Balancing the apparently divergent objectives of economic development and conservation is a significant challenge for land managers and policy makers. In the last decade, conservation has shifted towards a greater alignment of conservation outcomes with human social and economic needs, but there has been little assessment on what that means for long-term biodiversity conservation. Furthermore, few attempts have been made to integrate a wider array of societal objectives into spatial planning tools and conservation planning frameworks. Spatial conservation planning, as part of a systematic conservation planning process, is vital for an effective understanding of the biodiversity-human trade-offs involved and to ensure plans are able to achieve cost-effective biodiversity protection.

The aim of my PhD is to develop and determine the utility of a novel land-use planning framework capable of integrating multiple societal objectives to simultaneously plan for economic development and conservation. The approach will be demonstrated through a case study of The Albertine Rift, a globally significant region for biodiversity which, due to rapid population growth and development, is undergoing rapid land-use changes.

Funding: Australian Postgraduate Award
Advisors: Assoc Prof James Watson, Dr Oscar Venter, Dr Duan Biggs, Prof Hugh Possingham

Project members

James Allan

PhD Candidate