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Rebecca Epanchin-Niell

Associate Professor

2213 Symons Hall 7998 Regents Drive College Park, MD 20742-5535


  • Natural Resource Economics
  • Invasive Species Management
  • Species and Ecosystem Conservation
  • Spatial Resource Management



Becky Epanchin-Niell is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UMD and senior fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF). She conducts research at the intersection of economics and ecology to improve decision-making regarding natural resources and ecological systems. Her interests span three main topic areas: 1) invasive species management; 2) conservation of species and ecosystems; and 3) rural coastal adaptation to climate change. Epanchin-Niell applies integrated biophysical and economic analyses, engages stakeholders and decision-makers to identify policy needs, and is a frequent collaborator with natural and social scientists. Current research includes development of decision-support models for cost-effective management of invasive species, evaluation of contributing factors to successful proactive conservation of imperiled species, collaborative approaches to cross-boundary resource management, and design and evaluation of strategies for adaptation to sea level rise and saltwater intrusion in the Chesapeake Bay. Epanchin-Niell’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Forest Service, and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, among others.


Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis, 2009
M.S., Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Nevada, Reno, 2003
M.S., Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, 2001
B.S., Earth Systems, Stanford University, 1997


Areas of Interest

  • Designing cost-efficient strategies for managing invasive species
  • U.S. Endangered Species Act and species conservation
  • Cross-boundary resource management
  • Private land conservation decision-making
  • Coastal adaptation to sea level rise and saltwater intrusion


Selected Publications

Ashander, J., Kroetzt, K., Epanchin-Niell, R., Phelps, Nicholas B. D., Haight, R. G., Dee, L. E. (2022). Guiding large-scale management of invasive species using network metrics. Nature Sustainability, 5(9), 762-769. 10.1038/s41893-022-00913-9

Pepin, K. M., Davis, A. J., Epanchin-Niell, R. S., Gormley, A. M., Moore, J. L., Smyser, T. J., Shaffer, H. B., Kendall, W. L., Shea, K., Runge, M. C., McKee, S. (2022). Optimizing management of invasions in an uncertain world using dynamic spatial models. Ecological Applications, 32(6). 10.1002/eap.2628

Iacona, G. D., Avery-Gomm, S., Maloney, R. F., Brazill-Boast, J., Crouse, D. T., Drew, C. A., Epanchin-Niell, R. S., Hall, S. B., Maguire, L. A., Male, T., Newman, J., Possingham, H. P., Rumpff, L., Runge, M. C., Weiss, K. C., Wilson, R. S., Zablan, M. A., Gerber, L. R. (2022). Hurdles to developing quantitative decision support for Endangered Species Act resource allocation. Frontiers in Conservation Science, 3 10.3389/fcosc.2022.100280

Epanchin-Niell, R.S., Jackson-Smith, D.B., Wilson, R.S., Ashenfarb, M., Dayer, A.A., Hillis, V., Iacona, G.D., Markowitz, E.M., Marquart-Pyatt, S.T. and Treakle, T., (2022). "Private land conservation decision-making: An integrative social science model." Journal of Environmental Management, 302, p.113961.

Epanchin‐Niell, R., Thompson, A. L., & Treakle, T. (2021). Public contributions to early detection of new invasive pests. Conservation Science and Practice, 3(6), e422.

Epanchin-Niell, R., C. McAusland, A. Liebhold, P. Mwebaze, and M. Springborn. (2021) “Biological invasions and international trade: Managing a moving target.”  Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. 15(1).

Gedan, K., R. Epanchin-Niell, and M. Qi. (2020) Rapid land cover change in a submerging coastal county. Wetlands. 1-12.

Epanchin-Niell, R. and J. Boyd. (2020) “Private sector conservation under the endangered species act: a return on investment perspective.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 18 (7), 409-416.

Tully, K., K. Gedan, R. Epanchin-Niell, A. Strong, E. Bernhardt, T. BenDor, M. Mitchell J. Kominoski, T. Jordan, S. Neubauer, N. Weston. (2019) “The invisible flood: the chemistry, ecology, and social implications of coastal saltwater intrusion” Bioscience 69(5):368-378.

Gerber, L., M. Runge, R. Maloney, G. Iacona, C. Drew, S. Avery-Gomm, J. Brazill-Boast, D. Crouse, R. Epanchin Niell, S. Hall, L. Maguire, T. Male, D. Morgan, J. Newman, H. Possingham, L. Rumpff, K. Weiss, R. Wilson, and M. Zablan. (2018) “Endangered species recovery: A resource allocation problem.” Science 362(6412): 284-286.

Epanchin-Niell, R. (2017) “Economics of invasive species policy and management.” Biological Invasions. 19: 3333–3354.

Epanchin-Niell, R., Y. Kuwayama, and M. Walls.  (2017) “Spatial-dynamic complexities of the climate challenge for rural areas: Integrating resource and regional economic insights.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 99(2): 447-463.

Epanchin-Niell, R., C. Kousky, M. Walls, and A. Thompson. (2017) “Threatened protection: Sea level rise and coastal protected lands of the eastern United States.” Ocean & Coastal Management. 137:118-130.