My Research

I used to be a conservation biologist. I began my career as a plant ecologist. I am now a conservation scientist. This may all sound the same, but at least in my mind it represents a dramatic shift. The essence of this shift is that I began my career being motivated by interesting science questions having to do with nature. As a conservation biologist, I was motivated by interesting questions about that subset of nature over which we have conservation concern. As a conservation scientist, I am much more interested in how nature is managed by natural resource managers and conservation practitioners and I am motivated by the scientific questions that constrain their capacity to manage resources. Wearing that hat, I am interested in the knowledge – implementation gap and how we can be better, as a scientific community, in addressing the information needs of the resource management community.

What that means, form a practical standpoint, is that I have several research foci. These are:

  1. Conservation Decision Support
  2. Conservation evaluation and assessment
  3. Assessing climate change vulnerability for natural resources
  4. Establishing policy for emerging conservation strategies such as assisted migration (mostly in the form of constraining unsanctioned private action)
  5. Fire management in the western US and creating resilient forested ecosystems
  6. Building social capital for conservation

I am professor in the Department of Environmental Science & Policy atUC Davis.

I am the director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment

I am a contributor to Nature’s Confluence