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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Alan E. Watson

Supervisory Research Social Scientist
790 East Beckwith Avenue
United States

Phone: 406-542-4197
Contact Alan E. Watson

Current Research

Alan's research interests focus on understanding and reporting about human aspects of wilderness use and values. Alan draws upon his education in ecological psychology, environmental psychology, social psychology, sociology, forestry, and natural resource management at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University to study and describe human relationships with wilderness. Alan is the Research Social Scientist with the Leopold Institute and on the Executive Editor for Science for the International Journal of Wilderness.

Research Interests

Model the effects of personal and social meanings on landscape level forest policy decisions, role of wilderness in larger social and ecological systems, conflicting personal and social meanings and values associated with wilderness, monitoring recreation use and experiential aspects of wilderness use, understanding personal relationships with place, wilderness and activity among nonconforming, contentious uses of wilderness, personal and societal response to recreation fees for wilderness use segmenting the tourist community based upon commitment to protecting wilderness character, the role of traditional ecological knowledge in wilderness protection, the relationship between the public and public lands and contributors to trust


  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bachelors 1978
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Masters 1980
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ph.D. 1983

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Understanding climate change trends on tribal reservations

Station scientists are working with Native American tribes to understand how tribal members and resource managers perceive forecasted climate ch ...


Updated Computer Model Helps Managers Better Estimate Visitation to Camp Sites

Model simulates travel patterns for 11,000 groups in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness


Last updated on : 07/01/2020