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Sean Maxwell

Postdoctoral Researcher

Much of my motivation for working on conservation problems comes from growing up on a dairy farm in Victoria, where I was free to bush walk and spot wildlife, but could also witness how land management influences the environment. Since completing my undergraduate degree, I have become increasingly interested in how conservation science can influence protected area gazettement, threatened species management and environmental policy.


My honours project aimed to improve the cost-effectiveness of koala management in south-east Queensland. It involved using value of information analysis to evaluate the financial benefits of resolving uncertainty about koala behavior in the region, before implementing a management strategy.


I worked on a diverse set of projects after completing honours, including modelling perverse outcomes of species reintroduction, projecting how future land use in north Queensland could influence the health of the Great Barrier Reef, and identifying principals of effective island management in the Pacific.


I am now a PhD candidate looking at how dynamic human behavior can influence the effectiveness of conservation interventions. My first chapter provides a conservation planning framework for the risks and opportunities associated with human responses to climate change. My second chapter explores how considering human responses to conservation actions before implementing them may improve the effectiveness of wildebeest management in the Serengeti. The third chapter looks at how changing social and economic factors may drive patterns of forest loss inside protected areas.


My career goal is to help deliver robust conservation policy and management plans for threatened ecosystems across Australia.

Research links:

Google Scholar profile


✉ smaxwell [at]

Room 323, Steele Building

Green Fire Science

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