7 December 2009

Dr Kerrie Wilson from The Ecology Centre at UQ is attending climate change negotiations in Copenhagen this week.

Dr Wilson will present research outcomes to provide guidance on how climate change policy can also preserve biodiversity for future generations.

Following the climate change meeting negotiations, Dr Wilson has accepted a prestigious European Commission Award to undertake collaborative research at the University of Copenhagen for three months.

Climate change has implications across the globe and the Copenhagen negotiations may represent the finale of global negotiations that have extended over several years.

Dr Wilson is particularly interested in proposals and mechanisms to reduce the release of greenhouse gases by providing motivation for forest protection and management.

“Our research has proven that it is practical to achieve the twin objectives of conserving biodiversity and reducing the release of greenhouse gases in a cost-effective manner, but this can only occur through carefully incorporated planning,” Dr Wilson said.

Dr Wilson’s research has established that the development of carbon markets is important to counter climate change and protect biodiversity. However, to achieve this, Copenhagen delegates need to ensure they do not focus on carbon alone.

“The global conservation community desperately needs expert guidance on the impact of emerging carbon markets on biodiversity conservation. Our collaborations with Greenpeace and The Nature Conservancy in Indonesia are just two examples of the interest in our research,” she said.

Dr Wilson is also investigating the consequences of climate change for species extinction and ways to incorporate this information into planning for national parks and reserves.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that isolated protected areas of forest will be inadequate for protecting species as the climate changes. We are identifying and testing strategies that will maximise the protection of species across the entire landscape, regardless of whether it is formally protected.”

Dr Wilson’s research was published in the prestigious journal Science this week to specifically coincide with the climate change negotiations.

Brief bio of Dr Wilson
Dr Kerrie Wilson holds a degree in Environmental Science from The University of Queensland (University Medallist, 1999). She obtained a DPhil in ecology from the University of Melbourne in 2004. Dr Wilson has authored approximately 50 scientific publications (including publications in Science and Nature) and one edited book. In 2009 she was awarded an Australian Leadership Award and an European Erasmus Mundus Fellowship. Dr Wilson has previously held leadership positions with non-government organisations including Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy Australia. Her research into the socio-economic aspects of conservation involves collaborations with national and international government and non-government organisations.

Media: Dr Kerrie Wilson (k.wilson2@uq.edu.au, +45-35-331-855 Copenhagen) or Tracey Franchi, School of Biological Sciences Communications Manager (+61-7-3365-4831).