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Speaker: Dr Hugh Possingham, Professor of Ecology, University of Queensland/Chair of Conservation Decisions, Imperial College London
Aside from his day job, Hugh has a variety of broader public roles advising policy makers and managers by sitting on 9 committees and boards outside the University including: The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists (founding member), Founding Editor of Conservation Letters (an international scientific journal), Council of the Australian Academy of Science (recently stepped down), and several Environmental NGO scientific advisory committees. He and Dr Barry Traill wrote “The Brigalow Declaration”, used by Premier Beattie to stop land clearing in Queensland thereby securing at least 2 billion tonnes of CO2 and saving an area the size of Portugal from conversion into farmland. However with a new Queensland government this success is under threat.
The Possingham lab developed the most widely used conservation planning software in the world. Marxan www.ecology.uq.edu.au/marxan.htm was used to underpin the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef and is currently used in over 100 countries by over 3000 users – from the UK and USA to Madagascar and Brazil – to build the world’s marine and terrestrial landscape plans. Most recently Marxan was used to develop the biggest marine reserve system in the world – Australia’s federal marine reserve system. Hugh coauthored two scientific consensus statements that supported Australia’s new marine reserve system that is a quarter the size of Europe. Many governments and ENGOs use his lab’s work for the allocation of funding to threatened species recovery and solving other conservation conundrums.