David Foster

David Foster

Council Member 2012 - Present
Harvard Forest, Harvard University


David Foster is the Director of the Harvard Forest and a faculty member in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.

He earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from Connecticut College in Botany and Religious Studies. He is the author of several books about landscape history, ecology, and conservation.

Dr. Foster is the Principal Investigator for the Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and involving more than 100 scientists and students investigating the dynamics of New England landscape as a consequence of climate change, human activity, and natural disturbance. In addition to his primary research on landscape dynamics in New England, he has also conducted studies in the boreal forests of Labrador, Sweden and Norway and the forests of Puerto Rico, the Yucatan, and Patagonia.

His interests focus on understanding the changes in forest ecosystems that result from human and natural disturbance and applying these results to the conservation and management of natural and cultural landscapes. He currently serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy, The Trustees of Reservations, Choate Rosemary Hall, and Highstead Foundation.

As part of his conservation work, Dr. Foster and colleagues developed Wildlands and Woodlands – A Vision for the New England Landscape, which lays out an ambitious plan for the protection and conservation of forest and farmland across the region. In September 2010 Wildlands and Woodlands received the Charles Eliot Award from the Trustees of Reservations.