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Jim Radford Principal Research Fellow, Ecology, Environment & Evolution

Jim is the Principal Research Fellow in the La Trobe Research Centre for Future Landscapes. The Research Centre aims to find solutions and develop next-generation tools to address the global challenge of sustaining natural ecosystems and biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes under climate change.

With colleagues from La Trobe, other universities, government and industry, Jim is undertaking research into the outcomes of landscape change on ecological communities and native wildlife, practices to increase the ecological and social sustainability of farming, integrating nature conservation into landscape design and management, and approaches to improve biodiversity monitoring at broad spatial and temporal scales.

Jim completed his PhD on the breeding biology and conservation ecology of the White-browed Treecreeper at Deakin University in 2002. Since then, Jim's research has focused on:

(1) Development of ‘whole-of-landscape’ approaches to analysing and interpreting relationships between native fauna and changes in their environment. In association with Prof Andrew Bennett, Jim argues that effective biodiversity conservation requires understanding and inference at a landscape scale. The consequence of this is that the ‘landscape’ becomes the unit of study and replication.

(2) Identification and evaluation of ecological thresholds. Jim's research into ecological thresholds has contributed to the development of thresholds as a management tool for biodiversity conservation.

(3) Integrating science into conservation management. During Jim's time in the not-for-profit conservation sector (2008-2016), Jim made a concerted effort to increase scientific literacy in the sector and to incorporate science into ‘business as usual’. This resulted in evidence-based reports on the ecological outcomes of investment for donors and supporters, development of an ‘ecological scorecard’ for reserves (see https://www.bushheritage.org.au/what-we-do/science/scorecards) and embedding evidence-based decision-making into management.

(4) Improving monitoring design and implementation. Long-term monitoring at an appropriate spatial scale is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation management actions or to quantify the impact of land-use changes on the natural environment. Jim has a keen interest in improving the way we monitor and ensuring monitoring results are incorporated into an adaptive management cycle.

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