Research Activities and Interests:
My research interests center around the interactions between human populations and the environment in which they live. I am most intrigued by how societies function and what factors influence their various relationships and attitudes towards ‘nature’ and what those attitudes mean for both sustainable land management and broader community well-being. My professional training has focused heavily on rural and environmental change, with formal training in natural resource and environmental sociology, community, and demography. One avenue of investigation has focused on an examination of the role of natural environment amenities in community attachment and their relationship to community well-being in rural areas in the Intermountain West. More recently, I have focused my scholarship on research that examines the role of values, attitudes, and place attachment in the development of sustainable, watershed-scale stewardship of water quality and natural resources at the community level. I have also joined a transdisciplinary team of researchers examining the effects of climate change on fisheries in Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania.
- Bulengela, G., Onyango, P., Brehm, J. M. 2019. “Exploring the power of agency in fishery: Reflections from fishing communities of Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma Tanzania”. Maritime Studies, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-019-00152-3.
- Bulengela, G., Onyango, P., Brehm, J.M., Staehr, P., Sweke, E. 2019. “Bring fishermen at the center”: The value of local knowledge for understanding fisheries resources and climate-related changes on Lake Tanganyika”. Environment, Development and Sustainability, doi:10.1007/s10668-019-00443-z.
- Brian W., Joan M. Brehm and Nicholas Stevenson. 2015. “Changing homeowners’ lawn care behavior to reduce nutrient runoff.” Society and Natural Resources, Volume 39, No 3, Pg. 329-344.
- Brehm, Joan M., Brian W. Eisenhauer, and Richard C. Stedman. 2013. “Environmental concern: Examining the role of place meaning and place attachment.” Society and Natural Resources, Vol 26, No. 5, pg. 522-538.
- Slemp, Christopher, M. A. Davenport, E. Seekamp, J.M. Brehm, J.E. Schoonover, K.W.J. Williard. 2012. “Growing too fast:” Local stakeholders speak out about growth and its consequences for community well-being in the urban-rural interface.” Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 106, Issue 2, Pg. 139-148.
- Brehm, Joan M. and Brian W. Eisenhauer. 2008. “Motivations for participating in Community-Supported Agriculture and their relationship with community attachment and social capital.” Southern Rural Sociology, Vol. 23, No. 1, pg. 94-115.
- Brehm, Joan M. 2007. “Community attachment unpacked: The complexities of the natural environment dimension.” Human Ecology,Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 477-488.
- Brehm, Joan M., Brian W. Eisenhauer, and Richard S. Krannich. 2006. “Community attachments as predictors of local environmental concern: The case for multiple dimensions of attachment.” American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 50, No. 2. pg. 142-165.
- Brehm, Joan M. and Brian W. Eisenhauer. 2006. “Environmental concern in the Mormon Culture Region.” Society and Natural Resources, Vo. 19, No. 5. pg. 393-410.
- Brehm, Joan M., Brian W. Eisenhauer, and Richard S. Krannich. 2004. “Expanding the concept of community attachment and it’s relationship to well-being in the amenity-rich rural West.” Rural Sociology, Vol. 69, No. 3.
Current Research Projects:
Projections of Climate Change Effects on Lake Tanganyika (CLEAT):
Project Partners: Aarhus University, Denmark; Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute; Unversity of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Illinois State University. Funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2015-2019).
The overall aim of the projet is to improve regional knowledge about changes in water quality and fisheries in Lake Tanganyika. This will allow Tanzania and the Lake Tanganyika Authority to develop and manage sustainable fisheries and continue studies of the effects of climate change. Read more about theCLEAT project.
Lake Bloomington/Lake Evergreen Watershed Social Assessment :
PI: Joan Brehm, Illinois State University. Funded by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (ILEPA) 319 Program. (2014-2016)
The Mclean County Soil and Water Conservation District, in collaboration with Illinois State University, received funding from the Illinois EPA to conduct a watershed social assessment, with an emphasis on the Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen Watersheds. Water supply and water quality are critically important issues for both human health and the health of the natural environment we depend on to meet our basic needs. Despite the importance of water to our society, pollution and poor planning for how we use our water resources are growing problems. To address these issues the US EPA and the Illinois EPA provide funding for plans to protect these resources at the watershed scale. Efforts to plan for water use and protect water quality in watershed plans must incorporate social science to be successful, as it is people’s understandings and behaviors that must change to protect our water resources.
In an effort to improve non-point source (NPS) pollution management through the use of social indicators, this project is funded as part of a pilot program of the Region 5 Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Social Indicators for Planning and Evaluation System (SIPES) program. Read more about the SIPES program. The finalProject Report Summaryis available as a PDF.
Nippersink Creek Watershed Social Assessment – Phase I and II:
PI: Joan Brehm, Illinois State University. Funded by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (ILEPA) 319 Program. (2009-2011), (2012-2014)
This project takes a proactive approach to protecting the water quality and ecological health of the Nippersink Creek Watershed to enable future development efforts to proceed with the assurance that the water quality and ecological integrity of the watershed have been provided for. This in turn may attract residents and associated business for the high quality of life and environment in the Nippersink Creek Watershed. The social assessment of residents within the Nippersink Creek Watershed assists in the facilitation of effective and targeted implementation of various conservation efforts (as outlined in the Nippersink Creek Watershed Plan) though a more accurate understanding of current values and attitudes towards the natural resources within the watershed. This understanding, in turn, will be utilized to develop place-specific outreach and education efforts to improve stewardship of water quality and natural resources within the Nippersink Creek Watershed. In an effort to improve non-point source (NPS) pollution management through the use of social indicators, this project is funded as part of a pilot program of the Region 5 Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Social Indicators for Planning and Evaluation System (SIPES) program. Read more about the SIPES program.
Download the Executive Summary Report from Phase I: Maintaining What We Value: Executive Summary Report on the Community Survey (PDF)
Keep checking back for updates on new research projects. See my curriculum vitae for a complete listing of current publications