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Along transboundary river borders in North and Central America social-political factors such as conservation, militarization, and migration impact natural resources leaving the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala at risk of ecological decline due to the changing climate. I present a qualitative case study comparing the social-political factors and their impact on natural resources in the Usumacinta River Basin (URB) and Rio Grande River Basin (RGRB). A comprehensive evaluation of social-political factors is performed starting from the 19th century to the current era. I contribute to the field of environmental sociology by extending Laako and Kauffer’s (2022) work on eco-frontiers of the URB into the RGRB. This sets the stage for comparison of how conservation, militarization, and migration have contributed to impacts on natural resources within both basins. This comparison reveals that impacts on natural resources increases migration rates, leading to increases in border militarization and diminishment of conservation efforts.


Water Resources Science and Technology Master of Science Thesis.

Submitted and Approved May 2022

Thesis Committee:

Walter Den, Ph.D. (Committee Co-Chair)
Joseph Simpson, Ph.D. (Committee Co-Chair)
Jennifer Correa, Ph.D.