Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Mark A. Kaemingk

Second Advisor

Kevin L. Pope

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the supervision of Professors Mark A. Kaemingk and Kevin L. Pope. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2021

Copyright (c) 2021 Derek S. Kane


Participation in recreational activities at natural resource systems is important to many people. However, the use of these resource systems can cause negative social and ecological impacts. To manage the potential negative impacts of resource use, natural resource managers must have the ability to quantify and monitor the amount of use that is occurring. Unfortunately, it is difficult and costly to quantify and monitor resource system use. Natural resource management would benefit from uncovering a simple, easily accessible metric that could predict resource system use. The size of a resource system is related to social and ecological aspects of the resource system and ultimately could predict the quantity of resource system use. A resource size-use relationship is a valuable tool that could enable natural resource managers the ability to quantify use on systems that have not been sampled, produce broad-scale estimations of resource use, highlight resource systems that are receiving more or less use than predicted by their size, further their understanding of how use might change if a resource system’s size changes, and learn about the heterogeneity of different types of users. For example, within recreational fisheries, waterbody size and angler effort could be utilized as a proxy for resource system size and use. Recreational fisheries managers then could utilize the resource size-use relationship to improve the management of recreational fisheries by examining waterbody size-angler effort relationships. One use of waterbody size-angler effort relationships is to compare how unique types of anglers differ in how their angler effort relates to waterbody size. One way to differentiate anglers is based on how they access the waterbody. Comparisons of the waterbody size-angler effort relationships for each angler-access type highlight the differences in the composition of angler effort for each angler-access type along the gradient of waterbody sizes. Bank angler effort is dominant at smaller waterbodies, whereas boat angler effort is dominant at larger waterbodies. Differences in the composition of angler-access types demonstrates the importance of recreational fisheries managers considering waterbody size and angler-access types. Management actions affect angler-access types uniquely and the composition of angler-access type changes as waterbody size changes. Thus, fisheries managers could include waterbody size when considering management decisions. The framework of the resource system size-use relationship is valuable to natural resource management, as it can produce broad-scale estimations of resource system use, guide the allocation of management resources according to expected resource system use, predict how changes in resource system size may affect use, and highlight how different user groups may interact with resource systems of various sizes.

Advisors: Mark A. Kaemingk and Kevin L. Pope