Land management strategies to enhance ecosystem services in production landscapes
We seek to understand how production landscapes can be most effectively managed to enhance the delivery of multiple ecosystem services. Contrasting options to achieve this goal are referred to as land sharing and land sparing, which represent endpoints of a continuum of land management strategies. As part of a recently awarded Australian Research Council Discovery Project, our aim is to undertake a rigorous assessment of the environmental and economic implications of land management strategies across three continents.
This PhD project will develop and apply new decision-support technology to evaluate land management strategies over whole landscapes for multiple ecosystem services. The project could potentially involve a range of techniques including landscape modelling, land use optimisation, scenario analysis, generation of data on ecosystem service benefits, regional climate modelling, and elicitation of information from experts. There is flexibility in relation to the ecosystem services and techniques that the successful PhD candidate will focus on, with options ranging from food production, biodiversity, energy, water, carbon sequestration, to regional climate regulation, amongst others. The successful candidate will focus on the intensive agricultural zone of continental Australia, with particular focus on the Brigalow Belt bioregion of Queensland. There will also be opportunities to be involved in projects undertaken in Central Kalimantan and British Columbia.
Applicants must possess a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree with first-class Honours, Master of Science or MPhil with significant research components. Candidates from diverse disciplines are welcome to apply. Successful applicants will have a demonstrated capacity and aptitude for conducting research and it is desirable that they possess or seek to obtain skills in ecological and economic modelling, and spatial and statistical analysis. The candidate will work jointly with scientists across multiple disciplines (including biodiversity conservation, geography, environmental science and environmental economics) at The University of Queensland, CSIRO and University of British Columbia. The supervisory team will include: Assoc. Prof. Kerrie Wilson (UQ), Prof. Clive McAlpine (UQ), Elizabeth Law (UQ/UBC), and Dr Brett Bryan (CSIRO). Resources are available to support the PhD research as part of the broader project.
Prospective applicants should also apply or be the recipient of an APA (or equivalent) scholarship. Interested students should provide a professional CV and a short letter of interest to Assoc. Prof. Kerrie Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org).