I am broadly interested in landscape ecology, with a particular interest in the overarching effects of anthropogenic actions on ecological interactions and ecosystem function. Natural habitats are under increasing pressure from urbanization and the expansion and intensification of agricultural lands. As a consequence, numerous species are displaced, valuable ecosystems services are lost, and the function a landscape can completely change. A prime example of this dichotomy between productive expansion and conservation is in Australian agricultural lands, which are under intense pressure to meet the demands of a growing population while confronting ever-increasing threats of diminished productivity, a reduction in ecosystem services, and climatic and environmental uncertainty.
My PhD project aims to explore how alternative land management strategies can contribute to biodiversity targets and economic returns to agriculture within the Brigalow Belt bioregion of eastern Queensland. Using novel dynamic land use planning techniques, I am interested in developing management strategies that consider a suite of environmental, economic, and sociological factors, such as landowner behaviors and values, economic feasibility, the impacts of stochastic events, and species distributions and population viability. The goal for this project is to create a dynamic landscape model that can predict the impacts on biodiversity as a function of realistic spatial and temporal variation in economic costs and local conditions. Ultimately, this project will determine the cost-effectiveness of alternative land management strategies that can achieve biodiversity targets and ensure landscapes are profitable, sustainable, and robust to uncertainty.
My PhD is supported through the University of Queensland International Scholarship and an ARC Discovery award.