Douglas Ladd is the Missouri director of conservation for The Nature Conservancy. He has worked in conservation for over 35 years, 30 with the Conservancy, and is well known throughout the United States as an accomplished conservation biologist and botanist. Doug is just as likely to be found in the field collecting specimens or handling a drip torch as he is to be indoors looking through a microscope or reading a scientific journal. His mentorship has guided the careers of countless others in the natural areas fields and his leadership has shaped conservation perspectives and methods across the Midwest.
Doug has been involved with fire management, fire ecology, conservation planning, natural area assessment, and ecological management, restoration, and research, with particular emphasis on vegetation, ecological restoration, and fire ecology. His recent work has concentrated on vegetation and fire ecology of Midwestern prairies and woodlands, developing assessment and ecological monitoring protocols for terrestrial vegetation, and ecoregional conservation planning. He is a certified fire leader and has instructed fire training courses in the United States and Central America. Doug is a leading lichenologist and has researched lichens in the Midwest, the Great Plains, and northeast Canada. He is currently collaborating with Richard Harris of the New York Botanical Garden on a study of Ozark lichens, which has resulted in the discovery of several species and genera new to science.
Doug has undergraduate degrees in botany and chemistry, and a master's degree in botany from Southern Illinois University, where his thesis research was conducted under Dr. Robert Mohlenbrock on the flora and vegetation of north-central Vermont. In addition to numerous articles and reports, Doug is the author of two plant field guides, North Woods Wildflowers and Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers, and coauthor of Discover Natural Missouri and Distribution of Illinois Vascular Plants. He is a research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, and the Conservation Research Institute, and The Morton Arboretum in Chicago. Doug serves as adjunct faculty at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, and is on the advisory boards of Shaw Nature Reserve and the University of Missouri, St. Louis Harris World Ecology Center.
A native of Barre, Vermont, Doug has a grown daughter, Melica, and resides in Webster Groves with his wife Deborah.