Don Falk


Don Falk is Professor in the University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment, with joint appointments in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and the Institute of the Environment. He holds degrees from Oberlin College, Tufts University, and the University of Arizona, where he received his PhD in 2004.

Don’s research focuses on fire history, fire ecology, and ecological restoration and resilience in a changing world. Falk has been a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 1991. He has also received the Fulbright Short-Term Scholar award, the Ecological Society of America’s Deevey Award for outstanding graduate work in paleoecology, the William McGinnies Fellowship, Pinchot Institute Conservation Scholarship, and a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. In 2008 he and collaborators (C. Miller, D. McKenzie, & A. Black) were chosen for “Outstanding Paper in Landscape Ecology” by the International Association for Landscape Ecology – US. In 2012 he was selected by his peers in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement, and in 2013 his course “Introduction to Wildland Fire” was chosen by the students of the School as Outstanding Course. In 2014-15 he was awarded the Udall Faculty Fellowship in Public Policy for studies in post-fire ecological resilience. In 2015 Don was selected as a Research Delegate to the COP21-UNFCCC climate summit in Paris.

Don Falk was co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Plant Conservation at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and Missouri Botanical Garden, now at San Diego Zoo Global. He served subsequently as the first Executive Director of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), of which he was a founding Board member.

Falk is the author of more than more than 100 publications and has co-edited five books, including Genetics and Conservation of Rare Plants (1991, Oxford University Press, with Kent Holsinger), Restoring Diversity: Strategies for Reintroduction of Endangered Plants (1996, Island Press, with Connie Millar and Peggy Olwell), Foundations of Restoration Ecology (2006, Island Press, with Margaret Palmer and Joy Zedler; Second Edition 2016), and The Landscape Ecology of Fire (2011, Springer, with Donald McKenzie and Carol Miller). He is a member of the Editorial Board for the SER-Island Press series, Science and Practice of Restoration Ecology, the Executive Board of the Southwest Fire Science Consortium, and is science lead for the FireScape initiative in the Arizona Sky Islands. He serves as Chair of the Global Change Ecology and Management degree option in the UA School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and also co-chairs the SNRE Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

Current research focuses on ecological resilience of forested ecosystems in response to large-scale disturbance and changing climate, with an emphasis on forests of Interior Western North America. Falk's teaching portfolio includes Introduction to Wildland Fire (RNR 355), Restoration Ecology (RNR 496e/596e), and the dendroecology section of the LTRR Dendrochronology Summer Intensive Course (DISC; ), in which he has taught since 2005). Falk is also an instructor at the National Advanced Fire and Resource Training Institute (NAFRI; ), where he teaches Advanced Fire Effects and Fire in Ecosystem Management.