Dirac believes engaging diverse groups of people to collaborate on developing science-based solutions has never been more important. One way he does that is through his partnership with PLJV, which provides the opportunity to co-produce science to benefit large-scale sustainability, productivity and conservation on private lands. He joined PLJV’s Science Advisory Team in 2017 and has since offered his expertise on large-scale rangeland conservation, fire ecology, ecosystem resilience, and complex social-ecological systems.
As an Associate Professor and Rangeland Ecologist in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Dirac focuses on how relatively simple changes in vegetation and disturbance regimes in rangelands and other ecosystems affect societal well-being. He received his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Missouri University of Science and Technology and his master’s degree in rangeland ecology and management from Oklahoma State University. Dirac earned his Ph.D. in ecosystem science and management from Texas A&M University in 2012.
His goal is to create novel solutions to ecosystem threats — such as natural disasters, collapses in rural livelihoods on working rangelands, the depletion of biological diversity, and the loss of unique cultural heritage — and demonstrate how to enhance the resilience of working lands to better cope with the sustainability challenges of this century.
Dirac is also a Science Advisor for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Working Lands for Wildlife Program to support agency decision-making at regional and national levels.