Researcher

Dr Megan Evans

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Environment policy, Conservation and biodiversity, Environmental politics

SEO tags

Biography

I am a Lecturer in Public Sector Management within the School of Business, UNSW Canberra, as part of the Public Service Research Group. I hold an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship which is examining the growth of private sector investment in biodiversity and natural capital. I am also affiliated with the University of Queensland's Centre for Policy Futures.

My research aims to understand how governments, businesses and other actors...view more

I am a Lecturer in Public Sector Management within the School of Business, UNSW Canberra, as part of the Public Service Research Group. I hold an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship which is examining the growth of private sector investment in biodiversity and natural capital. I am also affiliated with the University of Queensland's Centre for Policy Futures.

My research aims to understand how governments, businesses and other actors can more effectively protect and manage our natural environment. To do this, I use theories and methods from the natural and social sciences to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of environmental laws, policies and tools. I have a diverse background, including undergraduate degrees in mathematics and ecology, a PhD in public policy, and direct experience with policymaking. I sit on the editorial boards of Conservation Letters

Recent media and comment

  • Taking care of business: the private sector is waking up to nature’s value. The Conversation. February 2021.
  • Navigating Uncertainty - S01E12 - Why Biodiversity Loss Is A Growing Risk For Business. UNSW Canberra Podcasts. Spotify Podcasts. SoundCloud. December 2020.
  • Brisbane 'throws ratepayer money overseas' to be carbon neutral’: Councillor. Brisbane Times. November 2020.
  • Why ignoring biodiversity loss is an increasingly risky business. The Canberra Times. September 2020.
  • 'We are relying on a pinky promise’: The problem with the Government moving its environmental powers to states. ABC News. September 2020.
  • Ask an Expert: What is the EPBC Act? UNSW Ask An Expert. September 2020.
  • The magic of the market won’t help the environment unless government also takes responsibility. The Guardian. July 2020.
  • Morrison government urged to fix flawed environmental offsets leaving threatened species at risk. The Guardian. June 2020.
  • Scientists fear Coalition’s push to deregulate environmental approvals will lead to extinction crisis. The Guardian. June 2020.
  • Overestimating rate of biodiversity loss can have unexpected consequences. UNSW Canberra. May 2020

My Grants

  • 2020: $41,600. WWF-Australia. Modelling pathways to a carbon neutral Queensland beef sector through policy and investment to drive transition from deforestation to reforestation. 

  • 2020-2022: $379,729. Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) The Effectiveness of Impact Investing for Biodiversity Conservation

  • 2017–2018: $95,786. Project funded by New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage to develop response to management models for priority species (Investigators: Maron, M, Evans M.C., Rhodes J).

  • 2017: $3,000. Awarded a Visiting Fellowship (RMIT University) by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED).

  • 2015: $7,000. Funding for a workshop on the legal and institutional dimensions of biodiversity offsetting by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). 

  • 2013 – 2016: $87,500. Won a prestigious Australian National University Australian Postgraduate Award.

  • 2013 – 2016: $49,500. Won a highly competitive CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship Top-up Scholarship.


My Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours Class 1, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics – Extended Major), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Ecology), The University of Queensland

My Awards

  • 2018: Winner of the University of Queensland Faculty of Science Rising Star (Academic) Award (selected from 29 nominations and 349 eligible academics).
  • 2014: Awarded competitive scholarship by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) to participate in a year-long leadership program for 14 early career researchers, which included media, facilitation and leadership training, and individual and group projects.
  • 2014: Awarded a prestigious Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Science Program Scholarship.

My Research Activities

Expertise

  • Environmental markets, policy and governance
  • Sustainable and conservation finance
  • Public policy
  • Carbon offsets
  • Science-policy interface
  • Interdisciplinary research

Research Impacts

  • My research on biodiversity offset policy has directly informed Australian and international policy. Together with colleagues Professor Martine Maron, Professor Hugh Possingham and others, our collaborative work translated into the Australian Government’s Offset Assessment Guide in 2012. This work subsequently informed the IUCN Biodiversity Offsets Policy (2016), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Land Degradation Neutrality Conceptual Framework (2017), and the New Zealand Biodiversity Offsets Accounting System (2015).
  • My work on the economics of land-based carbon offsets (aka carbon farming, Evans et al. 2015) informed the establishment of the Queensland Government’s AUD 500 million Land Restoration Fund.
  • My paper on how early-career researchers (ECRs) can achieve policy impact (Evans and Cvitanovic, 2018) was featured in several blogs and online news outlets, including a Nature News career feature. This paper is the top-rated contribution in Palgrave Communications on Altmetric (score of 568).
  • My research on deforestation (Evans 2016) was featured in the 2016 Australian State of the Environment Report. You can download the data here and here.
  • My work with colleagues from CSIRO has directly informed the Australian Department of the Environment’s risk-based approach for prioritising monitoring and compliance efforts
  • My Honours research on threats to Australian species was featured in the 2011 Australian State of the Environment Report.

My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

I'm available to supervise HDR candidates who wish to pursue research related to my current ARC funded project on impact investing and biodiversity conservation. Please go to my website for further information. 


Currently supervising

  • Toiaba Binta Taher (Doctor of Philosophy), Primary supervisor (with Prof Catherine Altaus). Thesis title: Inclusive forest management: An ethnographic inquiry of the marginalised communities in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh
  • Patrick Lucas (Doctor of Philosophy), Associate supervisor (with Dr Katie Moon and Prof Deborah Blackman) Thesis title: The social construction of property rights across governance scales and the implications for biodiversity conservation in Australia

My Engagement

Recent submissions

  • Submission to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021 pdf
  • Submission to the Interim Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). pdf
  • Submission to the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. pdf

Media and comment

2021

  • Taking care of business: the private sector is waking up to nature’s value. The Conversation. February 2021.
  • It’s not too late to save them: 5 ways to improve the government’s plan to protect threatened wildlife. The Conversation.

2020

  • Navigating Uncertainty - S01E12 - Why Biodiversity Loss Is A Growing Risk For Business. UNSW Canberra Podcasts. Spotify Podcasts. SoundCloud. December 2020.
  • Brisbane 'throws ratepayer money overseas' to be carbon neutral’: Councillor. Brisbane Times. 26th November 2020.
  • Why ignoring biodiversity loss is an increasingly risky business. The Canberra Times. September 2020.
  • 'We are relying on a pinky promise’: The problem with the Government moving its environmental powers to states. ABC News. 13th September 2020.
  • Ask an Expert: What is the EPBC Act? UNSW Ask An Expert. 4th September 2020.
  • New environment law framework could give States too much power. 2SER 107.3. 2nd September 2020
  • Environmental changes should not be rushed to become law: experts. The Wire community radio. 24th July 2020.
  • The magic of the market won’t help the environment unless government also takes responsibility. The Guardian. July 2020.
  • National cabinet just agreed to big changes to environment law. Here’s why the process shouldn’t be rushed. The Conversation. July 2020.
  • Morrison government urged to fix flawed environmental offsets leaving threatened species at risk. The Guardian. 27th June 2020.
  • Scientists fear Coalition’s push to deregulate environmental approvals will lead to extinction crisis. The Guardian. 16th June 2020.
  • Overestimating rate of biodiversity loss can have unexpected consequences. UNSW Canberra. May 2020

2019

2018

  • Help to shape policy with your science. Nature 560: 671. August 2018.
  • Four personality traits ECRs can foster to help impact policy and practice. Research to Action. August 2018.
  • Early Career Researchers: So You Want To Make A Difference? Particle. August 2018.
  • So you want to make an impact? Some practical suggestions for early-career researchers. London School of Economics Impact Blog. July 2018.
  • Land-clearing wipes out $1bn taxpayer-funded emissions gains. The Guardian. 29th May 2018.

2017 

  • Land clearing rates in Queensland on par with Brazil, new study finds. ABC News. June 2017.
  • Australia’s species need an independent champion. The Conversation, October 2017.
  • The plan to protect wildlife displaced by the Hume Highway has failed. The Conversation, May 2017.
  • Land clearing on the rise as legal ‘thinning’ proves far from clear-cut. The Conversation, June 2017.
  • Hume Highway duplication project failed to protect threatened species, ANU study finds. ABC News. May 2017.

2016

  • Queensland farmers protest proposed changes to tree clearing laws. Interview on Radio National. August 2016.
  • Australia needs better policy to end the alarming increase in land clearing. The Conversation, August 2016. 
  • Queensland moves to control land clearing: other states need to follow. The Conversation, May 2016.

2015 and earlier

  • Assisted regeneration could make farmers money. ANU News. 17th March 2015.
  • Can we offset biodiversity losses? Brisbane Times and SBS News Australia. May 2013.
  • Can we offset biodiversity losses? The Conversation, May 2013.
  • Australia’s biodiversity under increasing threat from multiple fronts. UQ News. April 2011.
  • No refuge: When a ‘protected area’ is not really protected. The Conversation, September 2011.
  • Australia set for tidal wave of wildlife extinction: WWF. WWF-Australia. November 2008
View less

Location

Building 27, Room 312, School of Business, UNSW Canberra

Contact

+61 2 5114 5001