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David Flores

David Flores

Research Social Scientist

240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Contact David Flores

Current Research


  1. Safety and organizational learning within the wildland fire system.
  2. Social-cultural attitudes and beliefs that impact decision making.
  3. Trends in outdoor recreation by race and ethnicity.
  4. Community leader responses to natural disasters.
  5. Land user responses to ecological change.  

Research Interests

My research interests are based on a social-cultural approach to the study of decision making, land use and natural resources. More specifically, my research interests include 1) understanding cultural attitdues and beliefs within complex organizations and institutions; 2) investigating access to outdoor recreation, with particular emphasis on historically underrepresented communities; and 3) documenting environmental management and decision making in urban and rural areas. Using quantitative and qualitative methodolgies, my research rests within the intersection of sociology, anthropology, psychology, communications, and public policy. My collaborations include diverse partners from universities, government, and non-government organizations.

Past Research

1. Military sociology and organizational culture.
2. Military veteran experiences and meaning of warfare.
3. Political attitudes and behavior.
4. Qualitative research methodologies.
5. The sociology of labor in Latin America.

Flores, David. 2016. Politicization beyond politics: Narratives and mechanisms of Iraq War veterans’ activism. Armed Forces and Society. doi: 10.1177/0095327X16642041.

Flores, David. 2016. From prowar soldier to antiwar activist: Change and continuity in the narratives of political conversion among Iraq War veterans. Symbolic Interaction. doi: 10.1002/SYMB.225.

Flores, David. 2014. Memories of war: Sources of Vietnam veteran pro- and antiwar political attitudes. Sociological Forum. 29(1): 98-119.

Why This Research is Important

My current research works to support efficient and effective land management by improving the understanding of sustainable relationships between communities and their environments, diversity in communities of land users, and management decision making within complex land management organizations. Specifically, I address social and cultural attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that impact how people make dicisions concerning land management. This research is important because of the increasing complexity of managing conflicting resource demands and conservation priorities. Conflict over competing land uses stems in part from social and cultural differences in how people view and value the ways in which land and natural resources are managed. My research works to improve understanding of cultural identity and conflict and their relationship to disputes over public lands.


  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Ph.D., Sociology, 2012
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, M.A., Sociology, 2006
  • University of California - Berkeley, B.A., Sociology, 2003
  • Professional Experience

    Presidential Management Fellow (PMF), U.S. Forest Service
    2012 to 2014

    Research Associate and Sociology Instructor, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    2004 to 2012

    Student Advising Officer, University of California - Berkeley
    2002 to 2004

    United States Marine, United States Marine Corps
    1993 to 2000

    Professional Organizations

    • International Association for Society and Natural Resources, Member ( 2015 to present )
    • American Sociological Association, Member ( 2004 to present )
    • Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals ( 2017 to present )
    • Pacific Sociological Association ( 2015 to present )
    • Rural Sociological Society ( 2015 to present )


    USDA Forest Service Certificate of Merit, 2017
    In recognition of substantial contributions to the development of the Forest Service 2017 Life-Work Dialogues.
    USDA Forest Service Middle Leaders Program, 2017
    Intensive four month leadership program for emerging leaders within the Forest Service.
    Climate Change, 2014
    Initiative with the University of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station ($15,000).
    New Scientists Initiative, 2013
    USDA Forest Service 10 new Scientists Initiative ($30,000).
    The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy with special recognition of the Harold D. Lasswell Award, 2010
    Research grant ($5000).
    Sociology Brazil Summer Fellowship., 2008
    Awarded by Sociologists Without Borders ($2500).
    Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS), 2007
    Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education for Portuguese studies in Sao Paulo, Brazil ($2500).
    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2005
    Multi-year award ($120,000)
    Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship, 2005
    Multi-year award ($60,000)
    American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program, 2004
    Multi-year award ($45,000)
    Ronald E. McNair Scholar Fellowship, 2004
    Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan ($15,000)
    Ronald E. McNair Scholarship, 2002
    U.S. Department of Education, TRIO Program, University of California, Berkeley.
    George A. Miller Scholarship Program, 2000
    Academic Achievement Programs, University of California Berkeley
    Historically, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States are not as likely to recreate or work in the country’s natural lands as are racial whites. Data from the Forest Service’s National Visitor Use Monitoring program indicate disproportionate utilization of National Forest System recreation opportunities by the nation’s minority racial and ethnic groups. Past individual case studies conducted of regional areas have addressed constraints to outdoor recreation for racial and ethnic minority groups. This is the first study to examine equity of service across the entire National Forest System. 
    The Lassen and Modoc National Forests are revising their Forest Plans, guided by the 2012 Planning Rule. This requires public and tribal input throughout the process and embraces the fact that ecological, social, and economic objectives are interrelated. Because ecological, social, and economic conditions have changed since the original forest plans were written and new science is available, preparing a science synthesis, guided by input from the public, tribes, and forest staffs, is the first step in a multi-step process that eventually leads to revised forest plans.