Research Themes

ICON Science takes an interdisciplinary approach to the complex problem of local and global biodiversity loss. We work across many different fields, from urban ecology to the social sciences. While our work is quite varied, our current research focuses primarily around the following themes.

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Nature in Cities

Urban biodiversity weaves through the fragmented landscapes of our towns and cities. Biodiversity is inherently important and a key contributor to human and environmental health. Yet urbanisation is a major driver of biodiversity loss. At ICON Science we work toward building a better understanding of urban socio-ecosystems, their dynamics, and opportunities to improve their health.


Communicating and changing human behaviour for biodiversity conservation

To be most effective, conservation decisions need to consider people’s values, attitudes and behaviours. We are therefore interested in understanding these human elements of biodiversity conservation in order to inform public and stakeholder engagement strategies.


Resource allocation and decision-making

The goal of environmental decision science is to drive more efficient environmental management, for example, determining how to best distribute finite environmental budgets to most cost effectively reduce biodiversity loss. The discipline of environmental decision science has matured rapidly over the past decade, with Australia establishing global leadership, through the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and other centres.


Policy evaluation and biodiversity offsetting

Human activity is one of the main drivers of biodiversity and ecosystems decline. Policy instruments such as environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment aim to manage human impact on the environment, while interventions like protected areas and biodiversity offsets seek to contribute to biodiversity conservation.


Private land conservation

Conserving species and ecosystems on private land is increasingly recognised as important not only for its ecological benefits, but also for economic and social reasons. The key to private land conservation is motivating and enabling private landholders to get involved in conservation activities, and keeping them involved over time, in ways that benefit nature.