David Barton Bray is a professor in the Earth and Environment Department at Florida International University. He carries out research on community forest management in Mexico and Central America and pursues interests in natural resource and ecosystem management in Latin America and globally. He was chair and associate professor in the Environmental Studies Department at FIU from 1997 to 2002. He received his PhD from Brown University in 1983 in Anthropology; he also has a master's degree in Anthropology from Brown and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Missouri. From 1983 to 1986 he was assistant director and visiting assistant professor at the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. From 1986 to 1997 he was foundation representative with the Inter-American Foundation, a U.S. government foreign assistance agency, in Arlington, VA. With the IAF he worked in Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay 1986-1989 and in Mexico 1989-1997. From 1992 to 1998 he was a member of the Tropical Ecosystems Directorate of the US Man and the Biosphere Program. In 1997 he left the IAF to take up the position at FIU.
Since 1997, he has received research funding from the Fulbright Program, the Ford Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Tinker Foundation, and the US Agency for International Development. He has also consulted for the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is the lead editor of the book The Community Forests of Mexico (University of Texas Press, 2005) and is widely published in academic journals such as Conservation Biology, World Development, Land Use Policy, and Forest Policy and Economics and in journalistic outlets such as the New York Times and the Miami Herald. He has been invited to give presentations on research by himself and colleagues for high-level Chinese forestry officials in Beijing, the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City, the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, and at Yale University, among other venues. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Ecologic, a Cambridge, MA NGO and an advisor to several forest community organizations in Mexico and is currently developing research and action projects with forest community organizations in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico.
In November 2020, Dr. Bray added another book to his portfolio: Mexico's Community Forest Enterprises: Success on the Commons and the Seeds of a Good Anthropocene.