Dr Juliana Lazzari

B.Sc(Hons), PhD, Australian National University
Honorary Lecturer

As a born and bred Canberran, and living in both Canberra and nearby Queanbeyan, Juliana's interests have led her to pursue work and study in fire ecology, resource and environmental management, and agriculture. Before undertaking and completing her studies at the ANU, Juliana's interests included working as a woolclasser and shed-hand in NSW and Qld, as a field-hand in the Bureau of Mineral Resources working on stromatolites, and picking avocadoes on a kibbutz in northern Israel. This was followed by working in the Australian Government Department of Agriculture (and former guises) on issues ranging from animal welfare, meat and livestock commodities, and vegetation policy.

Juliana's post-graduate research was conducted in the northern Eyre Peninsula in South Australia and included vegetation surveys, trapping reptiles, small mammals and invertebrates, and experimental burns. Juliana is co-author of the paper titled 'How fire interacts with habitat loss and fragmentation' (Biological Reviews 2021). Exploratory work on this systematic review was undertaken during her doctorate. A paper on reptiles and fire has also been published (Landscape Ecology 2022).

Following her research Juliana worked on contract for the Australian Government Department of Environment (in the terrestrial threatened species area after having spent almost a year in the science partnerships area as a liaison officer for threatened species recovery issues in the National Environmental Science Program). Juliana worked on finalising a key threatening process 'Fire regimes that cause declines in biodiversity' listing assessment including reporting to, and working closely with, the Australian Government's Threatened Species Scientific Committee. Recently, Juliana worked as a senior researcher in the Australian Parliamentary Library's Research Branch and for the Australian Electoral Commission on the 2023 referendum.

Juliana is a member of the Ecological Society of Australia and is president of the Australian Forest History Society.

Research interests

I am interested in understanding the influences of fire in fragmented landscapes on small animals. My post-graduate research focus was on reptiles and small mammals persisting in small and isolated habitat patches in semi-arid, mallee landscapes.

Isolated habitat patches in cropping landscapes are affected by disturbances including fire suppression. Some reptile species have habitat adaptations with preferences for successional fire stages e.g. early, mid and late. Because many of these habitat patches are long unburnt (fire suppressed), if a wildfire modifies the entire habitat, this could lead to species extinctions. Where wildfire has occurred across an entire habitat patch, I investigated if nearby large reserves containing a range of successional fire stages could provide source populations to wildfire affected patches.

Fire is natural in many systems but as a result of landscapes being modified, fire regimes (frequency, intensity, and extent) have changed and may also be contributing to habitat loss. Fire could be used in these habitats to provide a range of successional habitat stages. Fire-age (or time since the last fire) of vegetation is important knowledge if fire is used as a tool to manage vegetation for habitat. Burning too frequently, or not frequently enough can result in vegetation changes undesirable to fauna and flora. My studies also included using models to predict fire-age in areas of mallee vegetation by using stem diameters and environmental co-variates including the percentage of bare ground, canopy cover, and so on.

  • Lazzari, J, Sato, C & Driscoll, D 2022, 'Traits influence reptile responses to fire in a fragmented agricultural landscape', Landscape Ecology, vol. 37, no. 9, pp. 2363-2382. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-022-01417-9
  • Driscoll, D, Armenteras, D, Bennett, A et al. 2021, 'How fire interacts with habitat loss and fragmentation', Biological Reviews, vol. 96, no. 3, pp. 976-998. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12687
  • Lazzari, J, Yoon, H, Keith, D et al., 2015, 'Local environmental covariates are important for predicting fire history from tree stem diameters', International Journal of Wildland Fire, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 871-882.
  • Driscoll, D, Whitehead, C & Lazzari, J 2012, 'Spatial dynamics of the knob-tailed gecko Nephrurus stellatus in a fragmented agricultural landscape', Landscape Ecology, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 829-841.