Trained as an ecological anthropologist, Dr. James D. Nations has spent the past 25 years working for the protection of natural ecosystems and cultural heritage in the tropics and the United States. Before joining the National Parks Conservation Association as head of the Center for Park Research, James worked 13 years with Conservation International, serving as Vice President for Mexico and Central America, Vice President for Latin America, and Vice President for Development Agency Relations.
James lived three years with the Lacandón Maya, a rainforest tribe in Chiapas, Mexico, studied alternatives to deforestation in Central America for two years as a Tinker Foundation post-doctoral fellow, and lived three years in Guatemala as a Fulbright Research Scholar and technical advisor to Guatemala’s National Council for Protected Areas. He also worked with Ecuador’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife to incorporate indigenous groups into the planning and management of national parks in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
James is the author of Tropical Rainforests (Franklin Watts/Grolier 1988), Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Tropical Rainforest (Conservation International 2000), and The Maya Tropical Forest: People, Parks, and Ancient Cities (University of Texas Press 2006), as well as a dozen book chapters on protected areas, biodiversity, human population dynamics, and indigenous people.
He earned BS and MS degrees from the University of North Texas, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas. James also serves as Clerk of Trustees for the Alexandria Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Vice President of the Leadership Council for Human Rights, and President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems in Austin, Texas.