Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Matthew TJ Brownlee

Committee Member

Robert B Powell

Committee Member

Elizabeth D Baldwin

Committee Member

Brenda B Bowen


This dissertation focuses on illuminating human perceptions in a social-ecological system (SES) through three studies: (1) revealing human perceptions of the influence of social network structure on social dynamics in an SES; (2) understanding human perceptions of biophysical and social change related to a SES, and (3) exploring how key stakeholder groups might perceive social-ecological reciprocities in an SES. To achieve these endeavors, this dissertation advances analytical tools that have yet to be widely used in natural resource management to understand stakeholders’ perceptions of social-ecological complexity: social network models, perceptions of change, and fuzzy logic cognitive mapping. These tools represent a combination of objective social analysis, inquiry into subjective perceptions, and subjective mental modeling, all of which may be useful for natural resource managers who need or desire to engage in SES thinking. The three studies herein thus apply these tools to the complex social-ecological system known as the Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) in western Utah (USA).



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.