Public policy for biodiversity conservation: evaluating outcomes, opportunities and risks

The conservation of biodiversity remains a daunting and complex public policy challenge. Over the past three decades, two clear trends have emerged in conservation science, policy and practice: (i) a greater interest and experimentation with market based policy instruments (MBIs), and (ii) increasing concern over the effectiveness of conservation policies.  These two trends are interrelated, as a key driver for rise in prominence of MBIs has been the promise of more effective, efficient and equitable conservation than that which is possible under state-controlled regulation. However, there is scarce evidence available to assess the efficacy of a range of conservation policies, spanning ‘command and control’ regulation, to MBIs promising ‘win-win’ outcomes for biodiversity and society. This research investigates policy responses to deforestation – a major driver of biodiversity loss – and uses an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate the outcomes, opportunities and risks presented by established and emerging conservation policies in Australia. In this seminar, I will focus on a selection of the findings from my 4-year PhD program, including a quantitative evaluation of the impact of regulatory controls on deforestation in Queensland, and a qualitative evaluation of barriers and enablers to effective biodiversity offset policy in Australia.

About the speaker

Megan’s research falls broadly within environmental policy, governance and economics, with a particular interest in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.  She is an interdisciplinary scientist with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods from the social and natural sciences.  The overarching goal of Megan’s research is to achieve better outcomes for the environment and society through an understanding of the policy process: design, implementation and evaluation.