Lizzie King

Ph.D. Population Biology, University of California, Davis
M.S. Population Biology, University of California, Davis
B.A. Biology, Reed College

Curriculum Vitae



Associate Professor, Odum School of Ecology and Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources

Faculty contact person for the Integrative Conservation and Sustainability (ICAS) M.S. program in Odum School of Ecology

Campus Affiliations:


tagxedo 4 dark hires

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 County, Kenya.  The region is home to the Laikipia Maasai people, lots of charismatic megafauna and stunning landscapes.


This is a rapidly growing new research program, in response to heightened 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?


Lizzie & Rachel Hughes snipping Spartina and simmering in the summer sun.

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. We have ongoing research on Jekyll, Ossabaw, St. Catherines, and Sapelo Islands. On Jekyll Island, our research addresses not only herbivore effects on regeneration, but also spatiotemporal shifts in tree species distributions (with Nate Nibbelink), management alternatives (with Clint Moore), and people’s perceptions of live oak trees as iconic species (Sarah Horsley, PhD Student). Hannah Morris (PhD student) is investigating the interactions of deer, hogs, and land use history on regeneration and water stress in live oak (Quercus virginiana) and sand live oak (Quercus geminata) seedlings across all four islands. Dessa Dunn (MS student) is studying the recruitment dynamics of the exotic camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora) in mixed pine-hardwood forests on Jekyll Island.

Celebrating our discovery of Big Tree on Ossabaw Island, with Ruth Cumberland and Hannah Morris.

Watch April 2018 seminar, covering current King lab research, presented in Odum School of Ecology lecture series.


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