US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Jim Absher

Research Social Scientist
2081 E. Sierra Ave.
United States

Phone: 559-323-3213
Contact Jim Absher

Current Research

Absher's research foci are customer service, carrying capacity, communications, and the human dimensions of wildland fire. Recently he has published work on social carrying capacity, social trust, recreation fees, volunteer management, ethnicity, wildland fire beliefs and homeowners' defensible space behaviors. In general, he looks at ways to better understand who uses our wildlands, parks and protected areas, what they expect or perceive, how well their needs are being met, and the tools managers have to facilitate appropriate use.

Research Interests

Volunteerism and volunteer management capacity in land management agencies
Social carrying capacity and recreation use management
Wildland fire: Defensible space behaviors and agency communication programs

Past Research

Absher has over 40 years experience applying social science to natural resource management issues. For the past 17 years Dr. Absher has held the position of Research Social Scientist, initially with the US Forest Service's Wildland Recreation and Urban Cultures research work unit, and now with the Urban Ecosystems and Social Dynamics Program of the Pacific Southwest Research Station. Previously he held faculty positions at the Universities of Illinois, Georgia and South Australia.


  • University of California, Ph.D. Wildland Resource Science 1979
  • San Jose State University, M.A. Natural Sciences 1974
  • Stanford University, B.S. Statistics 1970
  • Stanford University, B.A. Human Biology 1971


Research Highlights


Americans and Greeks Experience Similar Benefits from Recreation in Forests

Data show recreational uses of forest lands are psychologically and socially important


Firewise Actions Depend on Trust

Trust is an important component in working with communities and individuals on fire risk mitigation, but it is an abstract concept that needs to ...


Nature Education

A better understanding will improve the effectiveness of nature educations programs such as the U.S. Forest Service, Kids in the Woods.A study t ...


Last updated on : 06/22/2016