Conservation funds are limited and we do not have enough money to save all species and ecosystems. Unfortunately most conservation organisations ignore cost and feasibility – we have changed this by taking an economic approach to solving conservation problems.

India and Australia are both megadiverse countries – the small number of countries that contain most of the world's biodiversity. The region from India to Australia is the most biodiverse in the world for both marine and terrestrial species. In a recent paper in Nature it was revealed that we require only US$4billion per annum to secure all vertebrate and vascular plant species. Unfortunately this investment seems a long way away. Our research centres have devised a number of tools and approaches to maximising the return on investment form conservation actions. This includes development of software ( to design efficient systems of protected areas and an economic approach to maximising species recovery for a fixed budget. They are just two of the many ways we have used decision science to formulate and solve nature conservation problems.


Professor Hugh Possingham
Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Ecology, The University of Queensland
Director, The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions
Director, The National Environmental Research Program Hub 

Aside from his day job, Hugh has a variety of broader public roles advising policy makers and managers sitting on 16 committees and boards outside the University including: The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists (founding member), Queensland Smart State Council, Chief Editor of Conservation Letters (an international scientific journal, Council of the Australian Academy of Science, and ENGO scientific advisory committee. He and Dr Barry Traill wrote “The Brigalow Declaration”, used by Premier Beattie to stop land clearing in Queensland thereby securing at least 1 billion tonnes of CO2. The Possingham lab developed the most widely used conservation planning software in the world. Marxan was used to underpin the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef and is currently used in over 100 countries by over 2500 users, from the UK to Brazil. Hugh has coauthored over 300 refereed publications covered by the Web of Science (21 in Science, Nature or PNAS) and has 7500 Web of Science citations. He currently directs two research centres, each of $15 million, and he has supervised (or is supervising) 51 PhD students and 32 postdoctoral fellows.


About Global Leadership Series

The Global Leadership Series (GLS) is a lively program of events for alumni and community members. Join us for lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.

The series is an opportunity for you to engage with great minds on global matters, participate in thought-provoking discussions and network with UQ alumni and community members. All alumni, parents, community members and friends are welcome to attend the Global Leadership Series events.

Listen to podcasts of previous GLS events click here


New Delhi, India