School of Natural Resources Research

At the School of Natural Resources (SNR), we stand at the forefront of excellence in shaping the future of natural resources and environmental professionals. Our renowned faculty and dedicated partners lead pioneering research, innovative teaching and far-reaching extension programs, earning us national and international recognition.

Our faculty are known for their expertise in research areas such as:

  • Atmospheric sciences
  • Soil sciences
  • Fisheries and wildlife
  • Water quality and resources

CAFNR Programs of Distinction

SNR faculty are part of CAFNR Programs of Distinction including:

The Center for Tree Ring Science (CTRS) conducts multidisciplinary research spanning various fields including natural resources, climatology, archaeology and more.

The Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) is a cross-discipline and integrative program that transcends traditional departmental boundaries to foster excellence in plant biology research and education at MU. 

Missouri Climate Center (MCC) is a vital entity for atmospheric and climate science research and extension, serving Missouri’s agriculture and natural resources sectors.

The MU Forage-Livestock Group provides science to sustain Missouri’s livestock industry, while also protecting the state’s natural resources.

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry is a preeminent global center in agroforestry research, education and technology transfer.

Collaboration at Mizzou

The collaborative nature of Mizzou strengthens our research. Mizzou is one of only a handful of public institutions nationwide that have a medical schoolveterinary medicine collegelaw school, agriculture college (CAFNR) and engineering college on the same campus along with an interdisciplinary life sciences research center, a precision health research facility and the highest-power university nuclear research reactor.

Other research partnerships we offer include:


The relevance of SNR research is abundantly clear in our mission which is to provide science-based knowledge for integrated sustainable management of natural resources through leadership in basic and applied research, education and outreach for the benefit of society. As we know, the survival of human civilization depends on “life supporting” goods and services that are provided by healthy, coupled human and natural resource systems. SNR is uniquely positioned to address the grand challenges faced by society with a functional platform which is wide and deep. SNR is one of the most comprehensive Schools of Natural Resources in the country; the only one in the state of Missouri with its research aligned with natural resources research priorities identified at the national level which include*:

  • Sustainable management of social-ecological systems for goods and services
  • Protecting and conserving watersheds for biodiversity and water resources
  • Impacts of climate variation on our environment and society
  • Environmentally responsible agriculture
  • Alternative renewable energy sources
  • Natural resources education and leadership

*Source: A Science, Education and Outreach Roadmap for Natural Resources (2014). APLU.

SNR hosts several signature interdisciplinary Centers and programs such as the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, CAFNR Center for Watershed Management and Water Quality, the Soil Health Assessment Center, Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership, among others.


It is with this Vision, that we move forward: To be a leading institution providing solutions for complex local, regional, national and global issues related to the management of natural resources through transdisciplinary collaboration while cultivating a diverse community of preeminent scientists and educators.

Focal Areas

SNR research portfolio can be grouped into three focal areas encompassing land, animal, atmospheric, and water resources with direct connection to social sciences.  Deliberate linkage between natural and human systems facilitate and better our understanding of interactions between natural resources and society, which in turn, will promote sustainable management and conservation of natural resources for future generations. The intersection of these three focal areas is intentional and represents the integrated and interdisciplinary nature of science within SNR that strengthens our role and relevance to CAFNR, MU, our students, and external stakeholders. The three focal areas are described briefly below:

Environment and Society. This area considers the integration of natural and social sciences with emphasis on understanding human interactions with the environment. The broad and interdisciplinary nature of this research facilitates application of our studies and incorporates elements of behavioral and social sciences.

Terrestrial Ecosystems. The Terrestrial Ecosystems area focuses on the ecology, conservation, and management of land resources, including flora, fauna, and soils, within and among diverse biomes. Research in this area addresses a variety of environments such as urban systems, managed forests, wildlands, and agricultural areas.

Water Resources. The Water Resources focus area considers elements from multiple fields such as study of aquatic organisms (from bacteria to fish), climate events and meteorology, and nutrient management in freshwater systems, throughout diverse settings ranging from urban environments to natural areas.

Emerging Research Areas

The emerging research areas are derived from ongoing and urgent societal issues that apply to natural resources and natural resource management.  Salient issues include human health, water resource quantity and quality, climate change, sustainability, biodiversity loss and extinction, and integrating science and human behavior into policy and decision-making.  Each area encompasses all three focal areas and provides synergistic opportunities for existing and future research and academic programs.

Health and Environment. Strong links exist between human health, domestic and wild animal health, plant and forest health, and environmental integrity. These links between health and the environment are mediated by natural resource availability and affect diverse quality of life issues such as food and water quality, recreation and tourism, and societal norms and traditions. Research in this field reflects the increasing need to consider the diverse linkages of health and environmental quality when addressing natural resource use and its effects on communities.

Climate Science. Climate-related risks to human health, agriculture, natural resources, and ecosystems are intensifying due to climate change. Transdisciplinary research in this area examines the current and anticipated climate states and pursues critical synergies linked to the impacts of climate change on a sustainable environment, including adequate water resources; disturbances (e.g., drought, flood, fire); sustainable and resilient populations and ecosystems; improved soil health; and renewable food, material, and energy supplies.

Sustainability Science. Interactions between natural resources and social systems create challenges for sustainable resource use and management. Research in this field helps meet the needs for natural resources of present and future generations while addressing poverty and conserving vital ecosystem services.

Administration and Management. Research exploring leadership, decision making, creation and implementation of policies, and conflict resolution enhances the use and benefits derived from natural resources. This research examines how individuals, organizations and governments may benefit from improved efficiency and effectiveness, as well as the wide-ranging implications of natural resource management and administration for diverse communities and stakeholders.