Scott Abella

Associate 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

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Scott Abella In The News

November 29, 2018
How do you make a great park even better? They carefully wrestle with that conundrum regularly at Oak Openings, a precious and rare ecosystem that is part of a large region of oak savanna that the Nature Conservancy once called one of the 200 “Last Great Places on Earth.”
July 23, 2018
The public outcry over the selective thinning of beautiful — but non-native — pine trees from Oak Opening Preserve Metropark is being tempered by science that now shows the controversial Metroparks Toledo decision from years past is paying off.
October 25, 2017
Scott Abella began researching changes in plant life in the Oak Openings in 2002 as an undergraduate intern from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Fifteen years later, Dr. Abella, assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, continues his research on his summer breaks.
July 24, 2017
Master’s student Ka-Voka Jackson has combined her passion for biology and the environment with her Native American roots to help solve environmental issues from a unique perspective.

Articles Featuring Scott Abella

Ka-Voka Jackson is working to restore native plants in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. (Courtesy Photo)
Arts and Culture | June 13, 2017
Native American master's student Ka-Voka Jackson is working to protect the environment and preserve her Hualapai culture.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Business and Community | January 17, 2017
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.
A hiker descends the Angels Landing route in Zion National Park
Research | September 13, 2016
As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, UNLV professor Scott Abella explores the conservation challenges officials face.
Scott Abella
Business and Community | August 4, 2016
UNLV professor Scott Abella on why national parks matter more than ever to everyone from foodies to Civil War historians to the average Joe sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.