US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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David Flores

Research Social Scientist
240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins
United States

Phone: 970-498-1193
Fax: 970-498-1212
Contact David Flores

Current Research

My research focuses on the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and on outdoor recreation among American minority groups. Within this realm, I employ the use of surveys and qualitative methods (in-depth interviewing and participant observation) to analyze attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of environmental issues. I am currently engaged in three major projects: 1) An ecological oral history project with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) at Northern Arizona University, which analyzes the impact of ecological changes on ranchers, farmers, Native Americans, land managers, and others who live and work throughout northern Arizona; 2) An Urban Long-Term Research Area study in Puerto Rico (ULTRA-PR) that uses social network analysis to study how complex decisions are made (or not) around topics related to climate change, urban planning, and green space in the city of San Juan; 3) Perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs about recreation on National Parks and forests among Latino families before, during, and after participating in outdoor recreation events.

Research Interests

My research interests are based on a social-cultural approach to the study of land use and natural resources. Using in-depth interviews, I examine the stories that land users tell of their experiences working, living, and recreating on the land. Through stories I identify the complex social, cultural, and political relationships between and within communities of land users. I am also interested in processes of meaning-making and how people remember and make sense of experiencing significant traumatic events such as wildfires, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters.

Past Research

My doctoral research focused on how the experiences of Vietnam and Iraq War veterans influenced their support or opposition toward the war in Iraq. Using qualitative research methods, I conducted in-depth interviews of Vietnam and Iraq War veterans who turned toward pro- or anti-war political activism after returning from the battlefield. The study examines how memory and narrative work as mechanisms that shape political consciousness.

Why This Research is Important

My current research works to support efficient and effective land management by improving the understanding of sustainable relationships between communities and their environments, diversity in communities of land users, and human communities modifying landscapes through time. Specifically, I address how diverse communities of land users impact both landscapes and land management in terms of conflicting resource demands and conservation priorities. Conflict over competing land uses stems in part from social and cultural differences in how people view and value land and natural resources. My research works to improve understanding of cultural identity and conflict and their relationship to disputes over land and other resources.


  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Ph.D. Sociology 2012
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, M.A. Sociology 2006
  • University of California - Berkeley, B.A. Sociology 2003
  • Southwestern Community College, A.A. General Education 2000

Professional Experience

  • Presidential Management Fellow (PMF), U.S. Forest Service
    2012 - 2014
  • Research Associate and Sociology Instructor, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    2004 - 2012
  • Student Advising Officer, University of California - Berkeley
    2002 - 2004
  • United States Marine, United States Marine Corps
    1993 - 2000

Professional Organizations

  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources, Member (2015 - Current)
  • American Sociological Association, Member (2004 - Current)

Awards & Recognition

  • Climate Change , 2014
    Initiative with the University of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station ($15,000).
  • New Scientists Initiative, 2013
    USDA Forest Service 10 new Scientists Initiative ($30,000).
  • The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy with special recognition of the Harold D. Lasswell Award, 2010
    Research grant ($5000).
  • Sociology Brazil Summer Fellowship., 2008
    Awarded by Sociologists Without Borders ($2500).
  • Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS), 2007
    Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education for Portuguese studies in Sao Paulo, Brazil ($2500).
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2005
    Multi-year award ($120,000)
  • Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship, 2005
    Multi-year award ($60,000)
  • American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program, 2004
    Multi-year award ($45,000)
  • Ronald E. McNair Scholar Fellowship, 2004
    Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan ($15,000)
  • Ronald E. McNair Scholarship, 2002
    U.S. Department of Education, TRIO Program, University of California, Berkeley.
  • George A. Miller Scholarship Program, 2000
    Academic Achievement Programs, University of California Berkeley

Last updated on : 09/12/2016