Abstract: Models investigating the effects of climate change and human-led land-use change on biodiversity have arrived at alarming conclusions, with the worst case scenarios suggesting extinction rates at such a level as to constitute a sixth mass extinction event in the earth’s history. Reducing the rate of decline will require a commitment to place-based adaptive management strategies which actively engage local communities across a range of representations in conservation planning. In this presentation, I will explore concepts, methods and applications directed towards effectively engaging local communities in conservation planning in an era of rapid environmental change. The presentation is separated into four broad areas: 1) engaging stakeholders and policy makers in conservation planning using Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS) techniques; 2) conceptual and empirical frameworks for understanding human-environment relationships, including the measurement of place attachment; 3) the barriers and opportunities to adapting to environmental change, drawing upon knowledge integration, social learning, resilience and community capacity theories, and; 4) the social variables associated with conservation opportunity, including the measurement of pro-environmental behaviour. I will conclude by discussing future research directions related to each of these four areas, and their linkages to established programs within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
Christopher Raymond is an applicant for a Reef Research Leader position at JCU in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. During his undergraduate degree Christopher worked part-time as a Wetlands Officer for the District Council of Mount Barker and then following his Honours degree as a Project Officer for Natural Resources Management Social Applications in the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation, SA (2005-2008). Whilst working for government he established his own environmental consultancy firm, Enviroconnect. The success of this business and as a young entrepreneur was marked by the award of the title of South Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. He then returned to university and completed a PhD in 2011 at the University of South Australia (UniSA) where he examined the socio-psychological factors driving conservation of native vegetation on farms in South Australia. Since completing his PhD, Christopher has held various positions. These have included teaching part-time at UniSA whilst employed as a Post-Doctoral researcher for the University of Adelaide; working as a Research Fellow on two National Environmental Research Program, Landscape and Policy Hub projects managed at Charles Sturt University and the University of Tasmania, and; currently as an Assistant Professor on a European Union funded project at the University of Copenhagen.