The Wilson Environmental Decisions Lab is a research group working on applied environmental research. The lab is led by Professor Kerrie Wilson, Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments at the Queensland University of Technology. Before undertaking her new position in January 2019, Kerrie was the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at the University of Queensland.
Ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation
Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect benefits that people derive from ecosystems including the production of goods (e.g. food, water, raw materials), process that support and regulate life (e.g. regulation of water flows, climate regulation, moderation of extreme events, carbon sequestration) and cultural connections that enhance human experience (e.g. scenic beauty, recreation, cultural heritage). We are increasingly aware of how vital these services are to human wellbeing globally, and the urgent need to prevent their loss or degradation. Read more
Conservation has many facets, ranging from biodiversity protection to management of invasive species to restoration of degraded lands. Globally, forest biomes have been subjected to extensive land clearing generating significant carbon emissions, depleting important ecosystem services and threatening biodiversity. In many cases, protection alone may not be sufficient and restoration is urgently needed to reverse human damage and prevent ongoing attrition of species from isolated forest fragments and reinstate ecosystem services. Read more
Conservation and development in production landscapes
Protected areas may be the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation strategies, but they are not adequate nor sufficient to protect a full range of biodiversity across the wider landscape. They also do not supply all the values we can derive from healthy, functioning ecosystems where and when we need them. In this project, we focus on conservation and development strategies in production landscapes – where satisfying the multiple objectives of diverse stakeholders is a key policy challenge. It is a complex problem, involving many alternative land management options across biophysically and socially heterogeneous landscapes. Read more
Conservation decision-making in socio-ecological systems
Making effective decisions for biodiversity conservation requires an understanding of the social system in which conservation actions are designed, planned for, and implemented. Humans are social beings, and as such decisions are not made independently of others. How people are connected to each other and their connections to the environment bring uncertainty to the process of deciding what conservation actions to apply where and when. Our research in this area draws upon theory and tools from the social sciences to understand the interplay between social and ecological variables and how they affect conservation outcomes. Read more