Environmental Policy & Management

📸 Luisa Fontoura

Our goal is to improve the effectiveness of policy, environmental, and conservation management systems. Working with stakeholders, we use science to inform biodiversity conservation and management. These include recommending conservation measures and other innovative management solutions to provide more efficient and balanced advice to policymakers, managers and planners.  We apply spatial tools to inform conservation prioritisation and action in biodiversity hotspots, and work on a variety of governance issues, including transboundary conservation and management. We also actively engage stakeholders and build their capacity to strengthen the science-to-policy transfer and interface.  


An assessment of global tree inventory completeness at an ecoregional scale

📸 Vanessa Neo

Trees are amongst the most widespread organisms on Earth – providing numerous ecosystem services for humans and supporting a diversity of organisms on land. Additionally, conservation and management of forests are key activities which will help mitigate the effects of climate change and restore various degraded ecosystems. Effective tree conservation relies on our understanding of tree diversity and distribution patterns, but such a fundamental knowledge of species richness and inventory completeness for trees is still lacking. In this study, we use a large dataset derived from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to identify knowledge gaps in tree biodiversity inventory at an ecoregional scale and determine lost and future sampling opportunities in under-sampled ecoregions. The outcomes of this study will help guide future sampling and management strategies for tree conservation. 

Researchers: Jariya Chanachai and Joseph Maina

Strengthening the WIO Marine Protected Area NetworkOngoing, 2020 –

📸 Vera Horigue

Researchers: Vera Horigue and Joseph Maina

Developing the Kenya-Tanzania marine transboundary conservation area — Ongoing, 2020-2024

📸 Vera Horigue

Researchers: Vera Horigue and Joseph Maina

Political economy and institutional effectiveness of coral reef restoration in the PhilippinesOngoing, 2021-2024

📸 Luisa Fontoura

Researchers: Vera Horigue

Regional Marine Spatial Planning Strategy for the Western Indian Ocean –Concluded and pending publications, 2020 – 2021

One of the mandates of the UNEP Nairobi Convention is to facilitate and encourage the use of marine spatial planning (MSP) to sustain the WIO’s blue economy. In keeping with this mandate and the outcomes of its projects, it was recognised that regional strategy was crucial to align and integrate spatial planning and management across the 10 countries in the WIO. Under the leadership of Nelson Mandela University, South Africa and the MSP Technical Working Group in the WIO, the strategy identified 11 objectives and the nine priorities that needs to be addressed to support MSP implementation. The framework is based on an ecosystem-based approach and also recommends the use of a systems thinking approach to tackle the objectives and strategic priorities. Currently, the technical reports are undergoing review and packaging with the UNEP Nairobi Convention Secretariat.

Researchers: Vera Horigue and Joseph Maina

Review and rezoning of the Quirimbas National Park, Mozambique –Concluded and pending publications, 2020 – 2021

The Quirimbas National Park (QNP) is located in Cabo Delgado province in Northern Mozambique. It’s a national park that was established for biodiversity conservation and to support rural development of local communities residing within the park. The park has undergone shifting management regimes and is under pressure from increasing human activities and threats (e.g., mining, swidden agriculture). In collaboration with WWF Mozambique, this work entailed a review and rezoning of the QNP to ensure that the conservation and management objectives are still achieved. Further work on the QNP has been affected due to the insurgency in Cabo Delgado and the COVID-19 pandemic, but publications on the review and rezoning process are being prepared.

Researchers: Vera Horigue and Joseph Maina

About Us

The Spatial Decisions Group is a multi-disciplinary research group based mostly in Macquarie University, Australia. We conduct applied research in collaboration with research institutions, conservation NGOs, development organisations, and governments to help develop solutions for both terrestrial and marine environmental problems in East Africa, the Philippines, and globally.

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