Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



Societies are becoming increasingly urban and isolated from natural areas. Protecting certain natural areas is vital for building and maintaining resilience in ecological systems for the continued conservation of biodiversity and provision of ecological services. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) promotes the development of systems of protected areas within nations and regions as a sustainable means of preserving the biodiversity within natural areas. Allowing sustainable ecotourism and wildlife-based recreation activities in protected areas can provide economic incentives to surrounding communities making protection an attractive alternative to more extractive forms of land use. Managing the types of allowable activities and monitoring visitation rates provide managers with vital information regarding the impacts of human interaction with natural systems in protected areas. Texas supports a system of wildlife management areas (WMAs) throughout the state in an attempt to represent each ecoregion and provide essential conservation and recreation needs to the residents of Texas. By analyzing possible influential factors on visitation rates such as size of each area and allowable activities within each WMA, and other influential factors of these protected areas, it should be possible to determine if this type of management scheme is effectively meeting the goals and objectives of protected areas in the state of Texas while effectively providing for the demands of the Texas public. Through resource management initiatives and cooperation with national agencies, WMAs serve as an effective management tool for natural resource protection and conservation for the state of Texas.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Margaret A. Reams