Elizabeth_LawPostdoctoral Research Fellow

My 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. My research evaluates these evolving incentives for conservation, and develops tools for effective conservation and environmental management.

I’m 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 I’ll 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.

My 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, I 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. I 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 I show 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.

PhD, School of Biological Sciences, UQ 2010 – 2015

Masters of Natural Resource Economics, UQ – 2010

BSc (Hons I), Macquarie University – 2006

Email: e.law@uq.edu.au

Blog posts by Liz

ResearcherID: C-8981-2015

Recent papers:

Law EA, Bryan BA, MeijaardE, Mallawaarachchi T, Struebig MJ, Watts M, Wilson KA (2016) Mixed policies give more options in multifunctional tropical forest landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12666

Wilson KA, Law EA (2016) How to avoid underselling biodiversity with ecosystem services. Trends in Ecology and the Environment, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2016.03.002

Law EA (2016) Is international conservation aid enough? Environmental Research Letters 11 021001. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/2/021001 

Bryan, B.A., Runting, R., Capon, T., Cunningham, S., Perring, M.P., Kragt, M., Nolan, M., Law, E.A., Renwick, A., Eber, S., Christian, R., Wilson, K.A. (2016) Designer policy for carbon and biodiversity co-benefits under global change. Nature Climate Change 6, 301–305 doi:10.1038/nclimate2874.

Evans, Megan C., Tulloch, Ayesha I.T., Law, Elizabeth A., Raiter, Keren G., Possingham, Hugh P. and Wilson, Kerrie A. (2015) Clear consideration of costs, condition and conservation benefits yields better planning outcomes. Biological Conservation, 191 716727. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.08.023

Law EA, and Wilson KA. (2015). Providing context for the land-sharing and land-sparing debate. Conservation Letters 8(6): 404-413DOI: 10.1111/conl.12168

Law EA, Meijaard E, Bryan BA, Mallawarachchi T, Koh LP, Wilson KA. (2015). Better land-use allocation outperforms land sparing and land sharing approaches to conservation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Biological Conservation. 186: 276-286. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.03.004

Law EA, Bryan BA, Torabi N, Bekessy SA, McAlpine CA, Wilson KA (2015). Measurement matters in managing landscape carbon. Ecosystem Services. 13, 6-15. DOI. 10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.07.007

Law EA, Bryan BA, Meijaard E, Mallawarachchi T, Struebig M, Wilson KA (2015) Ecosystem services from a degraded peatland of Central Kalimantan: implications for policy, planning, and management. Ecological Applications. 25, 70-87

Martinez Harms MJ, Bryan BA, Balvanera P, Law EA, Rhodes J, Possingham HP, Wilson KA. (2015) Making decisions for managing ecosystem services. Biological Conservation 184: 229–238. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.01.024.

Bryan BA, Nolan M, Harwood TD, Connor JD, Navarro-Garcia J, King D, Summers DM, Newth D, Cai Y, Grigg N, Harman I, Crossman ND, Grundy MJ, Finnigan JJ, Ferrier S, Williams KJ, Wilson KA, Law EA, Hatfield-Dodds S. (2014). Supply of carbon sequestration and biodiversity services from Australia’s agricultural land under global change. Global Environmental Change, 28.166-181. DOI. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.06.013

Bull JW, Gordon A, Law EA, Suttle KB, Milner-Gulland EJ (2014). Importance of baseline specification in evaluating conservation interventions and achieving no net loss of biodiversity. Conservation Biology, 28(3), 799-809

Martin LJ, Quinn JE, Ellis EC, Shaw MR, Dorning MA, Hallett LM, Heller NE, Hobbs RJ, Kraft CE, Law EA, Michel NL, Perring MP, Shirey PD, Wiederholt R. (2014). Biodiversity conservation opportunities across the world’s anthromes. Diversity and Distributions, 20. 745–755

Law EA, Thomas S, Meijaard E, Dargusch PJ, Wilson KA (2012). A modular framework for the management of complexity in international forest-carbon policy. Nature Climate Change 2, 155-160

Law EA, Meijaard E, Wilson KA (2010). A reckoning for reckoning. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3), 105-6

Main Lab Themes:

Ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation

Borneo futures

Read more about this research:

The following article appears in Decision Point magazine.

BALANCING TRADE-OFFS BETWEEN LAND-USE POLICY OBJECTIVESBalancing trade-offs between land-use policy objectives
Exploring options in an abandoned agricultural project in Kalimantan…read more