Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson


Matt is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Graduate Group in Ecology at the University of California, Davis where his research focuses on mapping new opportunities for conservation. His work uses spatially explicit information on the social, institutional, and environmental conditions of landscapes to characterize where conservation has happened previously and identify areas where conservation may be more likely in the future. By mapping these “opportunity hotspots”, he hopes that conservation organizations can identify areas where their objectives may be met relatively easily and gauge potential resistance to conservation to better assess tradeoffs. He hopes to launch an organization that integrates academic institutions and non-governmental organizations to help conservation organizations choose where to focus their efforts on capacity and capital building in order to more effectively engage people in conservation. Prior to his return to graduate school, Matt spent the last decade working to develop science-based solutions to restoration and conservation problems. Whether restoring a seven acre tallgrass prairie remnant in Illinois, or developing a monitoring program for a 2.4 million acre ponderosa pine restoration effort along Arizona’s Mogollon Rim, Matt has sought to integrate citizen engagement and scientific rigor into management and monitoring programs designed to restore degraded landscapes. Prior to his return to graduate school, Matt was a Program Director for the Grand Canyon Trust where he facilitated the development of multiple collaborative research projects aimed at developing a management and conservation strategy for their 850,000 acre ranch on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. Matt is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and has been a Wilburforce Foundation Conservation Science Fellow, a Wilderness Society Gloria Barron Wilderness Scholar, a Southwest Climate Science Center Climate Fellow, and a Center for Large Landscape Conservation Science Fellow. These experiences fuel his belief in the power of capacity building, social capital, and transparent decision-making as critical components of durable conservation outcomes.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
University of California Davis, PhD
Current Position:
Assistant Professor
Boise State University
Conservation Science & Biology
Environmental Policy & Law
Land, Open Space, Smart Growth

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