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Plant Community and Fire Ecologist

USDA ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab

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Carissa Wonkka is a plant community and fire ecologist for the USDA ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab in Sidney, MT, focused on developing process-based restoration strategies that improve the resilience of native plant communities. After getting a BS from the University of Massachusetts, she headed west to Arizona where she first observed the difficulties for land managers grappling with a complex legal and regulatory landscape. This prompted her to attend Suffolk University Law School before attaining an MS and PhD in Ecosystem Science and Management from Texas A&M University to attempt to bridge the gap between ecology and policy. She ties her legal background in with bio-physical studies in her current research on social, legal, and regulatory barriers to effective ecosystem management and restoration./p>

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