Dr. David Theobald, a science advisor to the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, was recently awarded the 2022 Distinguished Landscape Practitioner Award by the North American Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology. This honor is bestowed to individuals who have made outstanding contributions over a period of years to the application of the principles of landscape ecology to real-world problems.
In addition to his work with the Center, Theobald is a research scientist at Conservation Planning Technologies in Fort Collins, Colorado, a company which he founded in 2013, and is the author of several widely used biodiversity datasets available on key platforms such as the UN Biodiversity Lab, the GEOSS portal, and Google Earth Engine.
Theobald, who earned a PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder, was a faculty member at Colorado State University and has written more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Learn more about Dr. Theobald here.
What is landscape ecology?
Landscape ecology seeks to describe the dynamic relationships between ecological patterns and processes across spatial scales, from plot or forest-stand level to watersheds, from local regions to ecosections, or globally.1
Dr. Annika Keeley, Senior Conservation Scientist at the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, says that Theobald is continuing to make a global impact in the field of conservation science. He is currently working on several innovative projects at the Center including:
- Modeling connectivity for biodiversity in the western US using his brand-new, updated human impact map that will help determine priority locations for wildlife road crossings.
- Developing a new connectivity indicator to measure the connectivity of ecological networks of a specific country or region.
- Contributing to the development of the monitoring framework for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework by being the specialist intimately familiar with all the different connectivity metrics and indicators.
“Dave has a deep background in ecological theory paired with knowledge of and attention to the intricate details of spatial analysis,” says Keeley. “This combination, along with his ability to take full advantage of the sometimes overwhelming amount of available environmental data, make him an extraordinary scientist who sees the big picture while understanding how all the tiniest of pieces fit together.”
1 Newman, E. A., Kennedy, M. C., Falk, D. A., & McKenzie, D. (2019). Scaling and complexity in landscape ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 293.