Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.

An examination of funding for terrestrial vertebrate fauna research from Australian federal government sources

Lachlan G. Howell A B and John C. Rodger A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A FAUNA Research Alliance and School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Pacific Conservation Biology -
Submitted: 22 September 2017  Accepted: 18 February 2018   Published online: 29 March 2018


Funding for research towards more effective conservation of Australian fauna is widely believed to be low. Publically available data were examined to determine the spread of wildlife projects supported for the period 2005–15 by Federal Government agencies responsible for research and/or environmental management funding and funding aimed at delivering innovation across relevant sectors. A word search method was used and projects categorised according to their relevance to conservation goals. Of the AU$7.2 billion invested by the Australian Research Council, 0.9% (AU$67.8 million) was in areas relevant to conservation. However, of this relatively modest funding, 40% of conservation projects addressed questions classified as highly relevant, and 11.4% dealt with Australia’s threatened terrestrial vertebrate fauna. Of the AU$2.5 billion grant investment by the Department of the Environment, 7.9% (AU$196.3 million) was relevant to fauna conservation but mainly for on-ground management (62.5%). However, 32.9% of projects were research highly relevant to conservation practice, and 18.8% dealt with Australia’s threatened terrestrial vertebrate fauna. The Cooperative Research Centres Program is a well funded system that has supported applied research relevant to wildlife conservation. However, the Program’s recent focus has been on commercial outcomes rather than the public good. The study provides support for the argument that greater investment by the Federal Government is needed if innovation in wildlife management is to have a solid evidence base.

Additional keywords: Australian fauna, evidence-based policy, conservation research, innovation, funding, wildlife management


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