Throughout his 22-year career, Zach has been guided by a goal of advancing the resilient conservation of working landscapes. As Conservation Design Director, he continues to follow this passion by working to coordinate PLJV conservation priorities with existing partner work, and designing new programs that support positive conservation efforts for species and habitat.
As an applied landscape socio-ecologist with a master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and a PhD in Ecosystem Science and Management from Texas A&M University, his research has centered on understanding the dynamics that can affect conservation at landscape scales. While obtaining his PhD, Zach gained an appreciation of the integration of social and ecological science. During this work, he created a spatial model that accounted for land ownership motivations and ecosystem service values in the Gulf Coast Prairie of Texas. Using this approach, he created a decision support tool that could be used to identify strategies and conservation values to help minimize the impacts of energy development on wildlife habitat in the region.
More recently, Zach has worked with the Long-term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network, which consists of 18 sites focused on the sustainability of agriculture in the U.S., integrating human dimensions research into the network, as well as developing sustainability performance indicators. Zach also has an interest in community science and has worked with a community in New Orleans to better understand air quality, heat stress and the services that trees can provide in urban environments. Zach is excited by the prospect of working with the diverse communities in the PLJV region.