Tamara Ticktin, 
Conservation Biology and Ethnoecology Lab                                             
Professor of Botany

University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

Contact Information 

Phone:(808) 956-3928
Email: ticktin@hawaii.edu

Graduate Faculty Memberships
Botany; Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology


I am interested in understanding the ways in which local use and management of tropical forest resources can be compatible with the conservation of biodiversity. Ninety percent of the world’s tropical forests lie outside of protected areas and most are used in some way by the people who live in and around them. Much of my research focuses on understanding how we can best conserve and restore the ecological integrity of these large tracts of forests subject to multiple kinds of low-intensity uses, but that still hold enormous potential to conserve biodiversity. How can we balance human use and conservation in these areas? How can we maintain or increase the resilience of these systems to global environmental change? My students and I employ a combination of ecological monitoring and field experiments, cutting edge tools in demographic modeling and interviews with local resource users.

Specific areas of interest:

Plant demography and conservation: identifying the effects of multiple drivers on the long-term dynamics and viability of plant populations.  We have been assessing how a range of key anthropogenic drivers, including harvest, fire, grazing, invasive species, and climate change affect plant populations at risk.  Using matrix population modeling and integral projection modeling, our work has illustrated the ways in which these drivers may interact, and why disentangling their effects, though still very rare to date in the literature, is critical for effective conservation.

Local and indigenous resource management practices (especially harvest of non-timber forest products - NTFP - and traditional agroforestry systems - and their implications for both biological and biocultural conservation. We study local and traditional management resource management systems and their effects on plant populations, communities and plant-animal interactions. Our work has demonstrated how and why some of these systems can be sustainable, and the ways in which biological and cultural diversity can be interlinked. 

Global environmental change, biodiversity conservation and resilience in coupled human-natural systems.  Tackling conservation problems effectively, increasingly requires a multidisciplinary approach. We are collaborating with marine biologists, environmental economists, cultural anthropologists, resource managers and cultural practitioners to identify drivers of conservation and resilience in Pacific Island communities in the context of climate change. We use a ridge-to-reef approach to identify local resource use practices in both forests and coral reefs that maximize conservation and social-ecological resilience.  Our work has illustrated the complex interactions between and among ecological and social drivers of resilience, and some of the trade-offs between conservation values and ecosystem services.

Population ecology and conservation o
f Native Hawaiian plants We are studying the drivers of persistence and decline in a range species of Native Hawaiian plants, including common foundational trees of mesic forests, and threatened and endangered species of the dry forest. In mesic forests, we are using demographic data we have collected over close to 15 years, to model and test the effects of seed predation by introduced rodents, and dispersal limitation, on the dynamics of tree species. In Hawaii island dryforests, we are carrying out collaborative research to identify the success of restoration of threatened and endangered species. 

UHM Botany Courses

    • BOT 301/301L Plant Conservation Biology

    • BOT 444 Ethnoecology and Conservation

    • BOT 612 Plant population modeling applied to conservation

    • BOT 644 Experimental design and field methods in applied ecology

    • BOT 612: Modeling climate change and social-ecological resilience in Pacific Island