Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Shari Rodriguez

Committee Member

Dr. Susan Loeb

Committee Member

Dr. Aby Sene-Harper


To inform use of prescribed fire management practice in the southeastern US, we studied its impact on bats, which are important and at-risk species. We evaluated if prescribed fire had a positive, neutral, or negative effect on bat activity in the two weeks following the burns. We recorded bat activity after prescribed burns in February and March 2022 in northwestern South Carolina in select hardwood and pine stands and control sites ≥ 500 m from burn boundaries. We measured insect abundance, canopy cover, basal area, and understory density at each site. We recorded 687 passes during our 45-day study period. Big brown/silver-haired bats and Seminole/eastern red bats’ activity significantly decreased as canopy cover increased and were significantly influenced by the interaction of stand type and treatment. Myotis/tricolored bat species activity was not significantly impacted by any of our factors. There was no linear relationship between total or species activity and nights post burn; however, there was greater activity on control sites on the first night following burns, and activity peaked on burned sites roughly one week following burns. Our findings suggest that bats’ responses to prescribed fire were more dependent upon vegetation structure and composition than burning itself.

Women may disengage from or leave their positions in Natural Resources due to experiences with their peers, students, mentors, or supervisors. This potentially contributes to the continued male domination of these fields. We conducted informant-led interviews to understand if women in Natural Resources experienced benefits or challenges in their careers due to being women. Participants were selected using researchers’ social networks, searching of organization and university directories, and snowball sampling. We conducted 44 interviews of women in various fields and stages of their careers between 2017 and 2022. Themes that emerged from our interviews were: Diversity and Equity, Respect Topics, Support, Culture and Inclusion, and Intersectionality. We found that challenges were more prevalent and women’s experiences in their Natural Resources careers can impact their personal and professional lives through changing their self-image, or how they view their personal appearance, capabilities, and how they present themselves. We believe that this case-study can act as a basis for future quantitative studies on the same topic to implement interventions for supporting and retaining women in these fields.



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