Tidball's work is focused on the interactions between humans and nature in the aftermath of natural disasters and war.
He is particularly interested in how these interactions relate to social-ecological system resilience, or in other words, how humans and their interactions with nature are related to a system's ability to bounce back after being disturbed.
He approaches this work as a hybrid anthropologist/ ecologist and draws heavily from fields such as ecological anthropology, social-ecological systems resilience theory, and international relations theory. Sub-disciplines and areas of interest include Community Forestry, Community-Based Natural Resource Management, Ecological Engineering, Cultural Anthropology and Symbolism, Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management, SSTR (Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction), and the Human Security paradigm.
Tidball argues that community based natural resources management like urban community greening and other "civic ecology" approaches that integrate natural, human, social, financial, and physical capital in cities, and that encompass diversity, self-organization, and adaptive learning and management leading to positive feedback loops, have the potential to play a key role in enhancing and maintaining urban social-ecological resilience before, and after, a disaster or conflict strikes.
His current research applies resilience theory to urban social-ecological systems, attempts to expand comparative analysis of resilience narratives in cities emerging from crisis to encompass more community-based and environmental approaches, and proposes an asset and community based tool, i.e., urban community greening, which can serve as the focus of social learning about resilience in cities.