Ellie embarks on a PhD

    Ellie Bock has been awarded a Masters degree after completing her Master of Philosophy (Society and Culture). Ellie’s primary advisor was Professor Allan Dale and her secondary advisor was Professor Hurriyet Babacan. Her thesis was titled Prescient Custodians: Biocultural Ecological Economics and Restorative Governance of the Wet Tropics. 

    The Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (WT WHA) is considered the 3rd most vulnerable of all protected areas on Earth to global warming impacts (Le Saout et al. 2013). Arguably this vulnerability continues to escalate as a result of pervasive neoliberal paradigms and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

    A limited understanding of ecological economics and biocultural concepts characterizes the Wet Tropics region, particularly as these relate to established Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) in this globally exceptional bioregion. WTWHA governance arrangements remained structurally little changed from their inception during the 1990s.

    Ellie’s MPhil thesis conceptualized leading practice governance arrangements for the WTWHA and its buffer. Two theoretical ideas framed the exploratory research: ecological economics (EE) and biocultural concepts. Primary data from a series of 12 in-depth semi-structured interviews provides new insights into regional stakeholders’ exposure to, and understandings of, the study’s theoretical concepts. Critical analysis evaluates the presence, absence or emergence of IPAs as a form of biocultural EE, with recommendations made to inform a WTWHA restorative governance agenda, and related policy intervention.

    Having completed her Masters, Ellie successfully applied to be a PhD Candidate, with Allan Dale and Hurriyet Babacan continuing in their respective advisory capacities, together with Dr Kearrin Sims as additional secondary advisor.

    Her PhD research aims to investigate culturally assured decision-making as actual and/or conceptual approaches toward a place-based restorative governance arising from biocultural EE.

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