skip to content

Conservation Research Institute


 CCI Conservation Seminar - Dr Matthew Holden, University of Queensland

Does modelling "really" help us conserve nature?

Mathematicians, like myself, argue that models are crucial for making good decisions that balance conservation and economic objectives. Yet how do we know models "actually" improve outcomes for nature? In this talk, I will look at two examples where the most popular mathematical models/frameworks are quite possibly biased against nature ... and perhaps even more frighteningly the employment of ecologists! I will argue for a more precautionary approach to maths and modelling for conservation and natural resource management.

Dr. Matthew Holden is an applied mathematician using dynamic models and decision theory to improve conservation planning when conservation benefits depend on how humans modify their behaviour in response to policy. Some of his projects include saving the African elephant from poaching for ivory and developing novel quantitative methods for invasive and threatened species management. He earned his PhD in Applied mathematics at Cornell University, winning a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellowship to work on optimization problems in fisheries management, invasive species control, and sustainable agriculture. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, where he won the University Medal, working on the effect of habitat fragmentation on species persistence.

For remote participants, please register via Eventbrite (link below) to obtain a Zoom link:

Drinks will be served in the common room afterwards

Tuesday, 27 June, 2023 - 16:00 to 17:00
Event location: 
Main Seminar Room, David Attenborough Building