Welcome to the Conservation Governance Lab in the College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment at Auburn University. Please click around and explore our pages to see the research that we’re doing to improve global environmental policy and conservation governance. War Eagle!


The Conservation Governance Lab is directed by Dr. Kelly Heber Dunning. Dunning holds a PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Policy from MIT, an MSc from Oxford in Environmental Policy, and a BA From the University of Florida. Dunning has worked in Southeast Asia, the Congo Basin, the United Kingdom, the Gulf of Mexico, and currently studying environmental policy and the collaborative management of natural resources.

Lab Mission

The Conservation Governance Lab seeks to answer several questions:

1) How is environmental policy made?

2) Who makes environmental policy and why?

3) How does environmental policy impact stakeholders and communities?

4) What makes environmental policy effective?

We are committed to providing a safe and positive environment for all of its members in their research endeavors. As team members, we trust each other to foster integrity and commitment towards all of our personal and professional goals.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Conservation Governance Lab is equally committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Innovation and creative problem solving comes from individuals of different races, ethnicities, genders, disability, statuses, nationalities, religious affiliations, sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds working together. It is only by stepping out of our comfort zone that we are able to better understand the skills we each embody and utilize our shared experiences to voice unique perspectives.  The Conservation Governance Lab is committed to inclusiveness and providing opportunities that will assist students in having a global impact. We aim to fulfill our mission of cultivating culturally competent policy experts by attracting, developing, and retaining the best and brightest individuals from a diversity of backgrounds.


Job opportunity: Climate Resilience and Oyster Conservation PhD Assistantship! The Conservation Governance Lab is looking for a competitive applicant for a PhD student assistantship on adaptive governance and climate resilience and oyster conservation in the Gulf of Mexico, using Mississippi and Alabama as a case study.

To learn more, head over to our announcements page!


This page will announce recent publications and presentations from lab members. Check back for updates.

Kelly Dunning Google Scholar Page link.