Keynote speakers


Bruce Pascoe

Published and Edited Australian Short Stories magazine1982-1999, winner Prime Minister’s Literature Award for Young Adult fiction (Fog, a dox) 2013 Australian Literature Award 1999, Radio National Short Story 1998, FAW Short Story 2010. Books include: Night Animals, Shark, Ocean, Bloke, Cape Otway, Convincing Ground, Little Red Yellow and Black Book. Bunurong/Tasmanian heritage. Board member of Aboriginal Corporation for Languages. Lives in East Gippsland. His latest novels are, Bloke, published by Penguin in 2009,  Chainsaw File, Oxford 2010, Fog, Magabala 2012 and Mrs Whitlam, Magabala 2016.   Dark Emu, a history of Aboriginal agriculture was published by Magabala in 2014 and has been shortlisted in the Queensland, Victorian and New South Wales Premiers’ Awards. His film, Black Chook was filmed in 2015 and starred Brendan Cowell, Jack Davis and Lynette Curran.



David Lindenmayer

Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU College of Science

Professor Lindenmayer, is an Australian scientist and academic. He is an expert in landscape ecology, conservation and biodiversity. His areas of expertise also include environmental management, forestry management and environment, terrestrial ecology, wildlife and habitat management, environmental monitoring, forestry fire management, natural resource management, zoology and forestry sciences. He currently runs 6 large-scale, long-term research programs in south-eastern Australia, primarily associated with developing ways to conserve biodiversity in reserves, national parks, wood production forests, plantations, and on farm land.

A Professor of Ecology and Conservation Biology at The Australian National University's Fenner School of Environment and Society, he has published more than 1100 scientific articles including over 700 peer-reviewed scientific papers and 45 books on a wide range of topics associated with forestry, woodlands, wildlife and biodiversity conservation and ecologically sustainable natural resource management. His areas of expertise also include environmental management, forestry management and environment, terrestrial ecology, wildlife and habitat management, environmental monitoring, forestry fire management, natural resource management, zoology and forestry sciences, with a particular focus on the endangered Leadbeater's possum. His work on wildlife conservation and biodiversity has, for many years, led world research in this area. Lindenmayer's conservation and biodiversity research has been recognised through numerous awards, including the Eureka Science Prize (twice), Whitley Award (seven times), the Serventy Medal for Ornithology. and the Australian Natural History Medallion. He is an Australian Research Council Laureate, a member of the Australian Academy of Science and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia "for distinguished service to conservation and the environment in the field of landscape ecology, to tertiary education, and to professional organisations".


Fangyuan Hua

Newton International Fellow, Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Dr Fangyuan Hua is a field ecologist and conservation scientist. Dr Hua's research directions are unified under the theme of global change ecology in relation to biodiversity conservation where she aims to understand how ecological populations, communities, and interactions respond to anthropogenic impacts, and what policy and socioeconomic opportunities exist to mitigate such impacts.

Between 2013 and 2016, Dr Hua was a postdoctoral research associate with Professor David Wilcove at Princeton University and is currently a Newton International Fellow funded by the British Royal Society, working with Professor Andrew Balmford and the Conservation Science Group at the University of Cambridge, and Professor Jianchu Xu at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Dr Hua's research on opportunities for biodiversity gains under China's Grain-for-Green Program - the largest reforestation programme in the world - constitutes a powerful example of the challenges and opportunities faced by biodiversity during large-scale ecological restoration efforts, particularly when such efforts are driven by the pursuit of a small number of ecosystem services. Her research findings provide significant insights into the biodiversity implications of this massive reforestation program and the socioeconomic feasibilities of better biodiversity outcomes.  Combining policy analysis, Dr. Hua's research in turn provides concrete policy recommendations for China's efforts of forest landscape restoration to achieve more positive biodiversity impacts.


Gerry Turpin

Ethnobotanist and manager of the Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre

Gerry is a Mbabaram man from north Qld and been employed by the Queensland State Government for about 30 years. Gerry has previously been involved in the Queensland Herbarium’s Vegetation Surveys and Regional Ecosystem Mapping Project in Queensland. He currently manages the Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre at the Australian Tropical Herbarium, in partnership with James Cook University, Dept. of Science and CSIRO, and has worked with many Traditional Owner groups on Cape York and other parts of Queensland. As an Indigenous ethnobotanist Gerry has a strong cultural commitment to facilitating effective partnerships that support Indigenous communities to protect, manage and maintain their cultural knowledge on the use of plants. Gerry is a member of the Ecological Society of Australia Board of Directors with the role of Indigenous Engagement, and a member of the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub Indigenous Reference Group. In 2013, Gerry took out the first ever science award at the 2013 National Indigenous Deadly Awards for best scientist or science Project of the Year category.

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Dr. Jakki Mohr

Dr. Jakki Mohr is the Regents Professor of Marketing, the Poe Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow, and Fellow, Institute on Ecosystems, at the University of Montana. She received her Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the University of Montana in 1997, Mohr was an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Jakki studies challenges companies face in developing and commercializing break-through innovations, including a broad range of technologies ranging from scientific innovations to innovations in restoration and ecology. She served on the National Academies of Sciences Committee to overcome barriers to electric vehicle deployment in the United States (2012-2015). 

An innovator in the field of marketing high-technology products and services, Mohr has achieved international acclaim for Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations (2010, 3rd edition, with Sanjit Sengupta and Stanley Slater), used by colleges and universities worldwide (translated into three languages) as well as by managers for executive training sessions. In addition, her book has resulted in invitations to guest-teach universities around the world, including ORT University (as a Fulbright Specialist) in Montevideo, Uruguay, Chile, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, India, France, and Italy and to conduct executive education at companies both large and small.

Her recent research is situated at the intersection of the natural world and business.  For example, she studies the business of restoration, how companies use biomimicry (innovations inspired by nature, based on underlying biological mechanisms) to solve technical and engineering challenges, and business impacts on nature.  Her early research focused on organizational communication between partners in strategic alliances/ partnerships in distribution channels.

Mohr's research has received national awards, and has appeared in Restoration Ecology, the Journal of Marketing, the Strategic Management Journal, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, the Journal of Product and Innovation Management, the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, among others. She has also received numerous teaching awards. 

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Kerrie Wilson

Professor Kerrie Wilson is an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Queensland (UQ), Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, and an Affiliated Professor in Conservation Science at The University of Copenhagen. Kerrie holds a degree in Environmental Science (First Class Honours) from UQ and a Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Melbourne in 2004 undertaken in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre located in Cambridge. Kerrie has a particular interest in applied conservation resource allocation problems, such as where to invest limited resources to protect or restore biodiversity and the role of ecosystem services in achieving conservation goals. Her research has been published in high impact journals such as Nature and Science.

Professor Wilson has had leading roles in several large collaborative projects within Australia and internationally. As examples, she has collaborated with The Nature Conservancy to develop a research program for optimising the allocation of expenditure and efforts to Reduce Emissions through Avoided Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and a US-based private firm (the Irvine Ranch Conservancy) has sought her expertise to develop a US$14 million restoration prioritisation plan for a private national park in the Los Angeles Basin. Professor Wilson has also led ARC Linkage projects on the topic of restoration involving three of Australia’s largest non-government conservation organisations and local councils as Linkage Partners. Since 2010 Professor Wilson has been the UQ lead scientist of the Borneo Futures Research Initiative, a collaboration of ~250 researchers from 70 institutions from around the world working in genuine partnership with scientists, global institutions and organisations, governments, non-governmental organisations, and industry. Her disciplinary leadership is evidenced by roles on the (international) IUCN Save our Species Science Committee, the Ecosystem Services Partnership Steering Committee, the Independent Expert Panel of the Reef 2050 plan and the Natural Sciences representative for the Australian National Commission of UNESCO.


Linda Bell

Linda Bell is the Manager of Threatened species conservation at the Office of Environment and Heritage in NSW. As manager of the Saving our Species (SoS) program Linda oversees the allocation and management of $100 million over 5 years. Saving our Species is an innovative conservation program in NSW. It aims to halt the growing numbers of Australian animals and plants facing extinction. This program aims to secure as many threatened species that can be secured in the wild as possible, for the next 100 years. The program extends to threatened ecological communities and how to strategically focus threat abatement.

One of the NSW Government’s most innovative programs, Saving our Species sets a clear management framework to prioritise between species. Sustainability projects such as this are collaborative efforts, so the program invites participation from the NSW community and businesses, including research organisations, schools, landholders, government agencies, local conservation groups and more.


Maksym Polyakov

Maksym Polyakov is an applied economist whose interests focus on the integration of ecology and economics to better understand the choices humans make regarding natural resources and consequences of these choices for the environment. He is trained as a forester in Ukraine and received a PhD in applied economics from Auburn University, USA. Maksym is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy, the University of Western Australia. His research focuses on the economics of conservation, bioeconomic modelling, urban forestry, and land use change. He is involved with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions where he have been leading a program of research on economically optimal strategies for restoration of degraded native vegetation. Maksym is a member of editorial board of Restoration Ecology, responsible for social science submissions.


Paul Gibson-Roy

Greening Australia’s Lead Scientist

Dr Paul Gibson-Roy is a restoration ecologist specializing in the conservation and maintenance of species-rich grasslands and grassy woodlands.

As an ecologist and researcher Dr Gibson-Roy has focused on the restoration of complex, biodiverse grasslands and grassy woodlands since 1998. In 2004 he joined Greening Australia, instigating the Grassy Groundcover Research Project as a partnership between Greening Australia and Melbourne University. Paul headed the Victorian Grassy Groundcover Research Project team until heading to NSW in 2011, during which time the project developed industry-first methods for reconstructing species-rich native grasslands and grassy woodlands.


Paul now leads the Sydney Grassy Groundcover Research Project team which is focussed on restoring the EPBC listed Cumberland Plain Grassy Woodland to Sydney’s West where in the past four years they have seeded 47 ha. They are also developing what is currently Greening Australia’s largest seed production facility, growing native wildflowers and grasses on a 5 ha footprint at the Western Sydney University Richmond campus.In 2016 he toured the US to investigate firsthand the native seed production and prairie restoration sectors.



Professor Bruce Clarkson

Professor Bruce Clarkson is a restoration ecologist interested in habitat restoration to bring indigenous nature back into cities based at the University of Waikato in Hamilton New Zealand. He leads a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funded research programme: People, Cities and Nature: restoring indigenous nature in urban environments (  In 2016 he received the Royal Society of New Zealand Charles Fleming medal for environmental achievement for his efforts to advance and communicate understanding of native plant ecology and vegetation pattern and process, inform conservation efforts in terrestrial, freshwater and urban environments, and support effective on-the-ground restoration practice. He is a board member of the Australasian chapter of the International Society for Ecological Restoration, on the Governance Group for the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge and is ambassador for the New Zealand's Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.


Linda Broadhurst

Director Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBBR) and Director Australian National Herbarium (ANH) at CSIRO National Research Collection Australia


Dr Linda Broadhurst has been working at CSIRO since 2000 after completing her PhD at Curtin University of Technology in Perth following by a short Post-doctoral position with the then Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM). Her research is primarily focussed on conserving and restoring the long term prospects of Australia’s unique floral biodiversity. Her most recent research is assisting NRMs and NGOs establish good seed sourcing and production practices to help restored populations respond to changing environments. Dr Broadhurst continues to publish in national and international peer-reviewed journals more than 40 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters as well as numerous reports and plain language information sheets. She has also been an Associated Editor with Australian Journal of Botany since 2009.


Tein McDonald

Tein’s  professional involvement in ecological restoration over the past 35 years has been as a bush regenerator, technical officer, TAFE teacher, mentor and planner. For the last couple of decades Tein has  worked as Editor in Chief of the journal Ecological Management & Restoration, the management-oriented journal of the Ecological Society of Australia.  More recently Tein has led the SERA project to develop the National Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration in Australia. For this project SERA brought together 12 other Australian NGOs working to make a difference in on-ground restoration of indigenous ecosystems.  The result is an online document that draws on both restoration theory and practice to encourage best practice in ecological restoration and provide a framework for all efforts to improve the condition of ecosystems.  Tein is currently President of the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators and has served on the board of SERA since its inception.

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Sarah Frias-Torres

Coral Reef Conservation and Restoration Specialist at Vulcan Inc, Seattle, and Research Collaborator for the Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce, USA

Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres is the Coral Reef Conservation and Restoration Specialist at Vulcan Inc, Seattle, WA, and a Research Collaborator for the Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce, FL, USA. She does research in how coral reefs and marine megafauna can recover from overfishing and survive global climate change. Dr. Frias-Torres has led large-scale coral reef restoration projects in Seychelles, Indian Ocean, and coral reef, mangrove and megafish conservation projects in Florida and the Caribbean Sea. She is a Fulbright Fellow, and a former Schmidt Ocean Institute Research Fellow, and U.S. National Academy of Sciences Postdoc Fellow. She has worked at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-Kennedy Space Center, and has been a consultant for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

Dr. Frias-Torres is committed to science communication and outreach using art, social media, documentary filmmaking and broadcast media (TV, radio).



Daniel C. Laughlin


Department of Botany, University of Wyoming


Daniel is an Associate Professor of Plant Ecology at the University of Wyoming. Before recently moving back to the USA, he spent 6 years as a professor at the University in Waikato, where he continues to collaborate on restoration projects such as the New Zealand government funded project “People, Cities and Nature: restoring indigenous nature in urban environments” ( Daniel’s research group ( integrates ecophysiology and community ecology to predict population dynamics and restore wild landscapes. He develops predictive models of community assembly that integrate trait-based environmental filtering and species interactions, and is currently interested in identifying functional traits that predict plant population dynamics and fitness. He has been actively involved in studying the restoration of prairies, wetlands, shrublands, montane forests, and temperate rainforests around the world, and is currently developing quantitative frameworks for generating trait-based assemblages to meet functional objectives in restoration. Daniel has served as an Associate Editor for the journal Ecology and Ecological Monographs since 2012.  He currently lives in Laramie, Wyoming, on the front range of the Rocky Mountains where he spends all his free time wandering through prairies, forests, and alpine meadows identifying a bewildering variety of forbs and grasses and collecting their seeds for propagation.