Oregon State University

Eric Jones


I am a 4th generation Oregonian with many relatives in the state.  I have worked in a diverse range of sectors including farming, forestry, fisheries, science and education, from tree planting and logging to mushroom and strawberry picking,  from driving taxi managing environmental nonprofits, from teaching to research.  These work experiences have played a considerable role in how I see the world and what research I do and how I do it.  I have a Ph.D. in human ecology/environmental anthropology from UMass/Amherst and also several years of working professionally as an archaeologist.  I also attended Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University and the University of Oregon where I received my Bachelor's degree.  Most of my research in the last 20 years has been applied cultural anthropology in an interdisciplinary context.  My guiding belief is that most solutions to environmental and natural resource problems cannot be engineered and programs fail in the long-term because they neglect to understand the sociocultural context from which the problems emerged.  I draw from a broad methodological toolkit depending on the nature of the problem, from critical and historical humanities to empirical qualitative and quantitative science.  My theoretical frameworks have mostly been political ecology, land tenure and common property with an emphasis on holistic understanding and system approaches.  I'm particularly interested in stewardship pattens in new and emerging cultures and networks such as commercial wild mushroom harvesters.  I have lead many projects looking at nontimber forest product harvesting, as well as more traditional ethnobotanical studies with regional American Indians and other cultural groups.  In recent years I have branched out to look at a systems approach to income diversification and biodiversity management on small private lands in the Pacific Northwest.  This includes addressing the rising average age of small farm and forest ownerships and how to get youth reinterested in managing family farms.  Other research areas of interest are informal economy, farm stay tourism, decision support system tools in natural resource planning, bridging urban-rural divides, and examining the potential and risks of Internet virtual cultures in environmental youth education.  My primary geographic focus is the Pacific Northwest, but I've also done research across the U.S., and in Indonesia, Mexico, and Canada.  In 1997 I co-founded the Institute for Culture and Ecology with a group of other social scientists and worked there fulltime as a senior scientist and manager until 2012.  I have been actively involved from time to time in the Society for Applied Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association, including serving as Program Chair for the Anthropology and the Environment Section.  My wife is an environmental anthropologist co-directing the Environmental Learning Program in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon.  We often do anthropological research together.  We have a young daughter that loves to work in the garden and eat the fresh tomatoes right off the vine.

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