36, 522-532.

Ma, Z., Butler, B. J., Catanzaro, P. F., Greene, J. L., Hewes, J. H., Kilgore, M. A., . . . Tyrrell, M. L. (2014). The effectiveness of state preferential property tax programs in conserving forests: Comparisons, measurements, and challenges. Land Use Policy, 36, 492-499.

Burnham, M., Radel, C., Ma, Z., & Laudati, A. (2013). Extending a geographic lens towards climate justice, part 1: Climate change characterization and impacts. Geography Compass, 7(3), 239-248. Retrieved from

Burnham, M., Radel, C., Ma, Z., & Laudati, A. (2013). Extending a geographic lens towards climate justice, part 2: Climate action. Geography Compass, 7(3), 228-238. Retrieved from

Petrzelka, P., Ma, Z., & Malin, S. (2013). The elephant in the room: Absentee landowner issues in conservation and land management. Land Use Policy, 30(1), 157-166. Retrieved from

Cook, S., Ma, Z., & Brain, R. (2013). Rangeland Carbon Sequestration. Retrieved from