Our research 

We are the world’s leading research centre for solving environmental management problems and for evaluating the outcomes of environmental actions.

Our key researchers are recognized as global leaders in fundamental environmental science, and we put a high priority on the career development of the next generation of conservation researchers. We also collaborate extensively and see interactivity as the key to our success.

Through our key researchers, we will benefit environmental science, policy and management across Australia and around the world, by tackling the complex problems of environmental management and monitoring in a rapidly changing and uncertain world.


Research highlights

Using maths to plan roads for wildlife

Saving koalas from cars

We all have to negotiate roads in our daily lives; we cross roads to get to the shops, our kids cross roads as they walk or ride to school, and most of us have a road outside where we live. Although they are part of everyday life they pose significant risks to our safety. Vast amounts of money are invested every year making roads as safe as possible through the considere...

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Conserving migratory species

The multiple challenges of planning for complex migratory networks

Migratory species are pretty amazing. Some species travel vast distances in a single migration. An individual bar-tailed godwit, a migratory wading bird, was once tracked as travelling an incredible 11,000 km in a single flight! Arctic terns travel the equivalent of to the Moon and back three times over the course of their life....

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Dealing with the curse of chytrid

Coming to terms with amphibian chytrid fungus in Australia’s High Country

Frogs are in trouble. A third of all frog species are threatened with extinction. The usual culprits of habitat loss and climate change are at work, but another more insidious threat looms. A devastating disease called chytridiomycosis has been wiping out frogs, often from pristine habitats. The disease is caused by a fun...

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Detectability, threatened species & environmental impact assessments

Why detectability matters and what we should do about it

It is now widely accepted that many species are not perfectly detectable during an ecological survey. This means that, sometimes, a species that is present at a site will not be detected by an observer (or observers) during a survey of that site. The probability that the species will be detected if it is present (its ‘detectability’) is i...

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NRM managers only human - ‘bias’ and natural resource management

People in all walks of life – from town planners to judges and financial regulators – are subject to bias in their perceptions and judgements. Natural resource managers too are only human.

CEED researchers at the University of Western Australia have found that we may be able to improve the performance of natural resource management (NRM) if we recognise the influence of biases and work to redu...

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Conservation prioritisation for koalas

Where east meets west, where best to invest?

For species that are increasingly threatened by the combined effects of habitat loss and climate change, we need to identify priority regions where we should be focussing our conservation efforts. In the case of specialist leaf-eaters, considering the effects of climate change on the distributions of their essential food resources should be a key com...

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Looking after our nomads

Geographic range size and extinction risk

Geographic range size (the size of a species' distribution) is often treated as a fixed attribute of a species for the purposes of calculating extinction risk. All else being equal, species occupying smaller geographic ranges are assumed to have a higher risk of extinction. However many species move around the landscape. Sometimes their movements involv...

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Making the most of our flagship species

Private sponsorship and conservation efficiency

It's well known that some species have greater public appeal than others. The species with the greatest appeal are often furry mammals such as the koala or polar bear, or in places like New Zealand, there are large birds like the kiwi. Research has shown that people are willing to pay more for conserving these species than other species, even if t...

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The value of native bush to landholders

Private benefits of native vegetation can help achieve better biodiversity outcomes

A third of Australian woodland has been cleared since European settlement. This has resulted in the loss of important ecosystem services, including biodiversity. Just over three quarters of Australian land is managed by private landholders, therefore conserving biodiversity on private land is an important part o...

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To thin or not to thin ...

Understanding dense eucalypt stands and the pros and cons of thinning

Stands of dense woody regrowth are increasing in extent across Australia and around the world, and that raises many questions on how they should be managed. What's their value and should we leave them alone or actively thin them?

Dense woody regrowth commonly pops up on cleared land where there has been some change in land us...

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Perversity in the pasture

Guarding against new pasture varieties becoming tomorrow's environmental disasters

Hundreds of the invasive plant species that now inflict major environmental and economic damage in Australia were originally developed and distributed as pasture species. What a perverse outcome. What's worse, we don't seem to have learnt from these mistakes.

Consider African lovegrass. It was used to 'improve pa...

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Adapting conservation goals to global change

Untangling the pretzel logic of conservation?

Conservation goals at the start of the 21st century reflect a combination of contrasting ideas. 'Ideal nature' is something that is historically intact, but at the same time, futuristically flexible. Ideal nature is independent from humans, but also, because of the pervasiveness of human impacts, only able to reach expression, or maintain itself, t...

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Of nets, fisher rights and net benefits

Enforcement and marine management: maximising conservation & economic value

One of the biggest threats to the sustainability of the world's oceans is the over-exploitation of marine resources. To manage this threat, which is largely a product of over-fishing and other extractive activities, governments restrict the activities that can occur in their marine areas. These restrictions include regu...

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A community's attitude toward their local endangered grassland

Understanding the mechanisms for change in environmental attitudes and behaviours is key to ensuring conservation in human dominated landscapes.

A new collaboration between CEED researcher Georgia Garrard (pictured) and researchers at Victoria University, looking at the influence of environmental education and engagement on environmental attitudes and behaviour, led to a community event centred...

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Imperfect detection and literary allusions

Species are often hard to detect in ecological surveys. They might hide from searchers – think of a frog hidden high in a tree. Or seeds of a plant might be present, yet the adult plants themselves might be absent until the seeds germinate. Or for migratory species, individuals might only be present at a site for a short period. How can we be sure that a species is truly, and permanently, absen...

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Halting cane toad invasion in WA by putting barriers around dams

Cane toads have reached the Kimberley and there is no sign that their march of conquest is finished. Their remorseless advance across the Top End makes it seem they are invincible, but CEED researchers Reid Tingley and Darren Southwell believe that the species has an Achilles heel.

Cane toads are a tough, fast, adaptive species with glands that can secrete a cocktail of toxins lethal to native ...

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Prioritising reforestation efforts in Indonesia

In 2012, Indonesia broke the record for tropical forest clearing. Stories of the haze from burning forest and peatland blanketing South East Asia are common, and awareness of the economic and health hazards that this creates is growing.

Over 63 percent (82.9 million hectares) of Indonesia’s Forest Estate is currently deforested or degraded and many iconic species such as orangutans and probosc...

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Burning questions for endangered black cockatoos

The gregarious Carnaby’s cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) is such a common sight in Perth that it is easy to forget they are endangered and that the urban and agricultural expansion of south-western Australia has removed the bulk of their habitat. How we manage their remaining habitat will have important consequences for the species’ survival.

South-western Australia is a global biodivers...

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When to put all your bilbies in the same basket

Australia’s shy endangered marsupials will have a far better chance of surviving deadly predation by feral cats and foxes if they are kept in several protected areas instead of a single large area, scientists say.

Fences are a key strategy in the conservation of threatened native species, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. But what do you do if your fence is too successful? 

Australia h...

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