Religious Dimensions of Land-Use Practices

EPA Grant Number: U915429
Title: Religious Dimensions of Land-Use Practices
Investigators: Menning, Nancy L.
Institution: University of Wisconsin - Madison
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through August 1, 2001
Project Amount: $71,315
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Forestry , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Biology/Life Sciences , Academic Fellowships


The objective of this research project is to describe and interpret widespread religious belief systems in the western United States with respect to the implications of those beliefs for land use and land management activities.


This project entails three overlapping phases: (1) establishment in the field setting; (2) focused exploration of linkages between religious beliefs and local land-use activities; and (3) qualitative data analysis, interpretation, and writing. In the first phase, the researcher develops an understanding of local resource management issues through participant observation, involvement with local resource management entities and activities, evaluation of local newspaper coverage, and attendance at relevant public hearings, etc. Simultaneously, the researcher establishes a relationship with the targeted faith communities, worshipping with them and discussing scripture, doctrine, and tradition with local members, ministers, and designated missionaries. In the second phase, local faith community members are engaged in a discussion that links their religious beliefs and their actions and perspectives on local land use. This entails continued participant observation, interviews, and facilitation of study groups formed within the faith communities. Finally, in the third phase, fieldnote entries and transcriptions of interviews and study group discussions are analyzed to develop an interpretation of religious dimensions of land-use practices, describing the religion-environment linkage as both a reflection of and a response to the world in which we live.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, public lands, national forests, community based, place, social science, endangered species, Southwest, Arizona, AZ, EPA Region 9, community forestry, religion, Christianity, Catholicism, Mormonism, land use, land management practices., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, POLLUTION PREVENTION, sustainable development, Forestry, decision-making, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, Psychology, community involvement, belief system, environmental decision making, decision making, forest conservation decisions, religious beliefs, forest reources, community based environmental planning, environmental ethics, community participation, community-based, behavior change, deforestation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Final