Research interests

New paper!: Software support for environmental evidence synthesis. Nature Ecology & Evolution

My DPhil research explores strategic approaches to biodiversity conservation. Globally we are faced with an extinction crisis and resources for biodiversity conservation must be carefully targeted. When tasked with prioritising areas of land and sea for protection, conservation planners must consider a wide range of biological, economic and socio-political factors if a plan is to be effective. Systematic conservation planning (SCP) has gained popularity with policy makers worldwide, as a planning framework designed to provide transparency in value-laden decision making, and to bridge the ‘knowledge-implementation divide’. This is in part due to the fact it allows decision makers to consider trade-offs between social, economic and biological objectives. However, there are few evaluations of the effect of SCP approaches on conservation planning globally.

The central aim of my project is to better understand the factors which influence the design and implementation of SCP-based conservation plans beyond consideration of the traditional biological criteria and to evaluate ‘what works’ in conservation planning.


How would you set about evaluating a systematic conservation planning project? We discuss theories of change and causal pathways in our Annual Reviews article.

Stack of books - Credit: Evan Bench

Our systematic map reflects the collation and assessment of publications on the outcomes of systematic conservation planning initiatives globally.

Great Barrier Reef, Credit: Sarah Ackerman

In depth case studies are helping to explore the most influential factors underpinning the design of conservation plans, through interviews with conservation planners in Australia.

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The final project involves an examination of the barriers to sharing evidence in conservation planning and a discussion of solutions to increase the transferability of lessons learnt.