303. Postdoctoral Research Fellow position available

I was lucky enough to be part of a team that won a grant in the latest round of ARC Discovery grants. We’re looking for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the project.

The project is led by Eve McDonald Madden at the University of Queensland, and is called “Global extent of degraded farm lands and their conservation potential”. The brief summary from the funding proposal is as follow:

Globally the area of agricultural land is shrinking due to environmental degradation, market changes and social trends. In the last 15 years Australia has experienced a steep decline in total pasture lands. Restoration of degraded lands no longer used for agriculture may present a major conservation opportunity. Although expensive, restoring these areas should involve minimal social or political opposition and offer new economic opportunities and help mitigate climate change. This Project aims to map uncontested lands worldwide and assess their potential contribution to global conservation. The outcome will identify the extent and location of uncontested lands and provide a framework for deciding how best to invest in their regeneration.

I’m really looking forward to this project. I hadn’t really be aware of abandoned agricultural land until a visit to Estonia in 2006, when I saw some areas that were rapidly reverting from agriculture to forest. It turns out that there is quite a bit of this sort of thing around the world. For example, over the past 15 years, total global pasture area has declined by 62 million hectares, with only a small amount of this land being used for other agricultural purposes. It seems possible that these areas could contribute to nature conservation goals at low opportunity cost. That’s what we are going to explore, anyway.

It’s a terrific research team. Eve is just wonderful, and we’ve also got Richard Hobbs (from UWA) and Eddie Game (from The Nature Conservancy).

The job details are here:

Applicants should possess a PhD in the area of remote sensing, GIS, economics, ecology modelling or a closely related discipline.