SNAPP Better Land-Use Decisions

The western United States contains one of the world’s largest intact rangelands, and is home to many charismatic and unique birds and animals that rely on intact sagebrush and grasslands, such as the Greater Sage-grouse. This is a working landscape steeped in cultural history, and people are interwoven into the past, present and future of these rangelands. Private landholders have an important role to play in helping protect these intact landscapes. In this project, and in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and the Sage Grouse Initiative, I’m evaluating how government policy can support or hinder efforts to continue to provide habitat for sage grouse, clean water and carbon storage at the same time as maintaining livelihoods and vibrant communities for ranchers across the western US. I’m also working to find ways to encourage support for conservation initiatives across the sage grasslands of the western US.

Conservation aquaculture

The Conservation Aquaculture Research Team (CART) is a group of experts and analysts in ocean conservation, fisheries and aquaculture (i.e., aquatic farming) sciences. CART uses synthesis science to help guide the fastest growing food sector on the planet to work with, instead of against, the environment. With help from international and domestic partnerships in government, academia, non-governmental agencies, and industry, we want our science to align seafood production with conservation objectives across multiple scales and ecosystems.

Modelling cultural ecosystem services in the Arctic

People are an integral part of any conservation solution. Understanding the ways that people perceive a landscape, and identifying the important places for well-being, economic security and culture (known as ecosystem services) is a crucial part of implementing conservation actions that survive political tides. In collaboration with researchers from the Arctic University of Norway and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research I am applying tools from ecology to model and map ecosystem services across Norway and the Arctic. We are using this information to help guide development that is fairer across all people in Arctic societies, and to develop solutions to avoid or minimise conflict between people and nature. Read more here

Better biodiversity outcomes from infrastructure development

Linear infrastructure, such as roads and rail, currently represents an enormous conservation issue. More than 25 million kilometres of new road is expected across the globe by 2050. Through my previous postdoc work with Jonathan Rhodes at the School of Geography, Planning & Environmental Management, University of Queensland, I have discovered that encouraging shared development and use of infrastructure can dramatically reduce the impacts on biodiversity and agriculture at the same time as reducing capital costs of development, but despite this apparent win-win, developers often have perverse incentives that discourage collaboration.

Migratory species

Migratory species depend on a suite of interconnected sites across jurisdictions and across time. My doctoral research scrutinized this complex, multidimensional problem, and revealed major gaps in protections for migratory birds within global conservation networks. I developed tools that utilize crowd-sourced and remotely sensed information to prioritize conservation actions for migratory species and design conservation networks. I discovered that conservation management must be integrated into human land use, and new, dynamic whole-of-landscape actions are urgently needed to ensure that one of nature’s great phenomena remains for future generations. This research is now being applied to improve conservation for two threatened migratory species, the swift parrot and regent honeyeater, and integrated into strategic planning in the East-Asia Australasia Flyway.

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