Richard Fuller is a lecturer in biodiversity and conservation at the University of Queensland. After gaining his PhD from the University of Durham in 2004, he worked at the University of Sheffield as a postdoc in Kevin Gaston’s Biodiversity and Macroecology group. He then moved to Hugh Possingham’s Spatial Ecology Lab at the University of Queensland in 2008, before forming his own research group at the beginning of 2010. Richard studies how people have affected the natural world around them, and how some of their destructive effects can best be reversed. On the flip side, he is also keen to understand whether and how people can benefit positively from experiences of biodiversity.
Conservation biologists rarely study people. This is odd, because the global environmental crisis results from human activity, and people are therefore key to solving it. There is increasing evidence from environmental psychology that human well-being increases with exposure to local biodiversity. Yet opportunities for people to experience nature are declining rapidly in the modern world, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the way people value nature, and how they act as a consequence. This points to many intriguing, but understudied, feedbacks between human values toward nature, and the extent to which people support conservation. In this seminar I will explore some of the ways in which people have affected the natural world around them, how some of these destructive effects can best be reversed, and how people benefits from experiences of nature. Among other case studies, I will show some results about permeability across protected area borders in the Indian Subcontinent, and a cost-effectiveness analysis of Australia’s protected areas. In today’s crowded planet, separating people and biodiversity (both literally and figuratively) is no longer an option.