BSc (Hons), James Cook University
Bachelor of Science, James Cook University
Evaluating Biodiversity Outcomes in Protected Areas
Marc Hockings, Nigel Dudley, Hugh Possingham
Protected areas are the primary form of intervention applied to achieve biodiversity conservation in response to anthropogenic threat today. The latest meeting of the CBD in Nagoya has announced new targets of 17% global land coverage by terrestrial protected areas and 10% global coverage by marine and coastal protected areas by 2020. Performance of protected areas remains poorly understood and despite calls to evaluate their ability to retain biodiversity values and the heavy reliance of global conservation strategies on their effectiveness, there remains little understanding of if, when, how or why protected areas are able to maintain biodiversity values. Performance in maintaining populations of species remains poorly understood, quantitative evaluation using empirical data in this field is almost unknown, and there is little linkage between species based and area based research. Previous research has focused on coverage and input variables. Biological performance evaluation has been dominated by habitat change data, which whilst valuable is limited in its ability to detect change outside of forests or more subtle degradation.
The focus of my research will be on the use of existing species trend data to determine population trends in protected areas. I will use these to evaluate protected area performance using aggregate population trends through time as an estimate of success. Internal performance alone cannot be used as an unequivocal measure of success – depending on the circumstances, there is potential to either over or under estimate relative performance. Specifically, conservation critically needs to answer the question of whether protected areas perform better than alternate forms of land use. Protected areas are likely to vary in their ability to maintain biodiversity, and whilst evaluating outcomes is critical, it is not enough. We must also understand the mechanisms underlying outcomes so that we may institute change at the earliest possible opportunity. I will collate attribute data and apply mixed effects modelling to identify correlates of outcomes, taking the next step towards understanding the drivers of biological outcomes in protected areas and identify critical correlates where improved inputs, land management and policy change can yield tangible conservation benefits in the short and long term. The outcomes of this work are intended to inform future decision making by policy-makers and managers; and potentially to contribute to the evaluation of the 2020 indicators for the CBD.
2009 - Present: PhD Candidate, University of Queensland.
2008: Research Assistant, Fundo Peregrino Panama (6 months)
2007: Community Conservation Officer (Turtles), Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM), Panama (3 months)
2005-2006: BSc (Hons), James Cook University
“The phylogenetic effects of temperature and maternal thermoregulation on a tropical viviparous skink, Eulamprus brachysoma”
2005: Volunteer Community Environmental Education Officer, Kiomoni Village, Tanzania (4 months)
2002-2004: Bachelor of Science Zoology & Marine Biology, James Cook University
Research: Protected area management, environmental evaluation and monitoring, links between science, policy and management,
General: Renewable energy, greenwash, environmental accountability, sustainability, local food, carbon tax, science philosophy, community literacy
Recreational: Scuba diving, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Ultimate, Literature
Ultimate Disc: I have played Ultimate Disc at a National level for the past three years, and am passionate about the development of the sport. I represented Australia at the Asian Beach Ultimate Championships in 2009 and am the VP of the Brisbane Executive.
Schwarzkopf, L., M.Barnes, et al. (2009). "Belly up: Reduced crevice accessibility as a cost of reproduction caused by increased girth in a rock-using lizard." Austral Ecology 35(1).
Last updated: Jan 22, 2013