William Laurance is a Distinguished Research Professor at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, and holds an Australian Laureate Fellowship, one of Australia’s highest scientific awards. He also holds the Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation at Utrecht University, Netherlands. 

Laurance received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.  His research focuses on the impacts of intensive land-uses, such as habitat fragmentation, logging, hunting and wildfires, on tropical forests and their biodiversity.  He is also interested in protected areas, climatic change, the impacts of roads and other infrastructure on biodiversity, and conservation policy.  His research over the past 35 years spans the tropical world, including the Amazon, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.  To date he has published eight books and over 400 scientific and popular articles. 

A leading voice for conservation, Laurance believes that scientists must actively engage policy makers and the general public, as well as other scientists.  He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former president of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. 

Laurance has received many scientific honors including the BBVA Frontiers in Ecology and Conservation Biology Award, a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, and the Heineken Environment Prize.  He is also founder and director of ALERT—the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers & Thinkers, a group that advocates for environmental sustainability.

Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
  • Collins C, Banks-Leite C, Brudvig L, Foster B, Cook W, Damschen E, Andrade A, Austin M, Camargo J, Driscoll D, Holt R, Laurance W, Nicholls A and Orrock J (2017) Fragmentation affects plant community composition over time. Ecography, 40 (1). pp. 119-130
  • Ewers R, Andrade A, Laurance S, Camargo J, Lovejoy T and Laurance W (2017) Predicted trajectories of tree community change in Amazonian rainforest fragments. Ecography, 40 (1). pp. 26-35
  • Sullivan M, Talbot J, Lewis S, Phillips O, Qie L, Begne S, Chave J, Cuni-Sanchez A, Habau W, López-González G, Miles L, Monteagudo-Mendoza A, Sonké B, Sunderland T, ter Steege H, White L, Affum-Baffoe K, Aiba S, Cristo de Almeida E, Almeida de Oliveira E, Alvarez-Loayza P, Álvarez Davilá E, Andrade A, Aragão L, Ashton P, Aymard C. G, Baker T, Balinga M, Banin L, Baraloto C, Bastin J, Berry N, Bogaert J, Bonal D, Bongers F, Brienen R, Camargo J, Cerón C, Moscoso V, Chezeaux E, Clark C, Pacheco Á, Comiskey J, Cornejo Valverde F, Honorio Coronado E, Dargie G, Davies S, de Canniere C, Djuikouo K. M, Doucet J, Erwin T, Espejo J, Ewango C, Fauset S, Feldspausch T, Herrera R, Gilpin M, Gloor E, Hall J, Harris D, Hart T, Kartawinata K, Khoon Kho L, Kitayama K, Laurance S, Laurance W, Leal M, Lovejoy T, Lovett J, Mpanya Lukasu F, Makana J, Malhi Y, Maracahipes L, Marimon B, Marimon Junior B, Marshall A, Morandi P, Muckendi J, Mukinzi J, Nilus R, Núñez Vargas P, Pallqui Camacho N, Pardo G, Peña-Claros M, Pétronelli P, Pickavance G, Poulsen A, Poulsen J, Primack R, Priyadi H, Quesada C, Reitsma J, Réjou-Méchain M, Restrepo Z, Rutishauser E, Abu Salim K, Salamão R, Samsoedin I, Sheil D, Sierra R, Silveira M, Slik J, Steel L, Taedoumg H, Tan S, Terborgh J, Thomas S, Toledo M, Umunay P, Valenzuela Gamarra L, Vieira I, Vos V, Wang O, Willcock S and Zemagho L (2017) Diversity and carbon storage across the tropical forest biome. Scientific Reports, 7. pp. 1-12
  • Alamgir M, Campbell M, Turton S, Pert P, Edwards W and Laurance W (2016) Degraded tropical rain forests possess valuable carbon storage opportunities in a complex, forested landscape. Scientific Reports, 6. pp. 1-10
  • Baker T, Díaz D, Moscoso V, Navarro G, Monteagudo A, Pinto R, Cangani K, Fyllas N, Lopez Gonzalez G, Laurance W, Lewis S, Lloyd J, ter Steege H, Terborgh J and Phillips O (2016) Consistent, small effects of treefall disturbances on the composition and diversity of four Amazonian forests. Journal of Ecology, 104 (2). pp. 497-506
  • Coelho de Souza F, Dexter K, Phillips O, Brienen R, Chave J, Galbraith D, López-gonzález G, Mendoza A, Pennington R, Poorter L, Alexiades M, Esteban Á, Andrade A, Aragão L, Araujo-Murakami A, Arets E, Aymard C. G, Baraloto C, Barroso J, Bonal D, Boot R, Camargo J, Comiskey J, Valverde F, de Camargo P, Di Fore A, Elias F, Erwin T, Feldpausch T, Ferreira L, Fyllas N, Gloor E, Herault B, Herrera R, Higuchi N, Honorio Coronado E, Killeen T, Laurance W, Laurance S, Lloyd J, Lovejoy T, Malhi Y, Maracahipes L, Marimon B, Marimon-Junior B, Mendoza C, Morandi P, Neill D, Núñez Vargas P, De Oliveira E, Lenza E, Palacios W, Peñuela-Mora M, Pipoly J, Pitman N, Prieto A, Quesada C, Ramírez-Angulo H, Rudas A, Ruokolainen K, Salomão R, Silveira M, Stropp J, ter Steege H, Thomas-Caesar R, van der Hout P, van der Heijden G, van der Meer P, Vásquez R, Vieira S, Vilanova E, Vos V, Wang O, Young K, Zagt R and Baker T (2016) Evolutionary heritage influences Amazon tree ecology. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 283. pp. 1-10
  • Feldpausch T, Phillips O, Brienen R, Gloor E, Lloyd J, López-gonzález G, Monteagudo-Mendoza A, Malhi Y, Alarcón A, Álvarez-Dávila E, Alvarez-Loayza P, Andrade A, Aragao L, Arroyo L, Aymard C. G, Baker T, Baraloto C, Barroso J, Bonal D, Castro W, Chama V, Chave J, Domingues T, Fauset S, Groot N, Honorio Coronado E, Laurance S, Laurance W, Lewis S, Licona J, Marimon B, Marimon-junior B, Mendoza Bautista C, Neill D, Oliveira E, Oliveira dos Santos C, Pallqui Camacho N, Pardo-Molina G, Prieto A, Quesada C, Ramírez F, Ramírez-Angulo H, Réjou-Méchain M, Rudas A, Saiz G, Salomão R, Silva-Espejo J, Silveira M, ter Steege H, Stropp J, Terborgh J, Thomas-Caesar R, van der Heijden G, Vásquez-Martinez R, Vilanova E and Vos V (2016) Amazon forest response to repeated droughts. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 30 (7). pp. 964-982
  • Johnson M, Galbraith D, Gloor M, De Deurwaerder H, Guimberteau M, Rammig A, Thonicke K, Verbeeck H, von Randow C, Monteagudo A, Phillips O, Brienen R, Feldpausch T, Lopez Gonzalez G, Fauset S, Quesada C, Christoffersen B, Ciais P, Sampaio G, Kruijt B, Meir P, Moorcroft P, Zhang K, Alvarez-Davila E, de Oliveira A, Amaral I, Andrade A, Aragao L, Araujo-Murakami A, Arets E, Arroyo L, Aymard G, Baraloto C, Barroso J, Bonal D, Boot R, Camargo J, Chave J, Cogollo A, Cornejo Valverde F, Lola da Costa A, Di Fiore A, Ferreira L, Higuchi N, Honorio E, Killeen T, Laurance S, Laurance W, Licona J, Lovejoy T, Malhi Y, Marimon B, Marimon Junior B, Matos D, Mendoza C, Neill D, Pardo G, Peña-Claros M, Pitman N, Poorter L, Prieto A, Ramirez-Angulo H, Roopsind A, Rudas A, Salomao R, Silveira M, Stropp J, ter Steege H, Terborgh J, Thomas R, Toledo M, Torres-Lezama A, van der Heijden G, Vásquez R, Guimarães Vieira I, Vilanova E, Vos V and Baker T (2016) Variation in stem mortality rates determines patterns of above-ground biomass in Amazonian forests: implications for dynamic global vegetation models. Global Change Biology, 22 (12). pp. 3996-4013
  • Katovai E, Sirikolo M, Srinivasan U, Edwards W and Laurance W (2016) Factors influencing tree diversity and compositional change across logged forests in the Solomon Islands. Forest Ecology and Management, 372. pp. 53-63
  • Lindenmayer D and Laurance W (2016) The unique challenges of conserving large old trees. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 31 (6). pp. 416-418
  • Magrach A, Senior R, Rogers A, Nurdin D, Benedick S, Laurance W, Santamaria L and Edwards D (2016) Selective logging in tropical forests decreases the robustness of liana–tree interaction networks to the loss of host tree species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 283. pp. 1-8
  • Velho N, Sreekar R and Laurance W (2016) Terrestrial species in protected areas and community-managed lands in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Land, 5 (35). pp. 1-11

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 275+ research outputs authored by Prof Bill Laurance from 1999 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Anonymous Donor - Grant

Limiting Environmental Impacts While Optimizing Benefits of Rapid Road Expansion in the Asia-Pacific Region

Indicative Funding
$2,728,362 over 4 years
We will assess the impacts of roads and other infrastructure on terrestrial ecosystems of the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on rapidly developing frontier areas in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Key goals will include devising land-use planning models to reduce environmental costs, maximise economic benefits, and predict the impacts of new roads and infrastructure on the environment. We will work actively with local partners and stakeholders, and engage in a variety of outreach and dissemination activities, to promote more sustainable infrastructure development in our environmentally critical study area.
Bill Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Infrastructure; Deforestation; Roads; Asia-Pacific Region; Agriculture; Land-use Planning

Arcus Foundation - Arcus Foundation Grant

Great Apes Habitats African Infrastructure Project

Indicative Funding
We will explore strategies to predict (using spatial analysis techniques) the environmental impacts of several major 'development corridors? on key ape and wildlife habitats in equatorial Africa. This work will be followed by liaison with decision makers, NGOs, and other stakeholders in the relevant African nations, in an effort to reduce and mitigate the impacts of the development corridors on wildlife. A key goal will be to promote the re-routing of corridors that would bisect important protected areas and the creation of new protected areas or buffer zones to guard key wildlife habitats or migration routes.
Bill Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Arfrican Apes; Development Corridors; Protected Areas; Deforestation; Infrastructure; Roads

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Response and vulnerability of tropical rainforest plants to experimental drought

Indicative Funding
$365,000 over 3 years
How will tropical forests respond if droughts should increase in the future? In a globally unique experiment, we will induce artificial rough in an Australian tropical rainforest and then use a canopy crane to assess plant responses at all vertical forest layers. We will contrast demographic and physiological responses of an array of plant species and functional groups, compared to nearby experimental-control plots where tree growth, composition, soil water and atmospheric exchange have been monitored since 1999. Drought responses for key species and functional groups will be compared with their distributions across regional rainfall gradients to yield novel insights into potential rainforest responses to future climate change.
Susan Laurance, Joe Holtum, Bill Laurance and Paul Nelson in collaboration with Jonathan Lloyd and Maurizio Mencuccini (College of Science & Engineering, University of Leeds and University of Edinburgh)
rainforest ecology; climate change adaptations; Ecophysiology

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Social-ecological Impacts of Landscape Transitions in Southeast Asia (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
  • Quantifying the Value of Riparian Forest Corridors for Medium and Large Mammals in Indonesia's Acacia and Oil Palm Plantations. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Diversity and Habitat use of Mid-Large Sized Mammals Across Oil Palm Landscapes in the Plains of Colombia. (PhD, Primary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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