Laura Jane Martin

leaves in a pool


My research centers on how people perceive and manage the environment.

I’m currently writing a dissertation on ecological restoration in the postwar United States. How have ideas about ecological restoration changed over time? Should restored ecosystems be modeled off of past or future ecosystems? And who gets to answer these questions? I believe ecological restoration projects can be viewed as critiques of specific political and economic practices, and that it’s important to uncover and discuss these underlying critiques. My research is informed by environmental history and science and technology studies, and has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Cornell Society for the Humanities, and the “contested global landscapes” group of the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences.

I also work in the field of restoration ecology. I focus on plant evolutionary ecology and biodiversity conservation in peopled landscapes. Most of my work is conducted in wetlands. At Cornell I am a National Science Foundation graduate student fellow in the laboratory of Clifford Kraft. I’m currently participating in a National Evolutionary Synthesis Center workshop on “evolution of the indoor biome,” and I previously co-organized a 2012 Ecological Society of America Emerging Issues conference, “Developing ecologically based conservation targets under global change.”

I’m particularly interested in the intersection of environmental humanities and sciences. Much of my academic and poetic work focuses on this intersection. At Cornell I co-lead a multi-disciplinary environmental studies group, CREST.