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
  • de Oliveira Roque F, Menezes J, Northfield T, Ochoa-quintero J, Campbell M and Laurance W (2018) Warning signals of biodiversity collapse across gradients of tropical forest loss. Scientific Reports, 8.
  • Gomes V, Ijff S, Raes N, Amaral I, Salamão R, Coelho L, De Almeida Matos F, Castilho C, Limo Filho D, López D, Guevara J, Magnusson W, Phillips O, Wittmann F, Veiga Carim M, Martins M, Irume M, Sabatier D, Molino J, Bánki O, da Silva Guimarães J, Pitman N, Fernandez Piedade M, Mendoza A, Luize B, Venticinque E, de Leão Novo E, Vargas P, Silva T, Manzatoo A, Terborgh J, Reis N, Montero J, Casula K, Marimon B, Marimon-junior B, Honorio Coronado N, Feldpausch T, Duque A, Zartman C, Arboleda N, Killeen T, Mostacedo B, Vásquez R, Schöngart J, Assis R, Medeiros M, Simon M, Andrade A, Laurance W, Camargo J, Demarchi L, Laurance S, de Sousa Farias E, Nascimento H, Revilla J, Quaresma A, Costa F, Vieira I, Cintra B, Castellanos H, Brienan R, Stevenson P, Feitosa Y, Duivenvoorden J, Aymard C. G, Mogollón H, Targhetta N, Comiskey J, Vicentini A, Lopes A, Damasco G, Dávila N, Garcia-Villacorta R, Levis C, Schietti J, Souza P, Emilio T, Alonso A, Neill D, Dallmeier F, Ferreira L, Araujo-Murakami A, Praia D, do Amaral D, Carvalho F, de Souza F, Feeley K, Arroyo L, Pansonato M, Gribel R, Villa B, Licona J, Fine P, Cerón C, Baraloto C, Jiménez E, Stropp J, Engel J, Silveira M, Mora M, Petronelli P, Maas P, Thomas-Caesar R, Henkel T, Daly D, Paredes M, Baker T, Fuentes A, Peres C, Chave J, Pena J, Dexter K, Silman M, Jørgensen P, Pennington T, De Fiore A, Valverde F, Phillips J, Rivas-Torres G, von Hildebrand P, van Andel T, Ruschel A, Prieto A, Rudas A, Hoffman B, Vela C, Barbosa E, Zent E, Gonzales G, Doza H, Miranda I, Guillaumet J, Pinto L, Bonates L, Silva N, Gómez R, Zent S, Gonzales T, Vos V, Malhi Y, Oliveira A, Cano A, Albuquerque B, Vriesendorp C, Correa D, Torre E, Van Der Heijden G, Ramírez-Angulo H, Ramos J, Young K, Rocha M, Nascimento M, Medina M, Tirado M, Wang O, Sierra R, Torres-Lezama A, Mendoza C, Ferreira C, Baider C, Villarroel D, Balslev H, Mesones I, Giraldo L, Casas L, Reategui M, Linares-Palomino R, Zagt R, Cárdenas S, Farfan-Rios W, Sampaio A, Pauletto D, Sandoval E, Arevalo F, Huamantupa-Chuquimaco I, Garcia-Cabrera K, Hernandez L, Gamarra L, Alexiades M, Pansini S, Cuenca W, Milliken W, Ricardo J, López-González G, Pos E and ter Steege H (2018) Species distribution modelling: contrasting presence-only models with plot abundance data. Scientific Reports, 8.
  • Alamgir M, Campbell M, Sloan S, Goosem M, Clements G, Mahmoud M and Laurance W (2017) Economic, socio-political and environmental risks of road development in the tropics. Current Biology, 27 (20). pp. R1130-R1140
  • Campbell M, Edwards W, Magrach A, Laurance S, Alamgir M, Porolak G and Laurance W (2017) Forest edge disturbance increases rattan abundance in tropical rain forest fragments. Scientific Reports, 7. pp. 1-12
  • 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
  • Garcia L, Ribeiro D, de Oliveira Roque F, Ochoa-Quintero J and Laurance W (2017) Brazil's worst mining disaster: corporations must be compelled to pay the actual environmental costs. Ecological Applications, 27 (1). pp. 5-9
  • Gibson L, Wilman E and Laurance W (2017) How green is 'green' energy? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32 (12). pp. 922-935
  • Laurance W, Campbell M, Alamgir M and Mahmoud M (2017) Road expansion and the fate of Africa's tropical forests. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 5. pp. 1-7
  • Levis C, Costa F, Bongers F, Peña-Claros M, Clement C, Junqueira A, Neves E, Tamanaha E, Figueiredo F, Salomão R, Castilho C, Magnusson W, Phillips O, Guevara J, Sabatier D, Molino J, Cárdenas López D, Monteagudo Mendoza A, Pitman N, Duque A, Núñez Vargas P, Zartman C, Vásquez R, Andrade A, Camargo J, Feldpausch T, Laurance S, Laurance W, Killeen T, Mendonça Nascimento H, Montero J, Mostacedo B, Amaral I, Guimarães Vieira I, Brienen R, Castellanos H, Terborgh J, de Jesus Veiga Carim M, da Silva Guimaraes J, de Souza Coelho L, de Almeida Matos F, Wittman F, Mogollón H, Damasco G, Dávila N, García-Villacorta R, Honorio Coronado E, Emilio T, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Schlietti J, Souza P, Targhetta N, Comiskey J, Marimon B, Marimon Jr. B, Neill D, Alonso A, Arroyo L, Carvalho F, Coelho de Sousa F, Dallmeier F, Pansonato M, Duivenvoorden J, Fine P, Stevenson P, Araujo-Murakami A, Aymard C. G, Baraloto C, do Amaral D, Engel J, Henkel T, Maas P, Petronelli P, Cardenas Revilla J, Stropp J, Daly D, Gribel R, Ríos Paredes M, Silviera M, Thomas-Caesar R, Baker T, Ferriera da Silva N, Ferriera L, Peres C, Silman M, Cerón C, Valverde F, Di Fiore A, Jiminez E, Peñuala Mora M, Toledo M, Barbosa E, de Matos Bonates L, Arboleda N, de Sousa Farias E, Fuentes A, Guillaumet J, Jørgensen P, Malhi Y, de Andrade Miranda I, Phillips J, Prieto A, Rudas A, Ruschell A, Silva N, von Hildebrand P, Vos V, Zent E, Zent S, Ladvocat Cintra B, Nascimento M, Oliveira A, Ramírez-Angulo H, Ramos J, Rivas-Torres G, Schöngart J, Sierra R, Tirado M, van der Heijden G, Vilanova Torre E, Wang O, Young K, Baider C, Cano A, Farfan-Rios W, Ferreira C, Hoffman B, Mendoza C, Mesones I, Torres-Lezama A, Umaña Medina M, van Andel T, Villarroel D, Zagt R, Alexiades M, Balslev H, Garcia-Cabrera K, Gonzales T, Hernandez L, Huamantupa-Chuquimaco I, Manzatto A, Milliken W, Palacios Cuenca W, Pansini S, Pauletto D, Ramirez Arevalo F, Costa Reis N, Sampaio A, Urrego Giraldo L, Valderrama Sandoval E, Valenzuela Gamarra L, Vela C and ter Steege H (2017) Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition. Science, 355 (6328). pp. 925-931
  • Lindenmayer D and Laurance W (2017) The ecology, distribution, conservation and management of large old trees. Biological Reviews, 92 (3). pp. 1434-1458
  • Mahmoud M, Sloan S, Campbell M, Alamgir M, Imong I, Odigha O, Chapman H, Dunn A and Laurance W (2017) Alternative routes for a proposed Nigerian superhighway to limit damage to rare ecosystems and wildlife. Tropical Conservation Science, 10. pp. 1-10

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 299+ 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)
  • Maintaining Connectivity for Tropical Rainforest Mammals in Agricultural Landscapes (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)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

Advisory Accreditation
Advisor Mentor
Find me on…
Icon for ResearcherID page Icon for Google Scholar profile Icon for TheConversation author profile Icon for Scopus Author page Icon for ORCID profile Icon for external homepage Icon for Facebook profile page Icon for Wikipedia article Icon for external homepage

Similar to me

  1. Prof Jeff Sayer
    College of Science & Engineering
  2. Dr Mason Campbell
    College of Science & Engineering
  3. Dr Sean Sloan
    College of Science & Engineering
  4. Dr Jonathan Cornelius
    College of Science & Engineering
  5. Dr Mahmoud
    College of Science & Engineering