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Jennifer Zavaleta Cheek

Effective natural resource management requires an understanding of the ecological and social dimensions of environmental problems.

Current Projects


Wild Foods &
Food Security

Women & Hunting

Local Food Systems

Climate Adaptation

Wild foods, which are often collected in forests, contribute to women's dietary diversity in rural region of India. Wild food collection is especially important to diets during June and July when crops have been planted but not yet harvested.

Increasing women's participation in hunting and fishing is a goal of many state conservation agencies. To support women in these sports, we need to better understand their decision making process, how to improve  R3 programs tailored to women, and create ways to connect to women's outdoor groups.

Resilient local food systems are critical to healthy landscapes and communities. Increasing the consumption of local fruits, vegetables, and meat can improve the diet and food security of South Dakotas, and it improve community vitality by supporting local producers.

Conservation planning is critical to meet the challenges posed by climate change. With the increased variability, it is critical to understand both how people are adapting to climate change and how  stakeholders can best coordinate their efforts.

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My name is Jennifer Zavaleta Cheek

Jennifer Zavaleta Cheek is an assistant professor in the Natural Resource Management Department at South Dakota State University. She is a sustainable development scholar who uses quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand complex human-natural systems and advance human dignity. Her research interests are broad, ranging from food and agricultural systems, community forestry management, and human dimensions of biodiversity conservation.


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