Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Craig R. Allen

Second Advisor

Christopher J. Chizinski

Date of this Version


Document Type



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 Craig Allen and Christopher Chizinski

Lincoln, Nebraska, December 2023


Copyright 2023, Daniel Morales


Nebraska’s agricultural landscapes are rapidly changing, affecting natural resources and their successful management. I utilized two surveys and scenario planning (Chapters 1: statewide survey, 2: local survey, and 3: scenario-planning workshop) to investigate attitudes and perceptions of natural resource management and cross-boundary collaboration. My first objective focused on determining what prevents Nebraskans from addressing natural resources challenges, considering demographics amongst generations and the type of areas they live in (rural versus urban). The second objective focused on whether landowners engaged with their community in managing natural resources. The third objective was to develop alternative future scenarios for the Denton Hills landscape of eastern Nebraska and preferred alternative futures. I found that demographics matter and that older generations are more likely to engage in community natural resource management. I discovered that landowners with larger acreages to manage are more likely to view collaboration positively. Scenario planning revealed how local landowners in the Denton Hills view the identity of the Denton Hills landscape and identified both desired and undesired future alternatives. Generally, I found that the public recognizes natural resource challenges and that people are willing to work in cooperative groups to address the challenges. Understanding perceptions of management, factors affecting those perceptions, collaborative management, and a shared future vision will enhance resource management.

Advisors: Craig R. Allen and Christopher J. Chizinski