People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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The ecological benefits and economic costs of protected areas


Thursday, July 20th 12:00 to 13:00 hrs

Building 19, Room 106, JCU Townsville Campus
Paul Armsworth
Paul Armsworth

Abstract. Protected areas provide a corner-stone in efforts to conserve biodiversity in the face of ongoing habitat loss and degradation. Existing protected area networks need to be greatly expanded if we are to meet species and habitat conservation goals. However, available funding to support the establishment of protected areas is limited and it is imperative that funds are targeted in ways that provide the greatest conservation gain per dollar invested. To do so, conservation organizations need to consider both the economic costs and the ecological benefits of protecting land. Using a case study of areas protected to conserve forested ecosystems in the US by The Nature Conservancy, I examine how considering costs and benefits of protected areas together changes recommendations regarding what locations should be prioritized for protection and how protected areas should be designed. I also show how recommendations one would arrive at regarding protected area design depend on the “quality” of cost and benefit data used and the particular choice of conservation target. Finally, I outline ways that the science behind conservation planning can become more relevant to the practice of land protection moving forward.

Biography. Paul Armsworth (web.utk.edu/~parmsworp.armsworth@utk.edu) is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he is also affiliated with the National Science Foundation’s National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. A modeler by training, Paul has worked on numerous topics in conservation science. He has a particular emphasis on how ecology and economics can be combined to make more effective conservation decisions.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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