Associate Professor Sarah Bekessy

Sarah Bekessy has been teaching in Sustainability and Urban Planning at RMIT University since 2004.

Sarah is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research and consulting projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled ‘Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’.

She leads a research theme under the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions that seeks to develop and test tools to support transparent decision-making for environmental management and she is a node leader in a National Environment Research Program for Environmental Decisions.

Sarah has funding from the Myer Foundation to undertake a project titled Reimagining the Suburb: Planning for biodiversity in the urban fringe. This project aims to improve prospects for grassland conservation within housing developments, and investigate urban development scenarios that mitigate impacts on existing grasslands. We are working with a range of sectors to ensure issues such as human health, housing affordability and transport are considered. Considering biodiversity in this context will make a stronger case for appropriate urban and peri-urban development and will target urban designers and developers.

Sarah also leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group.

Read more about Sarah.

Expert commentary on...

Threatened species management, Environmental decision analysis, Urban ecology, Population and landscape modelling, Education for sustainability, The role of science in environmental policy.

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Projects

Sustainable, biodiverse mid-rise development for Fishermans Bend

Creating sustainable cities that are good for people and good for nature.

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Improved Urban Systems for Liveability

This project investigates how major cities function and the effects of their land-use, housing and infrastructure systems on the humans that live in them.

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Evaluating environment policy that has immediate costs but long-term gains

Evaluating environment policy that has immediate costs but long-term gains.

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The Little Things that Run the City

How do Melbourne’s green spaces support insect biodiversity and promote ecosystem health?

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News & Blog

Getting smarter about city lights is good for us and nature too

A network of street lighting links these “islands of illumination”. The effects of this can, in some large cities, result in “sky glow” that interferes with star visibility at distances of more than 300 kilometres.

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RMIT Vietnam awarded European Union research funds

RMIT Europe has helped to secure RMIT Vietnam as a partner in a €13.4 million research project as part of the EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation funding scheme.

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Urban researchers nominated for Banksia Sustainability Award

Research on biodiversity conservation in cities by two urban researchers has been recognised by the Banksia Foundation for its excellence in sustainability practice.

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What effect will closet Trump voters have on the US Election?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump recently claimed “phony polling” is suppressing his vote and predicted the outcome of the US election will be “Brexit times five”.

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EcoCheck: Victoria’s flower-strewn western plains could be swamped by development

When Europeans first saw Victoria’s native grasslands in the 1830s, they were struck by the vast beauty of the landscape, as well as its productive potential.

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Researchers on journey to new discoveries with $2.3m ARC grants

Researchers from RMIT received funding to deliver innovative, impact-associated research from the latest round of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects scheme.

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Pop-up parks provide more than a patch of grass

Temporary pop-up parks and green spaces have long been considered the playthings of the inner-city hipster.

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Publications

Strengthening Wellbeing in Urban Communities Through Wildlife Gardening

We investigate a municipal wildlife gardening program run by a community group-local government partnership in Melbourne, Australia whose purpose is to conserve the municipality’s indigenous biodiversity.

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Exploring the permanence of conservation covenants

We examined release and breach data from all 13 major covenanting programs across Australia.

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Taming a Wicked Problem: Resolving Controversies in Biodiversity Offsetting

Martine Maron, Christopher D. Ives, Heini Kujala, Joseph W. Bull, Fleur J. F. Maseyk, Associate Professor Sarah Bekessy, Dr Ascelin Gordon, James E.M. Watson, Pia E. Lentini, Philip Gibbons, Hugh P. Possingham, Richard J. Hobbs, David A. Keith, Brendan a. Wintle, Megan C. Evans
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Rethinking Social Barriers to Effective Adaptive Management

Simon West, Lisen Schultz, Associate Professor Sarah Bekessy

We adopt a a qualitative approach to explore the development of an ecological monitoring program within an adaptive management framework in a public land management organisation in Australia.

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The Role of Social Networks and Trusted Peers in Promoting Biodiverse Carbon Plantings

We propose that targeting champions and trusted peers in local communities could accelerate the proliferation of biodiverse carbon planting schemes.

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Cities are hotspots for threatened species

Ives, C, Lentini, P, Threlfall, C, Ikin, K, Shanahan, D, Garrard, G, Bekessy, S, Fuller, R, Mumaw, L, Rayner, L, Rowe, R, Valentine, L and Kendal, D 2016, 'Cities are hotspots for threatened species', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 117-126.

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The ethics of offsetting nature

Ives, C and Bekessy, S 2015, 'The ethics of offsetting nature', Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 13, no. 10, pp. 568-573.

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Amenity and ecological management: A framework for policy and practice

Corney, H, Ives, C and Bekessy, S 2015, 'Amenity and ecological management: A framework for policy and practice', Ecological Management and Restoration, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 199-205.

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Bundling and stacking in bio-sequestration schemes: Opportunities and risks identified by Australian stakeholders

Torabi, N and Bekessy, S 2015, 'Bundling and stacking in bio-sequestration schemes: Opportunities and risks identified by Australian stakeholders', Ecosystem Services, vol. 15, pp. 84-92.

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Beyond Advocacy: Making Space for Conservation Scientists in Public Debate

Garrard, G, Fidler, F, Wintle, B, Chee, Y and Bekessy, S 2015, '(In Press) Beyond advocacy: making space for conservation scientists in public debate', Conservation Letters , pp. 1-5.

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Amenity and ecological management: A framework for policy and practice, Ecological Management and Restoration

Corney, H, Ives, C and Bekessy, S 2015, 'Amenity and ecological management: A framework for policy and practice', Ecological Management and Restoration, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 199-205.

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The Little Things that Run the City: How do Melbourne’s green spaces support insect biodiversity and ecosystem health?

With the present work we aim to expand this circle so that it may also encompass the conservation of insect and other invertebrates in urban environments. We are driven by a will to ‘say a word on behalf of the little things that run the city’.

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Measurement matters in managing landscape carbon

Law, E, Bryan, B, Torabi, N, Bekessy, S, McAlpine, C and Wilson, K 2015, '(In Press) Measurement matters in managing landscape carbon', Ecosystem Services, pp. 1-10.

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Incorporating detectability of threatened species into environmental impact assessment

Garrard, G, Bekessy, S, McCarthy, M and Wintle, B 2015, 'Incorporating detectability of threatened species into environmental impact assessment', Conservation Biology, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 216-225.

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