Dr. Ray Huffaker

Bioeconomic Modeling, Natural Resource and Environmental Law

Ray Huffaker is a natural resource economist (Ph.D., UC Davis) specializing in bioeconomic and hydrologic modeling, and a legal scholar (J.D., UC Davis) specializing in natural resource and environmental law. 

Huffaker is interested in understanding feedback between economic activities and ecosystem resources, and investigating management policies that protect the long-term viability of both. 

Huffaker has studied a wide variety of resource uses and human-ecosystem interactions. In water, he investigated agricultural water conservation policies subsidizing farmers to improve on-farm irrigation efficiency. He also studied optimal removal of reservoir sediments to restore valuable water-storage capacity for agricultural, industrial, and municipal uses; and the legal potential for various types of specialized water transactions to allocate more water to instream uses during critical flow periods. In invasive species management, Huffaker derived optimal animal stocking policies to control invasive weeds on grazing land by embedding plant competition dynamics into an economic grazing problem. In pest management, he collaborated with entomologists to develop a potato spraying schedule for green peach aphids vectoring potato leaf-roll virus to economize on the application of an environmentally damaging pesticide.

In all of this work, Huffaker has endeavored to expand the capabilities of bioeconomic models to incorporate more complex hydrologic and ecosystem dynamics by adopting cutting-edge mathematical modeling techniques. Huffaker firmly believes that model builders must become thoroughly acquainted with available data to construct informative models that successfully simulate complex real-world behavior. Huffaker’s current research focuses on applying these techniques to detect low-dimensional nonlinear deterministic structure in economic and biophysical time-sequenced data that can be used to construct hydrologic and bioeconomic models whose simulated dynamics match real-world complexity. 

Huffaker thoroughly enjoys working with students. His teaching experience includes doctoral courses in data diagnostics, mathematical optimization techniques, economic dynamics, and micro- and macroeconomic anlaysis; and undergraduate courses in natural resource economics and environmental law.


  • ABE 6933: Data Diagnostics
  • ABE5643c: Biological Systems Modeling

Ray Huffaker - Professor