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Ms Colleen Corrigan

Research topic: Social and Ecological Measures of Conservation Effectiveness and Multiple Scales.

My project has three key components focused on strengthening effective conservation impact: (1) developing an evidence base for community-driven conservation practices, (2) using species and other data sources to identify key conservation areas in the marine environment, and (3) the exploration of conservation leadership as a means to strengthen environmental protection through human empowerment.

While Indigenous and local community management of natural resources provides some benefits for biodiversity conservation and human well-being, the measures of these benefits are somewhat mismatched with national and international indicators. Furthermore, these services are not clearly articulated or communicated in such a way that informs conservation decisions, and implementation of supportive policies, or existence of these policies, may be lacking or highly variable at national levels. Various methods exist for assessing a range of social and ecological benefits but it’s not yet clear what are the best practices, methods, and indicators associated with protected areas social assessments, nor how these relate to and integrate with biodiversity assessments. While some studies do exist, further research is required to understand the relationship between these benefits, how they are best measured by both local and government standards, how Indigenous management of protected areas contributes to biodiversity at local, national and global levels, and how the benefits of this type of management hold positive social outcomes for communities. In this project, the results of case studies in Australia and around the world will provide evidence of the impacts of locally-led conservation practices and the policies and/or practices that can enable shared governance of protected areas while reaching social and ecological goals, such as CBD Aichi Targets, at multiple scales.

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PhD candidate
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