Lizzie King

DIR website lizzie photoPh.D. Population Biology, University of California, Davis
M.S. Population Biology, University of California, Davis
B.A. Biology, Reed College

Curriculum Vitae



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My main research interests revolve around semi-arid ecosystems and traditional pastoralist societies that rely upon them. My approach to these social-ecological systems began with my doctoral research (Population Biology, UC Davis) in the field of restoration ecology, where I examined the utility of planting native aloe shrubs into degraded Kenyan rangelands to promote vegetation recovery. Since then, I have continued to work on community-based rangeland restoration projects in Kenya, as well as studying the spatial and ecohydrological dynamics of land degradation and restoration. I am also keenly interested in the social and policy sides of land degradation and land tenure. I believe that integrating biophysical research with investigations into human dimensions of common pool resource management is essential to promoting pastoralist sustainability. This approach to sustainability science is at the heart of my research and teaching interests.

I'm not that short; Trenton's just really big!I collaborate with academic researchers, practitioners, and graduate students on projects ranging from ecohydrology, to landscape-herbivore interactions, to human ecology and resource management. Our research is largely based on communally-owned group ranches in northern Laikipia District, Kenya. We also work at the nearby Mpala Research Centre. The region is home to the Laikipia Maasai people, lots of charismatic megafauna and stunning landscapes.


I have a rapidly growing new research program, in response to growing interest among resource management and conservation agencies in tidal marsh and maritime forest restoration on the Georgia coast. In salt marshes, we are investigating how legacies of land use and hydrological manipulations affect ecosystem function, and how soil-water-vegetation dynamics reorganize following restoration activities and in response to climate change. In particular, we are focusing on sites where tidal flows have been restricted by dikes causeways impoundments, etc. Since restoration entails reintroducing tidal flows into previously tidal-restricted areas, can this study system serve as a window to view the potential impacts of sea level rise?  In barrier island maritime forests, we are investigating how land use legacies interact with current, novel suites of stressors to affect the regeneration of these iconic and globally rare ecosystems.

Watch Lizzie’s  Keynote Lecture at the 2015 Sustainability Science Symposium at UGA ~~~ “Capitalizing on Complexity in Sustainability Science


Watch Lizzie’s talk titled “Social-Ecological Transitions and Vulnerability in an African Pastoralist System,” given at the Ostrom Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, March 2014