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Researcher biography

James Watson is a Professor of Conservation Science at The University of Queensland. He leads both the Green Fire Science research group (, whose mission is to do applied research that is linked directly to the practice of large-scale conservation and the Research and Recovery of Endangered Species ( whose mission is to focus on Australia's rarest species to try and work out their needs and work with those on-ground practioners to try and save them.

As a Rhodes Scholar, James undertook his PhD research studying in Madagascar, trying to come up with conservation plans to save endemic bird species inhabiting the country's remaining littoral forest. Since then he has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers on conservation related matters, ranging from assessing the impacts of climate change on species to mapping the effectiveness of protected areas on biodiversity conservation outcomes globally. He currently serves on the International Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Data and Knowledge Task Force, and is a Research Fellow for the United Nation's Environment Program, a Senior Technical expert for the United Nations Development Program's Global Programme on Nature for Development, and was the founding chair of the International Union for Nature Conservation Climate Change Specialist Group. James sits on the scientific committees of BirdLife Australia, Bush Heritage Australia and SUBAC. James was global president of the Society for Conservation Biology in 2015-17.