Director of Conservation and Science
Areas of Expertise
conservation planning, protected area and land use policy and legislation, wildlife ecology
General Enquiriesph. +61 3 8346 8600
Dr James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy Australia. He oversees conservation planning, science, implementation and policy across all the projects we work on throughout the country.
Prior to joining us, James was a senior project officer with the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council where he developed recommendations for public land use along Australia’s largest river, the Murray. His work resulted in a proposed 250% increase in the reservation of river banks, floodplains and wetlands.
James also worked at the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, where he was instrumental in selecting and purchasing endangered grasslands, grassy woodlands and wetlands that were added to the National Reserve System – this significantly increased the reservation size of these important ecosystems in south-eastern Australia.
His PhD research focused on the ecological, social, governance and legal aspects of multi-tenure reserve networks – networks which sought to integrate the management of public and private conservation lands.
He is the author of numerous papers on practical conservation planning, protected area and land use policy and legislation and wildlife ecology and has co-edited four books (Innovation for 21st Century Conservation, Linking Australia’s Landscapes, Valuing Nature, and Big, Bold and Blue: Lessons from Australia’s Marine Protected Areas).
James is an Adjunct Professor at Deakin University where he is involved in a number of research areas, including private land conservation, protected area policy and investigating how birds interact with urban environments.
With a strong commitment to conservation, James owns and conducts research on 130 ha of his own threatened box-ironbark woodland in south-eastern Victoria. The land is also home to many threatened species, including Squirrel Glider, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Hooded Robin and the Euroa Guinea-flower.
Is there a place for private property conservation?
James Fitzsimons describes his personal conservation commitment.
Fighting fire with fire
The smart use of fire, such as the reinstatement of traditional fire regimes used by Indigenous Australians for tens of thousands of years, has many positive benefits for conservation, local communities and for huge reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.