Dr. David Fox, Lecturer
Urban Forestry Specialist, Spatial Information Strategist, Palm Enthusiast
(Building 844, Office 3)
PO Box 110410
Gainesville, FL 32611-0410
The first 30 years of my career was spent as a public forester and in private consulting firms. My experience includes:
- providing timberland management advice in Florida including commercial silvicultural operations such as reforestation, harvest, and use of prescribed fire;
- designing and implementing an urban tree inventory software program along with field methodologies resulting in participation of over two dozen municipal tree inventories across the southeastern U.S.;
- preparing over 200 development suitability studies in south and central Florida that each analyzed soils, vegetation cover, wetland extent, and land use in relation to potential development permitting or wetland mitigation design;
- moving previous employers from the use of pen and ink mapping to computer-aided drafting (CAD) followed by establishing standard practices, creating map templates, and designing a prototype timberland management geodatabase within a geographic information system (GIS).
In 2010 I heard of an opportunity to return to academia and pursue a Ph.D. in forestry at the University of Florida. My experiences in traditional forestry, urban forestry, and digital mapping, coupled with an interest in tropical forestry, all lead to my study of the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), which is currently threatened by an exotic disease. Having discovered a dearth of ecological information about the species, my doctoral work was an attempt to close a few of the knowledge gaps. I successfully graduated in 2015 with the completion of my dissertation titled “Sabal palmetto: Investigating the ecological importance of Florida’s State Tree.”
My time at UF as a student and graduate assistant prepared me well for teaching and collaboration. I was hired as a full-time lecturer in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in June 2017 and am responsible for teaching Urban Forestry, Forest Resource Information Systems, and assisting in other courses as the need arises. My other duties include further developing and maintaining UF’s Austin Cary Forest GIS data and working with other SFRC faculty to help develop more in-depth spatial thinking within existing courses.
I love teaching and interacting with students and look forward to my ‘encore career’ of preparing and mentoring the next generation of natural resource professionals.
PhD, Forest Resource Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 2015
MF, Forest Soils, Duke University, Durham, NC 1978
BA, Geology, Thiel College, Greenville, PA 1977
Prior Work Experience:
1995-2010: Natural Resource Planning Services, Inc., Gainesville, FL – Technical Services Manager
1990-1995: Forest Resource Management, Inc., Fort Myers, FL – V.P. of Environmental Services
1985-1990: W. Dexter Bender and Assoc., Inc., Fort Myers, FL – Environmental and Forestry Consultant
1981-1985: Florida Division of Forestry (now Florida Forest Service), Blountstown and Fort Myers, FL – Pine Reforestation Initiative Forester, Lee County Forester
Urban Forestry FOR4090 Course Description
Urban forestry is the art and science of managing the biotic components in cities for the health and well-being of people. As people move to urban centers, they become increasingly disconnected from the natural and agricultural systems known to their ancestors. Concepts of forestry, natural resource management, arboriculture, sustainability, urban planning, and landscape design blend in managing biotic and abiotic components of urban forest ecosystems to produce a safe and healthy environment for city dwellers.
Upon completing the course, students will be able to:
- Describe the role of urban forest management and the scientific aspects of an urban forest ecosystem;
- Measure and analyze urban forest structure, function, ecosystem services, and values;
- Assess the biophysical and socioeconomic aspects of urban and natural resource management;
- Apply problem-solving skills to management issues involving urban and urbanizing forests.
Forest Resource Information Systems FOR3434 Course Description
Nearly every topic imaginable associated with natural resource management has some spatial or geographic context. This course aims to develop spatial thinking through the use of geographic information system (GIS) tools. Understanding how the elements of geography, mapping, and database management connect to the physical world is key to answering questions related to “where” and “what”. The relative location of features (where) and their properties or attributes (what) can be overlain, combined, and analyzed to tell a richer story beyond simple facts.
Topics Covered will include: Map and compass use, introductory aerial photograph interpretation, Public Land Survey System of the US, map projections and coordinate systems, geospatial data sources and data collection, use of Global Positioning System (GPS) for data collection and navigation, basic database design, spatial and tabular data analysis, basic cartographic techniques and map layout, and examples of GIS use in the natural and physical sciences.
Upon completing the course, students will be able to:
- Read maps and use a compass for field navigation;
- Understand the Public Land Survey System and use it to describe land parcels;
- Recognize map projections and their geodetic implications;
- Discover and use aerial and satellite imagery and other digital data sources;
- Create spatial data sets and organize them in a geodatabase;
- Practice basic vector and raster geospatial analyses;
- Create maps using appropriate cartographic standards.