Sarah A. Bekessy

Sarah A. Bekessy
RMIT University | RMIT · School of Global, Urban and Social Studies

PhD

About

134
Publications
44,138
Reads
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4,973
Citations
Citations since 2017
74 Research Items
3527 Citations
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Publications

Publications (134)
Article
Full-text available
The application of ecological theory in urban planning is becoming more important as land managers focus on increasing biodiversity to improve human welfare in cities. Authorities must decide not only what types of biodiversity-focused infrastructure should be prioritized, but also where new resources should be positioned and existing resources pro...
Article
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An increasing number of countries are implementing strategic environmental assessment (SEA) to support the development of environmentally sustainable policies, plans and programs. However, some Global South countries are yet to legislate for SEA and research is needed to understand the contextual challenges to implementing SEA effectively in these...
Article
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Built environment practitioners currently seek options and opportunities to respond to the biodiversity emergency. Biodiversity Inclusive Design (BID) is an approach to design that seeks to foster functional ecological systems, enable species’ persistence within the built environment and (re) connect people with nature. BID can support designers’ q...
Preprint
The application of ecological theory to urban planning is becoming more important as land managers focus on increasing urban biodiversity as a way to improve human welfare. City authorities must decide not only what types of biodiversity-focused infrastructure should be prioritized, but also where new resources should be positioned and existing res...
Article
Full-text available
Nature-based solutions (NBS) are recognised as a means to address challenges such as heatwaves, flooding and biodiversity loss. Delivering these benefits at scale will require large areas of scarce urban land to be converted into green space. Here we show an approach by which cities can make substantial progress towards their sustainability targets...
Article
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Conservation professionals are familiar with value‐driven research and practice. However, recent efforts to use strategic communication, specifically conservation messaging, to affect targeted behaviour change or influence values and attitudes towards conservation introduce new ethical dilemmas that conservation professionals may not have considere...
Article
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This Series on urban design, transport, and health aimed to facilitate development of a global system of health-related policy and spatial indicators to assess achievements and deficiencies in urban and transport policies and features. This final paper in the Series summarises key findings, considers what to do next, and outlines urgent key actions...
Preprint
Nature-based solutions (NBS) are increasingly recognised as a means to address critical urban sustainability problems such as heatwaves, flooding and biodiversity loss. Accordingly, cities around the world have committed to ambitious targets for urban greening. Meeting these targets will require large areas of land to be converted from existing use...
Article
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Australia is experiencing mounting pressures related to processes of urbanisation, biodiversity loss and climate change felt at large in cities. At the same time, it is cities that can take the leading role in pioneering approaches and solutions to respond to those coupling emergencies. In this perspective piece we respond to the following question...
Article
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Here, we describe and evaluate the “bins on boats” project undertaken in Victoria, Australia, which aimed to reduce marine pollution that causes entanglement among Australian fur seals on the Victorian coastline of Bass Strait. This program represents a successful case study in how conservation managers, industry, government, and researchers can co...
Technical Report
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Nature as a climate solution: Country, culture and nature-based solutions for mitigating climate change
Article
Biodiversity loss is driven by human behavior, but there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of behavior‐change programs in delivering benefits to biodiversity. To demonstrate their value, the biodiversity benefits and cost‐effectiveness of behavior changes that directly or indirectly affect biodiversity need to be quantified. We adapted a struc...
Article
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The ability of insects to persist in urban greenspace depends on their ability to usefully interact with available plant resources. Greenspace design influences plant–insect interactions by: (1) limiting the plant-species pool available for interaction through plant choice, (2) limiting the insects that are available for interaction through site-oc...
Article
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Increasing focus on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in cities has significantly expanded the range of applications in which urban nature is considered useful, as well as the range of NBS available. Traditional parks, gardens and street trees now sit alongside innovative approaches including rooftop pollinator habitats, constructed wetlands and hydropo...
Article
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Regular contact with nature provides multiple health benefits for people, but biodiversity is declining fast in an urbanizing world. Biodiversity offsets are implemented to compensate for the negative residual impacts of economic development projects on biodiversity, but the impacts on people who stand to lose biodiversity from their local environm...
Article
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Nature-based solutions (NBS) are increasingly at the centre of urban strategies to mitigate heatwaves and flooding, improve public health and restore biodiversity. However, on-ground implementation has been slow, inconsistent and often limited to demonstration sites. A broad literature consistently highlights institutional barriers as a major reaso...
Article
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With COVID-19 dominating headlines, highlighting links between the pandemic and biodiversity may increase public awareness of the biodiversity crisis. However, ill-considered messages that frame nature as the problem rather than the solution could inadvertently propagate problematic narratives and undermine motivations and individual self-efficacy...
Article
Biodiversity within cities is fundamental for human health and well-being, and delivers a wide range of critical ecosystem services. However, biodiversity is often viewed as an afterthought or final addition once an urban development nears completion. As such, provisions for biodiversity are typically tokenistic and do not achieve the experience of...
Article
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Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) aims to provide a sound theoretical basis on which to plan for biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES). With the multi-purpose and increasing use of SEA worldwide, it is timely to evaluate the effectiveness of SEA practice in integrating biodiversity and ES considerations. Here, we derive criteria from the...
Article
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Cities globally are greening their urban fabric, but to contribute positively to the biodiversity extinction crisis, local governments must explicitly target actions for biodiversity. We apply the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) framework — nature for nature, society and culture — to elevate...
Article
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Governments commit substantial time and resources engaging individuals and households to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. These approaches, based largely upon behaviour change theories, have been criticised for their limited reach and effectiveness by practice theorists who have offered an alternative approach, broadening the focus beyond ind...
Technical Report
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This report investigates the opportunities for threatened species conservation within Australian cities and towns
Article
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The conservation profession is increasingly seeking effective ways to reduce societal impact on biodiversity, including through targeted behavior change interventions. Multiple conservation behavior change programs exist, but there is also great uncertainty regarding which behaviors are most strategic to target. Behavioral prioritization is a tool...
Article
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Species common names underpin communication between researchers, stakeholders and the public. Changing unappealing (e.g., rough-skinned horned toad), misleading (e.g., lesser bird of paradise) or even immemorable (e.g., little grassbird) species names could be an effective, and inexpensive, way to improve engagement with and support for threatened...
Article
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Protecting nature is a fundamental aspect of local and Indigenous cultures that has more recently become an urban sustainability goal. The benefits provided by nature to people and other species have sparked an upsurge in research exploring how best to manage existing nature in urban environments. Here we expand this focus by drawing attention to a...
Article
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Beef production is a major driver of biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions globally, and multiple studies recommend reducing beef production and consumption. Although there have been significant efforts from the biodiversity conservation sector toward reducing beef‐production impacts, there has been comparatively much less engagement in re...
Article
Because the conservation of biodiversity is a social and political process, conservation policies are more effective if they can create shifts in attitudes and/or behaviours. As such, communication and advocacy approaches that influence attitudes and behaviours are key to addressing conservation problems. It is well established that the way an issu...
Article
Context. Feral cats (Felis catus) pose a significant threat to Australia’s native species and feral cat control is, therefore, an important component of threatened species management and policy. Australia’s Threatened Species Strategy articulates defined targets for feral cat control. Yet, currently, little is known about who is engaged in feral ca...
Article
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As with most governments worldwide, Australian governments list threatened species and proffer commitments to recovering them. Yet most of Australia's imperiled species continue to decline or go extinct and a contributing cause is inadequate investment in conservation management. However, this has been difficult to evaluate because the extent of fu...
Article
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Conserving native biodiversity in cities involves addressing social and ecological factors that contribute to the persistence of species. Multiple activities and programs are needed, with the participation of land managers across private and public realms; from householders to state and local governments. There are few planning and assessment tools...
Article
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Changing human behavior and attitudes are key to conserving global biodiversity. Despite evidence from other disciplines that strategic messaging can influence behavior and attitudes, it remains unclear how to best design messages to benefit biodiversity. We conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the status of conservation messagin...
Article
Current global enthusiasm for urban greening and bringing nature back into cities is unprecedented. Evidence of the socioecological benefits of large, permanent greenspaces is mounting, but the collective potential for pop‐up parks (PUPs) – small, temporary greenspaces – to augment urban ecosystem services is unknown. To showcase the potential of P...
Article
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Revolving funds buy land with high nature value, protect these values through conservation agreements and then resell them. The funds from sales then purchase more land.
Article
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In biodiversity conservation, the prevailing consensus is that optimistic messages should be used to inspire people to change their behaviour, but there is scarce empirical evidence that optimistic messages lead to favourable conservation behaviour change.
Article
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Island biogeography theory posits that species richness increases with island size and decreases with isolation. This logic underpins much conservation policy and regulation, with preference given to conserving large, highly connected areas, and relative ambivalence shown toward protecting small, isolated habitat patches. We undertook a global synt...
Article
Unpopular and uncharismatic species receive less conservation support, potentially impacting their long-term survival. This study assesses the attention directed towards Australian threatened species on the online social network Twitter, an increasingly common way for scientists and the general public to communicate about conservation. We find a di...
Article
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An integrated understanding of both social and ecological aspects of environmental issues is essential to address pressing sustainability challenges. An integrated social-ecological systems perspective is purported to provide a better understanding of the complex relationships between humans and nature. Despite a threefold increase in the amount of...
Article
Global conservation efforts are increasingly focused on expanding the amount of permanently protected private land, with the aim of preserving biodiversity. These efforts are often constrained by financial resources, particularly where land acquisition is expensive, or where landowners are reluctant to enter into conservation agreements. Purchase-p...
Article
Given the urgent need to raise public awareness on biodiversity issues, we review the effectiveness of “ecosystem services” as a frame for promoting biodiversity conservation. Since its inception as a communications tool in the 1970s, the concept of ecosystem services has become pervasive in biodiversity policy. While the goal of securing ecosystem...
Article
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Cities are investing billions of dollars in climate change adaptation to combat the effects of sea‐level rise, temperature extremes, increasingly intense storm events, flooding and water scarcity. Natural ecosystems have enormous potential to contribute to city resilience, and so, actions that rely on this approach could sustain considerable co‐ben...
Article
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Cities tend to be built in areas of high biodiversity, and the accelerating pace of urbanization threatens the persistence of many species and ecological communities globally. However, urban environments also offer unique prospects for biological conservation, with multiple benefits for humans and other species. We present seven ecological principl...
Article
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An alternative to buying land and creating a conservation reserve is to enter into permanent agreements with private landholders (e.g. conservation covenants) that restrict both current and future landowners from conducting activities that would harm their land's ecological value. In conjunction with Australian revolving fund managers, we built a B...
Article
en Article impact statement: Continued development of conservation psychology is essential to addressing the challenges of biodiversity conservation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Article
Finding sustainable ways to increase the amount of private land protected for biodiversity is a challenge for many conservation organizations. In a number of countries, organizations use ‘revolving fund’ programs, whereby land is purchased, and then on-sold to conservation-minded owners with a condition to enter into a conservation covenant or ease...
Article
Protecting biodiversity on private land is an important and growing part of global conservation efforts. Revolving funds are used by conservation organisations to buy, resell and permanently protect private land with important ecological values. By reinvesting proceeds from sales in additional properties, revolving funds offer a potentially cost-ef...
Chapter
Good decision making is critical to avert a wide range of ecological and human crises that can result from poor management of water resources. But water resources decisions are typically situated in highly complex social-ecological systems with profound uncertainties. Decision support and analysis tools can help reduce the uncertainty, increase the...
Article
Market-based instruments along with conceptualizing the environment as a collection of ‘ecosystem services’ has become increasingly common within environmental and conservation policy. This kind of thinking is also increasingly prominent in the public discourse surrounding environment and conservation policy, particularly in the context of communic...
Article
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Cities are increasingly considered important places for biodiversity conservation because they can harbor threatened species and because conservation in cities represents an opportunity to reconnect people with nature and the range of health and well-being benefits it provides. However, urbanization can be catastrophic for native species, and is a...
Article
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It is important for landscape planners and managers to understand how urban residents value and interact with green open spaces. However, the effect of spatial scale on values and perceptions of green open spaces has to date received little attention. This study explored the influence of spatial scale using Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) methods...
Article
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The global scale and rapidity of environmental change is challenging ecologists to reimagine their theoretical principles and management practices. Increasingly, historical ecological conditions are inadequate targets for restoration ecology, geographically circumscribed nature reserves are incapable of protecting all biodiversity, and the precauti...
Article
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Reducing community vulnerability to flooding is increasingly important given predicted intensive flood events in many parts of the world. We built a community vulnerability model to explore the effectiveness of a range of proactive and reactive adaptations to reduce community vulnerability to flood. The model consists of floods, victims, housings,...
Article
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Conserving biodiversity and advancing wellbeing are goals usually siloed in environment or health portfolios, yet compelling evidence is emerging regarding the relationship between these activities. There is increasing academic and practitioner interest in the wellbeing benefits to be gained from experiencing nature in urban parks. Here we explore...
Article
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A variety of policy instruments are used to promote the conservation of biodiversity on private land. These instruments are often employed in unison to encourage land stewardship beneficial for biodiversity across a broad range of program types, but questions remain about which instruments are the appropriate tools when seeking long-term change to...
Article
Biodiversity offsetting is widely applied but its effectiveness is rarely assessed. We evaluated the effectiveness of a nest box program intended to offset clearing of hollow-bearing trees associated with a freeway upgrade in southern Australia. The offset targeted three threatened vertebrates: squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis), brown treecre...
Article
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The critically endangered golden sun-moth Synemon plana occurs in urban fringe areas of southeastern Australia that are currently experiencing rapid and extensive development. The urban fringe is a complex and uncertain environment in which to manage threatened species with the intersection of fragmented natural habitats, built environments and hum...
Article
Planning for green space is guided by standards and guidelines but there is currently little understanding of the variety of values people assign to green spaces or their determinants. Land use planners need to know what values are associated with different landscape characteristics and how value elicitation techniques can inform decisions. We desi...
Article
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Complementary public and private conservation action is required to sustain native biodiversity in cities. Residents can contribute by wildlife gardening – removing environmental weeds, cultivating indigenous flora, and improving habitat in their gardens. There is currently little guidance about how best to involve residents in wildlife gardening a...
Article
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Conservation on private land is a growing part of international efforts to stem the decline of biodiversity. In many countries, private land conservation policy often supports in-perpetuity covenants and easements, which are legally binding agreements used to protect biodiversity on private land by restricting activities that may negatively impact...
Technical Report
Australia is home to some of the world’s most amazing species, but the fate of many hangs in the balance. Preventing extinctions and recovering these species is vital to Australia’s future health, social wellbeing, business and international standing, but this may well depend on cross-sector relationships and novel conservation approaches. Signific...
Article
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Kareiva and Fuller (2016) consider the future prospects for biodiversity conservation in the face of the profound disruptions of the Anthropocene. They argue that more flexible and entrepreneurial approaches to conservation are needed. While some of the approaches they promote may work in particular situations, we believe their proposal risks unint...
Poster
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Butterflies are arguably one of the most charismatic animal groups in the world and play a key role in plant-pollinators and plant-herbivore ecological networks. Although butterfly biodiversity and ecology has been thoroughly studied in most ecosystems, there is still very little recorded knowledge of their distribution and ecological interactions...
Article
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Conservation covenants are an important and enduring mechanism for conserving biodiversity on private land, but we need ongoing monitoring and reporting to assess the true contribution of these agreements.
Technical Report
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How did The Little Things that Run the City get its name? The Little Things that Run the City has been inspired by Edward O. Wilson’s famous quote: “…let me say a word on behalf of these little things that run the world” The quote was part of an address given by Wilson on occasion of the opening of the invertebrate exhibit of the National Zoolog...
Article
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Adaptive management is an approach to environmental management based on learning-by-doing, where complexity, uncertainty, and incomplete knowledge are acknowledged and management actions are treated as experiments. However, while adaptive management has received significant uptake in theory, it remains elusively difficult to enact in practice. Prop...