JD Davis

  • Biographical Description

    • Though born in Utah, I was raised primarily in Northern California.  First in the oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills, then in the pine forests higher in elevation.  I spent much of my time exploring my surroundings, which likely led to my interest in biogeography.

      I earned my BA in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2009.  I completed minors in Sustainable Development and German and was a few courses shy of a minor in Spanish.  I completed an honors thesis my senior year looking at the financial cost and carbon footprint of computer ghost loads at UCCS which was recently published in the UCCS undergraduate research journal.

      I earned my MA at UCCS in 2011.  My thesis looked at the availability of snags suitable for Replendent Quetzal nest establishment at a private preserve in Guatemala and whether site availability limited the number of breeding pairs.

      I love reading, gardening, weighlifting and applying what I know about sustainability to energy consumption at home.  I constantly try to reduce consumption below what it was for the same month the previous year.

      I have a wonderful wife and a one year old son.  One of the advantages of being a graduate student is being able to spend a lot of time with them.

      Since August 2008, I have been a student employee for the US Fish and Wildlife Service at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.  During the summer (the field season) I work full time on shortgrass prairie restoration and vegetation monitoring projects, and during the school year I work weekends with visitor services driving for tours and programs.

  • DU Info

    • PhD Student and Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Geography

      Office: Boettcher West 212

  • Photos

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  • My Resumé

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Links

  • Publications

  • Research

    • I have several research interests within the field of Geography; most lie primarily within the subdisciplines of biogeography, human-environment interactions and critical theory, though I have some that overlap with, or are within the fields of geomorphology, ecology, political ecology, and conservation biology.  My regional interests are in Central America, Western Europe, the Western United States and the Great Plains and I tend to agree with Carl Sauer that by being familiar with more than one region is important.  Important differences tend to stand out better when you have something else to compare them with.

      My current research focuses primarily on using Marxist and Anarchist theories to analyze patterns in biodiversity.  By using these critical theories as lenses, we can understand how capitalism impacts the natural world to produce the patterns we see.  I hope this will in some way bridge the divide between political ecology and conservation biology.  My hope is that this work will refine conservation strategies (especially in Guatemala and Central America) in a way that protects biodiversity without creating spaces that are exclusive in nature and negatively impact the poorest (and often the minorities) of an area.

      I am also currently working on a project that documents the urban Political Ecology of the black-tailed prairie dog in the Denver area.  Remnant colonies in an urban setting provide unique opportunities for conservation and unique challenges.  There may also be some interesting correlation between the marginalization of the species and the marginalization of low-income and minority socioeconomic groups.

      I am also interested in the following:

      -Zoogeomorphology of the Black-tailed Prairie Dog

      -Access of different socioeconomic groups to natural areas, especially as it relates to Cronon's ideas in "The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature"

      -What effects have environmental regulations played in reducing pollution in Germany following the Waldsterben, and what kind of forest recovery has there been.  I believe Germany provides and interesting natural laboratory since West Germany implemented environmental controls beginning in the 1970's, and the East saw more recent implementation following reunification in the 1990's.

      -I am interested in Intentional Communities and whether they are truly sustainable communities or simply "feel good" communities for the upper middle class that exclude those lower income groups that are least able to afford to live sustainably.

      -I would like to investigate how channeling of water off roads , combined with mowing (which mimics grazing) keeps roadside vegetation green (or alters roadside biogeography and biodiversity), attracting grazers such as deer and increasing the likelihood of wildlife-auto collisions

      -I also would like to investigate the disconnect that I have seen between the actions of government employees engaged in conservation and their actions as consumers.  Do their choices reflect an understanding of how their choices as consumers affect the greater context within which their work occurs and how that could negate some of the work they do?

      -I would also like to look into how different rangeland management strategies affect grassland health, productivity, biodiversity, etc... (See Allan Savory's book Holistic Management) as well as their potential for use in a somewhat passive form of grassland restoration.

      -Finally, I am interested in sustainability.  More specifically in sustainable forestry and sustainable agriculture, especially as it relates to preservation of grasslands.

This portfolio last updated: Jan 27, 2013 12:11:34 AM