Liz's research interests centre on biodiversity conservation and environmental management. Conservation and economic paradigms are shifting in recognition of the interdependencies among environmental, economic, and social systems. This shift is changing philosophies on why, where, and how we conserve nature. Her research evaluates these evolving incentives for conservation, and develops tools for effective conservation and environmental management.
Liz is currently working on an ARC Discovery funded project looking at land management strategies to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services in production landscapes. This involves developing new decision support technologies to evaluate land management strategies over whole landscapes for multiple taxa and ecosystem services, and using these to systematically assess the benefits and costs of land sharing and land sparing policy strategies. This project will compare and contrast three case studies, in Indonesia, Canada, and Australia, and she will be working with A/Prof Kerrie Wilson (Biology, UQ), Prof Clive McAlpine(Geography and Environmental Planning, UQ), Dr Brett Bryan (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences), as well as Peter Arcese and Kai Chan from UBC.
Liz's PhD, completed in 2015, was “Trading carbon, biodiversity, and livelihoods: A landscape scale analysis of ecosystems services and trade-offs in land-use policy”. In this project, she developed and applied novel approaches to plan for diverse objectives with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency, and equitability of landscape management for multiple stakeholders. She focused on a case study in a REDD+ priority region, the Ex-Mega Rice Project (EMRP) of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Restoration and development of the EMRP is of global interest due to substantial carbon emissions from degraded peatland, the declining charismatic biodiversity, and a rapidly developing palm-oil industry. This makes for an interesting, complex land use problem, with poignant trade-offs between stakeholders that Liz shows are unlikely to be resolved under existing policy. This PhD project was completed in the Wilson Conservation Ecology Lab, supervised by A/Prof Kerrie Wilson (Biology, UQ), Dr Thilak Mallawaarachchi (Risk and Sustainable Management Group, School of Economics, UQ), Dr Paul Dargusch (Geography and Environmental Planning, UQ), and Dr Brett Bryan (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences), and supported through supported through an Australian Postgraduate Award, the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions Postgraduate Award, and a CSIRO Integrative Natural Resource Management Postgraduate Fellowship.