CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Conserving biodiversity on a budget

Kerrie WilsonSPEAKER: Assoc Professor Kerrie Wilson, ARC Future Fellow, Deputy Director, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

DATE: Friday, 8th April 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HD2.006 (Richard Searby room)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka5.303 and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Biodiversity conservation must compete with other societal priorities. Conservation therefore requires an understanding of both the ecological and the socio-economic system.

I will describe new theory and methods for prioritising where, when, and how to invest funds for protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services and will illustrate with examples of this research in Australia and Borneo. In this presentation I will profile methods to plan for multi-functional landscapes and the delivery of diverse outcomes, systematically evaluate the impact of conservation strategies, and forecast the impacts of alternative policy options and alternative futures.

Throughout the talk there will be a strong focus on initiatives to safeguard ecosystem services, which are providing increasing incentives for land protection and management. While numerous assessments have quantified, mapped, and valued the services provided by ecosystems that are important for human wellbeing much of the literature does not clarify how the information gathered in such assessments will be used to inform decisions to manage ecosystem services or policy settings.

I will describe the outcomes of our research that has assessed the relative performance of a variety of policy instruments in providing cost-effective carbon sequestration and biodiversity outcomes through reforestation. The policy instruments included different payment schemes, land use constraints, and targeting strategies as well as a biodiversity premium and carbon levy. When policy targets are already established, a useful tool for planning in social-ecological systems is scenario analysis.

Our scenario analysis for the Island of Borneo has revealed that public policy targets can be much more efficiently achieved through coordination between governments and modifications to existing land-use allocations.

I will also describe research that has employed scenario analysis of alternative land use planning options with the specific aim to explore the advantages afforded by land sharing or land sparing strategies.

BIO: Associate Professor Kerrie Wilson is an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Queensland (UQ), Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, the Deputy Director of the UQ Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and an Affiliated Professor in Conservation Science at The University of Copenhagen.

Kerrie holds a degree in Environmental Science (First Class Honours, awarded in 1999) from UQ and a Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Melbourne in 2004 undertaken in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre located in Cambridge.

Kerrie has previously held leadership positions with non-government organisations including Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy Australia. She has a particular interest in applied conservation resource allocation problems, such as where to invest limited resources to protect or restore biodiversity and the role of ecosystem services in achieving conservation goals.

Her research has been published in high impact journals such as Nature and Science and involves collaborations with governmental and NGOs at local, national and global levels. She teaches in Conservation Biology and Climate Change courses at UQ, supervises an amazing team of research higher degree students and is an Associate Editor of Ecological Applications and Ecography.

She has received numerous national awards, including two Australian Research Council Research Fellowships, an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher, The HG Andrewartha Medal, the SCOPUS Young Researcher Award for the Life and Biological Sciences and the Women in Technology Life Sciences Research Award.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Euan Ritchie.

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