Research

My research interests fall broadly within the domains of environmental policy, governance and economics. I’m interested in understanding environmental problems from a socio-political perspective – including who are the actors, policies and institutions involved, how do they interact, and what are the implications for the environment and society.

Currently, I am funded by the Australian Research Council to investigate the effectiveness of impact investing for the maintenance of biodiversity and natural capital as part of a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

Most of my work to date has focused on biodiversity offsetting, including collaborative work that has informed Australian and international policy. 

I’ve published research on metrics, but my main interest now is in the governance of biodiversity offsetting, especially the contracting arrangements between offset buyers and sellers (i.e conditions of approval via environmental impact assessment processes). 

Another area of interest is carbon farming, aka land-based carbon offsetting. This is another market-like approach that, along with other policy instruments and sources of investment, has potential to reduce deforestation and incentive more sustainable land uses, especially in agricultural areas.

Mulga lands of western Queensland. Photo by Don Butler

Finally, much of my early research focused on spatial planning for biodiversity conservation. While I don’t publish much in this space currently, I maintain an active interest in this area and many of the tools and techniques I developed while doing this work continue to be useful for my research.

See the links below for more information and papers on topic.