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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

Epanchin-Niell, R., C. McAusland, A. Liebhold, P. Mwebaze, and M. Springborn. (forthcoming) “Trade and invasive species: tackling a moving target.”  Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 15(1).

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.

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.

Chen, C., R. Epanchin-Niell, and R.G. Haight. (2018) “Optimal inspection of imports to prevent invasive pest introduction.” Risk Analysis. 38(3): 603-619. 

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.

Blackburn, L. R. Epanchin-Niell, A. Thompson, and A. Liebhold. (2017) “Predicting costs of alien species surveillance across varying transportation networks.” Journal of Applied Ecology. 54(1):225-233.

Springborn, M., A.R. Lindsay, and R.S. Epanchin-Niell. (2016) “Harnessing enforcement leverage at the border to minimize biological risk from international live species trade.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. 132(B):98-112.

Epanchin-Niell, R.S. and A. Liebhold. (2015) “Benefits of invasion prevention: effect of time lags, spread rates, and damage persistence.” Ecological Economics. 116:146-143.

Boyd, J., R. Epanchin-Niell, and J. Siikamäki. (2015) “Conservation planning: A review of return on investment analysis.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. 9(1): 23-42.

Epanchin-Niell, R. and J. Wilen. (2015) “Independent and cooperative management of invasive species in human-mediated landscapes.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 97(1): 180-198. 

Epanchin-Niell, R., E. Brockerhoff, J. Kean, and J. Turner. (2014) “Designing cost-efficient surveillance for early-detection and control of multiple invading species.” Ecological Applications.  24:1258-1274. 

Epanchin-Niell, R.S., R. Haight, L. Berec, J. Kean, and A. Liebhold. (2012) “Optimal surveillance and eradication of invasive species in heterogeneous landscapes.” Ecology Letters. 15: 803-812.

Epanchin-Niell, R.S., and J.E. Wilen. (2012). “Optimal spatial control of biological invasions.”  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 63(2): 260-270.

Epanchin-Niell, R., M. Hufford, C. Aslan, J. Sexton, J. Port, T. Waring. (2010). “Controlling invasive species in complex social landscapes.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 8(4):210-216.

Epanchin-Niell, R.S., and A. Hastings. (2010). “Controlling established invaders: integrating economics and spread dynamics to determine optimal management.” Ecology Letters. 13(4):528-541.

Epanchin-Niell, R.S., J. Englin, D. Nalle. (2009). “Investing in rangeland restoration in the arid west, USA: countering the effects of an invasive weed on the long-term fire cycle.” Journal of Environmental Management. 91(2):370-379.