About

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
Publications

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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 272+ 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
Summary
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.
Investigators
Bill Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Infrastructure; Deforestation; Roads; Asia-Pacific Region; Agriculture; Land-use Planning

Arcus Foundation - Arcus Foundation Grant

Great Apes Habitats African Infrastructure Project

Indicative Funding
$327,890
Summary
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.
Investigators
Bill Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
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
Summary
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.
Investigators
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)
Keywords
rainforest ecology; climate change adaptations; Ecophysiology
Supervision

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.

Current
  • 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)
Completed
Collaboration

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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