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Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University

Dr. David Bunn joined the CSU Natural Resources Ecology Lab [NREL] from his position as Director of the Wits Knowledge Hub for Rural Development at Wits Rural Facility, one of the largest and most prestigious rural research bases in Africa.

David Bunn’s research and teaching is strongly interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on spatial theory, political geography, and cultural anthropology. He has worked for many years on the relationship between communities and protected areas in the savanna biome. His long-term research projects in South Africa’s Kruger National Park include reference to the political economy of borders, interactions between Mozambican refugees and lions, and Southern Africa’s wildlife economy. Exploring the intersection of race, ethnicity, and conservation management, he has produced films and studies of early African game rangers.

Outside academia, he has worked in government and environmental trusts, pursuing environmental justice for the groups that border protected areas. Current interests include land conflict in southern Africa, and on gendered authority over communal rangelands. Beyond that, he is interested in human-animal conflict; trans-boundary conservation areas; neo-liberalism and nature; environmental film and writing; anthropologies of nature; indigenous knowledge systems; and environmental area studies (Africa, South Africa, Australia, India, and elsewhere) with an interdisciplinary and social sciences emphasis.

Sample publications:

1. McHale, M.R., Pickett, Steward T.A., Barbosa, O., and Bunn, D. N. et al. 2015. “The New Global Urban Realm: Complex, Connected, Diffuse, and Diverse Social-Ecological Systems.” Sustainability 7: 5211-5240;

2. McHale, M.R., Pickett, S.T.A., Bunn, D. N., Twine, W. 2013. “Urban Ecology in a Developing World: Why Advanced Socio-Ecological Theory Needs Africa.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(10): 556-563;

3. Bunn, D. N. 2006. “The Museum Outdoors: Heritage, Cattle, and Permeable Borders in the South Western Kruger National Park.” In Corrine Kratz and Ivan Karp, eds., Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations.” Duke University Press.


  • –present
    Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University