Priority Threat Management for Imperilled Species of the Queensland Brigalow Belt

Our Priority Threat Management for Imperilled Species of the Queensland Brigalow Belt” is online now, along with an article in The Conversation.

Here together with 40 stakeholders and experts in the region, we identified which are the most cost-effective management strategies to improve the persistence of 179 imperilled species in very contested land, the Brigalow Belt in Queensland, and how much it would cost to implement them.

The Brigalow Belt is a crucial region for Australia, as it is a biodiversity hotspot with the biggest repositories of coal and CSG in the country and a long history of transformation due to agriculture and grazing.

We found that 11 feasible strategies at a cost of A$ 57 million per year ($1.60/ha/year) will improve the outlook of threatened species in the region, saving 12 from local or global extinction. Managing fire and invasive plant species are the most cost effective strategies. However, an overarching strategy for ‘building and implementing a common vision’ was vital to the effectiveness of the other strategies, by empowering stakeholders to align their environmental, social and economic goals.



Blackdown Tableland National Park


eating grasshopers?


Our new paper:Exploiting a pest insect species Sphenarium purpurascens for human consumption: ecological, social, and economic repercussions is out in the first issue of the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed.

In this paper we developed a model of sustainable exploitation for pest insect and explore the potential benefits to humans in different areas, like health/nutrition, economic and even climate change!

Contact me if you would like a copy of the paper!

The picture above is by Rene Cerritos the main author of this paper.

Everything you always wanted to know about Geographical surrogates of genetic variation for selecting island populations for conservation but were afraid to ask!

After a long wait and very hard work, our paper has been finally published (as an early view at this stage)!

In this paper we tested three simple and cost-effective geographical measures to maximise genetic and phenotypic variation in fragmented populations when setting conservation priorities.We were interested in finding surrogates because usually limited financial resources constrain the allocation of funds to a subset of threatened species’ populations.

Here is the link to it:


cloud forests – microcuenca Gavilanes, Veracruz, Mexico


cloud forests - microcuenca Gavilanes

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to visit this corner of Mexico:

I was invited to record a talk about the vulnerability of Mexican cloud forest to climate change, for an online course on cloud forest restoration ( organized by Pronatura Veracruz (

People working for Pronatura Veracruz have been promoting the conservation of the cloud forest around the city of Xalapa through many different strategies. One of them, is the actual restoration of the cloud forest. To do so, they mantain a native-tree nursery that ‘produces’ the trees used in the restoration. They showed me three patches that not long ago, five, three and one year ago, they used to be pastureland. Now, you couldn’t believe that the 5 year old restored patch wasn’t there five years ago. The other two are on their way to become properly established cloud-forest patches.

Another strategy used by Pronatura Veracruz, is to convince locals with cloud forest vegetation in their properties, to manage them as private conservation areas. They also have conservation projects of regional emblematic species (especially birds and amphibians).

Great job, guys!!!!

Recent publication: Extinction risk in cloud forest fragments under climate change and habitat loss

ImageIn this paper we aimed to  quantify  the  impact  of  climate and land-use change on the extinction risk of metapopulations, as an explicit measure of species persistence. The extinction risk of metapopulations can be approximated through simple models, providing a regional snapshot of the extinction  probability  of a species.  We  evaluated the  extinction risk  of  three species  under  different  climate  change  scenarios  in  three  different  regions  of the  Mexican  cloud  forest,  a  highly  fragmented  habitat  that  is  particularly vulnerable to climate change.


Ponce-Reyes, R., Nicholson, E., Baxter, P.W.J., Fuller, R.A. & Possingham, H. (2013) Extinction risk in cloud forest fragments under climate change and habitat loss. Diversity and Distributions, 19, 518-529.