IMG_0921 Jesse Abrams

Dr. Abrams is an Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Policy and Sustainability at the University of Georgia. He joined the faculty of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in 2018. Dr. Abrams received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Forest Resources from Oregon State University and his B.A. in Environmental Studies from New College of Florida. Past positions include two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Whitman College and five years as a Research Associate with the Ecosystem Workforce Program, Institute for a Sustainable Environment at the University of Oregon. His work on natural resource governance and policy spans diverse forest and rangeland environments from the United States to Argentina, focusing on the participation of local communities and local- to regional-scale organizations in environmental governance, policy implementation, and institutional change. Key themes in his scholarship include: adaptive, participatory, and network governance; co-management and co-production; alternatives to traditional state- and market-led approaches to conservation and development; and the dynamics of rural community engagement with natural resource stewardship and conservation.


Current Students


Chase Cook

Chase is the program coordinator for the Georgia Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI Inc.) Implementation Committee. As the committee’s program coordinator, he oversees the Georgia Master Timber Harvester logger education program and leverages a variety of resources and partnerships to promote sustainable forestry across Georgia. His research interests include forest land ownership, forest certification, and market-based regulation and conservation incentives. Previously, Chase worked as a senior analyst with the US Government Accountability Office, a university researcher, and a forester with Temple Inland Forest Products Corporation. Chase holds a BS in Forest and Environmental Resources from the University of Georgia and a MS in Applied Economics from Montana State University.


E3166E12-6C7C-43DC-8FF0-CEC61352BE97Behnoosh Abbasnezhad

Behnoosh holds a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Engineering and a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology, Iran. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in Integrated Conservation (ICON)-Forestry and Natural Resources. She is interested in exploring the social, political, commercial, and ecological factors that should be considered in proposing forest management strategies in developing countries. She is also interested in applying remote sensing methods in forests studies regarding carbon sequestration and including temporal dimensions in remote sensing and cartographic projects to inform forest management strategies.


ShinyParkPic_php2Shinyeong Park

Shinyeong is pursuing a PhD in the Integrative Conservation (ICON) – Forestry and Natural Resources program. Her research interests include social-ecological systems, human-wildlife interactions, conservation policy, and environmental justice, and her research site is mainly the Korean Demilitarized and Civilian Control Zone. She is interested in examining restoration and conservation actions across disciplines including ecology, anthropology, and politics. Shinyeong received a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Seoul National University, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Korea University, South Korea. 


Alejandro Collins Environmetal Portrait

Alejandro Collins

Alejandro is pursuing a Master of Science degree from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. In May of 2021, he received a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources with an emphasis in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from Warnell. His research interests lie in the conservation of Latin American forests and the use of community forestry for sustainable development. He intends to explore the status and challenges of forestry sustainability certification schemes in community managed forests. During his undergraduate years, Alejandro was involved with a variety of university, local, and national organizations focused on supporting sustainability initiatives and social justice efforts.


UGA Grad Meg

Meg Seidel

Meg is currently working toward her Masters of Natural Resource Management degree, emphasizing environmental policy. She graduated in 2022 from UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences with a BA in Agricultural Business and a minor in Horticulture. Over recent summers she has interned in Athens at the state office for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), training with the Georgia state economist. Through these experiences she has been exposed to agricultural and resource management practices in the southeast, mostly working with the NRCS’s cost-sharing programs with landowners as well as watershed and dam restoration initiatives. Her interests lie in public service and environmental policy, specifically on the themes of environmental justice, climate policy, and environmental economics. In her time at Georgia, she has also been an athlete on the UGA Equestrian team, being a part of the 2021 National Championship winning team. She has also served on the UGA Athletics Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee since its inception in 2020.


Past Students



Samantha Siragusa

Samantha completed her Master of Natural Resources in the Fall of 2020. She graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science where she focused her studies in environmental economics, environmental management, ecology, and sustainability. Her research interests include sustainable development and policy, natural resource conservation with a focus on water, waste reduction, and environmental education and outreach. Previously, Samantha worked with Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division to divert waste from going to landfills at events in the Athens community such as the Athens Twilight Bike Race.


James ChMe in front of river tractor tree burnapin

James completed his Masters of Science degree in Spring 2021 at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, where he studied journalism and forestry. Prior to arriving at UGA, he worked in conservation lands management in Hillsborough County, Florida, gaining first-hand experience with prescribed fire, hydrological flow restoration, and other processes. His interests include sustainable development and land use policy, adaptive governance in environmental contexts, restoration ecology, and the social foundations of environmental stewardship. James also brings experience as a writer in various genres, and his work has appeared in local and national outlets.



Amelia L. Russell

Amelia completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources in the summer of 2021. She researched head-starting techniques and habitat management perceptions to better augment gopher tortoise populations in the Southeast. In 2016, she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of South Carolina Upstate. Her research interests include applied conservation, anthropogenic effects on wildlife health and population dynamics, and sustainable forestry and wildlife land management for conservation efforts.



Anderson Felt

Anderson completed her Master’s of Natural Resources degree in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources in the Spring of 2021. She focused on environmental policy and sustainability; she also completed graduate certificates in Water Resources and Sustainability. She received her undergraduate degrees from the University of Georgia where she studied Ecology and International Affairs, with an emphasis on political ecology and environmental politics. Prior to joining the Abrams Lab, she helped organize and coordinate the 2018 Upper Oconee Watershed Network Science and Policy Summit. During her undergraduate career, she worked with the University’s Student Government and Office of Sustainability to implement mobile charging stations and push and promote sustainability initiatives around campus.


Destin Kee

Destin completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources in 2022. In May of 2020, she received her Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources from Warnell. Her interests are based on the political and social dimensions of natural resource management. Her research focused on the U.S. Forest Service’s Shared Stewardship Strategy, an integrated policy that emphasizes partnerships with the states, tribes, and other collaborators to identify priority areas for management, coordinate work across jurisdictions, and leverage diverse capacities.

Previously, Destin worked with Domain Timber Advisors’ environmental mitigation and legal departments. She worked to identify appropriate opportunities to capitalize on their environmental attributes through wetland and stream mitigation banks, habitat conservation banks, fishery banks, environmental enforcement solutions, and direct environmental restoration projects.

Amanda Komasinski

Amanda completed her Master of Science degree from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources in 2022. In May of 2020, she received a B.S. in ecology, evolution, and environmental biology with a minor in environmental politics and policy from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Her research interests lie at the interface between environmental science and environmental policy, with focuses such as how policy and funding might influence research productivity or vice versa. She explored these interests through case studies of the Department of Energy’s seven National Environmental Research Parks located across the United States.