Ms Lilian Pearce

PhD Student

I am currently conducting my doctoral research with the Fenner School of Environment and Society under the principle supervision of Prof Libby Robin. Through my PhD I am combining multiple disciplinary approaches to explore how the ecological humanities and history can offer new perspectives on restoration and how the practice can strengthen relationships with places through change. In this work I am drawing on my natural and social science background and experience in both quantitative and qualitative research techniques in urban and remote settings.

I am passionate about combining social and ecological science to explore relationships between people and place and am particularly interested in how different ways of interacting with the natural world, traditional knowledge systems, human values and ideas of nature influence conservation initiatives, and how environmental management practices do political work. I hold a Bachelor of Science and a first class honours degree in Geography from the University of Tasmania.

Prior to embarking on a PhD at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU, I worked for the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Melbourne City Council’s Urban Landscapes Branch and the School of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Tasmania. Outside of ANU I continue to be involved in a range of projects that broadly involve conservation in social and cultural settings, and in writing on place and the environment.


Research interests


Restorative Ecologies for Changing Australian Landscapes


Restoration ecology has worked towards restoring landscapes to ‘pristine’ historical states. Recognition of the historical role of humans in shaping ecosystems, the ongoing global human impacts in the epoch of the ‘Anthropocene’ and effects of climate change all challenge the social and ecological appropriateness of such goals. This research will trace restoration in Australia, considering the various narratives that have informed restoration goals, and the values, participants and landscapes that are included. Case studies of different spatial and temporal scales, ecological systems and management will be conducted to document experiences and opportunities associated with broad concepts of restoration. The work aims to highlight the ability of land practices to be restorative and to foster resilient relationships between people and place in changing landscapes. Outcomes will inform goal setting, policy and monitoring, and facilitate improved management and protection of pluralistic natural and cultural values of unique Australian landscapes.

Peer reviewed publications

Pearce, L. M., Davison, A. and Kirkpatrick, J.B., 2015. Personal encounters with trees: the lived significance of the private urban forest. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. 14, 1-7.

Pearce, L. M., Kirkpatrick, J. B. and Davison, A., 2013. Using size class distributions of species to deduce the dynamics of the private urban forest. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 39:2, 74-84. 

Book reviews

Pearce, L. M. (2015) [Review of the book J. Beattie, E. O'Gorman, and M. Henry (eds.). 2014. Climate, Science, and Colonization: Histories from Australia and New Zealand] Australian Garden History, 26:4, 28 

Data publications

Kendal, Dave; Pearce, Lilian M.; Griffiths, Kate E.; Zeeman, Ben J.; Farrar, Alison; Morgan, John W.; Lunt, Ian D.; McDonnell, Mark J., 2015, "Melbourne's grassland sites",, Harvard Dataverse, V1

Griffiths, Kate E.; Kendal, Dave; Pearce, Lilian M.; Farrar, Alison; Zeeman, Ben J.; Lunt, Ian D.; Morgan, John W.; McDonnell, Mark J., 2015, "Melbourne's grassland GIS site polygons, and inventory and transect points",, Harvard Dataverse, V1

Zeeman, Ben J.; Kendal, Dave; Farrar, Alison; Pearce, Lilian M.; Griffiths, Kate E.; Lunt, Ian D.; McDonnell, Mark J.; Morgan, John W., 2015, "Melbourne's grassland vegetative cover",, Harvard Dataverse, V1 

Zeeman, Ben J.; Kendal, Dave; Farrar, Alison; Pearce, Lilian M.; Griffiths, Kate E.; Lunt, Ian D.; McDonnell, Mark J.; Morgan, John W., 2015, "Melbourne's grassland flora inventories",, Harvard Dataverse, V1

Press and Blogs

Centre for Environmental History.   Stories from the field:

The Conversation:

Australian Garden History Society: Trees Natural and cultural Values, 29 May 2015:

Communities of custodians:

The Chronicle:

The Age: