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Scott Abella

Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences

Expertise: Ecology, Restoration ecology, Fire management, National parks, Plant ecology


Scott Abella is an assistant professor in restoration ecology with the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. His areas of expertise include fire management, ecological restoration, plant ecology, and habitat-wildlife relationships. He also owns the consulting firm Natural Resource Conservation LLC. 

Abella has experience working in numerous North American ecosystems including eastern forests, Midwestern prairies and savannas, wetlands, western forests, and deserts, as well as internationally in desert restoration.  He specializes in implementing ecological science that facilitates conserving biodiversity and natural resources critical to society. 

 His expertise has been requested by all levels of governmental organizations in the U.S., non-profits, private companies, and international organizations such as the United Nations.  At the University of Nevada Las Vegas, he teaches courses in biology and restoration ecology and works with a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students to actively engage students in helping meet conservation science project goals. 

He has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 50 outreach articles, given 135 symposium or invited presentations, been featured over 35 times in media outlets for conservation stories and projects with students, and received over 40 grants and contracts.  In 2015, he published the book Conserving America’s National Parks, corresponding with the 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service. 


  • Ph.D. Forest Science, Northern Arizona University
  • M.S. Forest Resources, Clemson University
  • B.S. Natural Resources Management, Grand Valley State University

Scott Abella In The News

Feb 6, 2017

In dry, disturbed soil throughout the West, a weedy invader from Eurasia has gained a tenacious foothold. Kochia scoparia, also called poor man’s alfalfa, has slender, gray-green leaves that turn an ornamental orange in autumn. Despite control efforts, this weed springs back relentlessly thanks to its bountiful seed bank.

Feb 6, 2017

Armed with shovels, the group turned enough dirt to plant 630 trees and grasses along the Las Vegas Wash, an area that was once submerged and served as a docking area for boats. “This area was 50 feet below Lake Mead,” said Dr. Scott Abella, assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences at UNLV.

Nov 3, 2016

Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the book “Conserving America’s National Parks” by local author Scott R. Abella tells the story of challenges and successes in conservation efforts in the United States’ more than 400 national parks. Illustrated with 247 photos, maps and sketches, the book explores topics such as the return of wolves and panthers to parks, the removal of dams to restore salmon runs, efforts to save trees infected by pests and adaptation to changes brought on by drought, contamination and climate change. Of local interest are sections on Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument and the drought’s impact on Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Visit

Articles Featuring Scott Abella

Jan 17, 2017
Business & Community

More than a dozen students will partner with the National Park Service and other groups on a restoration project to add native plants, protect shoreline, and boost wildlife.

Sep 13, 2016

As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, UNLV professor Scott Abella explores the conservation challenges officials face.

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