David Foster is an ecologist and has been a faculty member in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard since 1983 and is the former Director of the Harvard Forest, the University's 4000-acre ecological laboratory and classroom in central Massachusetts since 1990. David is the Principal Investigator for the Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, in which more than 100 scientists and students investigate the dynamics of New England landscape as a consequence of climate change, human activity, and natural disturbance. At Harvard University David teaches courses on forest ecology, conservation, and environmental change and directs the graduate program in forest biology.
David has a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Minnesota and has conducted studies in the boreal forests of Labrador, Sweden and Norway and the forests of Puerto Rico, the Yucatan, and Patagonia in addition to his primary research on landscape dynamics in New England. 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 Trustees of Reservations, Martha’s Vineyard Museum, Choate Rosemary Hall and Highstead Foundation. As part of his conservation work David 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. David is also the author of Hemlock: A Forest Giant on the Edge (2014), and A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha's Vineyard (2017) among many others.