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James Fitzsimons

James Fitzsimons

Director of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy in Australia

James Fitzsimons is  Director of Conservation for the Australia Program where he oversees the organization’s conservation planning, science and policy functions for that country. This includes the vast tropical savannas of northern Australia, the central deserts, the Great Western Woodlands (the world’s largest temperate woodland) and emerging marine and freshwater programs.

Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy he was a senior project officer with the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council developing recommendations for public land use along Australia’s largest river, the Murray. This resulted in a proposed 250% increase in the reservation of riparian, floodplain and wetland ecosystems. Prior to this he was with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, where he worked on protected area and conservation policy issues, and was instrumental in selecting and purchasing endangered grasslands, grassy woodlands and wetlands for addition to the National Reserve System - significantly increasing the reservation of these ecosystems in southeastern 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 two books (Innovation for 21st Century Conservation and Linking Australia’s Landscapes).

He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Deakin University where he is involved in a number of cooperative research projects ranging from investigating avian ecology in urban environments, aspects of reservation in freshwater ecosystems, conservation auditing, and the identification and establishment of marine protected areas. He owns, manages and conducts research on 130 ha of threatened box-ironbark woodland in south eastern Australia, which is home to numerous threatened species including Squirrel Glider, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Bush Stone-curlew and Euroa Guinea-flower.


Sydney Morning Herald: 20 Years Left: Mammals Plunge into Extinction

Australian Geographic: Northern Australian Mammals Face Extinction

ABC Radio PM program: Mammals in Decline in Northern Australia

The Age: The Natives Are Nestless



Crosthwaite, J., Fitzsimons, J., Stanley, J. & Greacen, J. (2013) ‘Networking the networks’: coordinating Conservation Management Networks in Victoria. In: Linking Australia’s Landscapes: Lessons and Opportunities from Large-scale Conservation Networks. (eds Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G.) pp. 209-220. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G. (eds) (2013) Linking Australia’s Landscapes: Lessons and Opportunities for Large-scale Conservation Networks. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G. (2013) Linking Australia’s landscapes: an introduction. In: Linking Australia’s Landscapes: Lessons and Opportunities from Large-scale Conservation Networks. (eds Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G.) pp. 3-6. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G. (2013) Challenges and opportunities for linking Australia’s landscapes: a synthesis. In: Linking Australia’s Landscapes: Lessons and Opportunities from Large-scale Conservation Networks. (eds Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G.) pp. 287-296. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G. (2013). Lessons from large-scale conservation networks in Australia. Parks 19.1, 115-125.

Fitzsimons, J. & Wescott, G. (2013) The importance of interdisciplinary research in conservation networks: lessons from south-eastern Australia. In: Linking Australia’s Landscapes: Lessons and Opportunities from Large-scale Conservation Networks. (eds Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G.). pp. 277-284. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Mackenzie, D. & Fitzsimons, J. (2013) From Danggali to Riverland: experiences from the Bookmark Biosphere Reserve, South Australia. In: Linking Australia’s Landscapes: Lessons and Opportunities from Large-scale Conservation Networks. (eds Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I. & Wescott, G.). pp. 65-74. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.


Elsner, W.K., Mitchell, A.T. & Fitzsimons, J.A. (2012) Distribution of the long-footed potoroo (Potorous longipes) and spot-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) in the Goolengook Forest, East Gippsland, Victoria. Australian Mammalogy 34, 100-107.

Figgis, P., Fitzsimons, J. & Irving, J. (eds) (2012) Innovation for 21st Century Conservation. Australian Committee for IUCN, Sydney.

Fitzsimons, J. (2012) Cows, cockies and atlases: use and abuse of biodiversity monitoring in environmental decision making. In: Biodiversity Monitoring in Australia (eds D.B. Lindenmayer & P. Gibbons). pp. 91–99. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Fitzsimons, J.A. (2012) Green Rosellas Platycercus caledonicus nesting in artificial structures. Australian Field Ornithology 29, 50-53.

Fitzsimons, J. & Looker, M. (2012). Innovative approaches to land acquisition and conservation management: the case of Fish River Station, Northern Territory. In: Innovation for 21st Century Conservation (eds Figgis, P., Fitzsimons, J. & Irving, J.). pp. 78-85. Australian Committee for IUCN, Sydney.

Fitzsimons, J.A., Meijaard, E., Hunow, I., Prawiradilaga, D., Thomas. J.L. & Tasirin, J.S. (2012) Diet of the Speckled Boobook Ninox punctulata in north Sulawesi, Indonesia. Forktail 28, 169-171.

Fitzsimons, J., Russell-Smith, J., James, G., Vigilante, T., Lipsett-Moore, G., Morrison, J. & Looker, M. (2012) Insights into the biodiversity and social benchmarking components of the Northern Australian fire management and carbon abatement programmes. Ecological Management & Restoration 13, 51-57.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Thomas, J.L. (2012) Ground-foraging techniques of Welcome Swallows Hirundo neoxena, including an instance of kleptoparasitism. Australian Field Ornithology 29, 160–165.

Halliday, L. Castley, J.G., Fitzsimons, J.A., Tran, C. & Warnken, J. (2012) Fire management on private conservation lands: Knowledge, perceptions and actions of landholders in eastern Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire 21, 197-209.

Lindenmayer, D.B, Gibbons, P., Bourke, M., Burgman, M., Dickman, C., Ferrier, S., Fitzsimons, J., Freudenberger, D., Garnett, S.T., Groves, C., Hobbs, R.J., Kingsford, R.T., Krebs, C., Legge, S., Lowe, A.J., McLean, R., Montambault, J., Possingham, H., Radford, J., Robinson, D., Smallbone, L., Thomas, D., Varcoe, T., Vardon, M., Wardle, G., Woinarski, J. & Zerger, A. (2012) Improving biodiversity monitoring. Austral Ecology 37, 285–294.


Aldous, A., Fitzsimons, J., Richter, B. & Bach, L. (2011) Droughts, floods and freshwater ecosystems: Evaluating climate change impacts and developing adaptation strategies. Marine and Freshwater Research 62, 223-231.

Argeloo, M. & Fitzsimons, J. (2011) Predation of a small passerine by the Purple-winged Roller Coracias temminckii, an endemic species of Sulawesi. Kukila 15, 115-117.

Coffey, B., Fitzsimons, J.A. & Gormly, R. (2011). Strategic public land use assessment and planning in Victoria, Australia: Four decades of trailblazing but where to from here? Land Use Policy 28, 306-313.

Fitzsimons, J.A. (2011) Mislabeling marine protected areas and why it matters – a case study of Australia. Conservation Letters 4, 340-345.

Fitzsimons, J.A. (2011) Predation on a Blotched Bluetongue Lizard (Tiliqua nigroletea) by a Highlands Copperhead (Austrelaps ramsayi) in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Herpetology Notes 4, 259-260.

Fitzsimons, J.A. (2011) Southward range expansion of the Mourning Gecko Lepidodactylus lugubris on mainland Australia and nearshore islands. Australian Zoologist 35, 619-621.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Antos, M.J. (2011) Ecological notes on the East Gippsland Burrowing Crayfish Engaeus orientalis, including burrow structure and associated fauna. Australian Zoologist 35, 853-857.

Fitzsimons, J.A., Antos, M.J. & Palmer, G.C. (2011) When more is less: Urban remnants support high bird abundance but diversity varies. Pacific Conservation Biology 17, 97–109.

Fitzsimons, J.A., Peake, P., Frood, D., Mitchell, M., Withers, N., White, M. and Webster, R. (2011) Flooding requirements for biodiversity values along the Victorian floodplain of the Murray Valley. Victorian Naturalist 128, 48¬-85.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Thomas, J.L. (2011) Fiji’s collared kingfishers (Todiramphus chloris vitensis) do hunt for fish in inland waters. Notornis 58, 163-164.

Fitzsimons, J.A., Thomas, J.L. & Argeloo, M. (2011) Occurrence and distribution of established and new introduced bird species in north Sulawesi, Indonesia. Forktail 27, 23-28.

Pasquini, L., Fitzsimons, J.A., Cowell, S., Brandon, K. & Wescott, G. (2011) The establishment of large private nature reserves by conservation NGOs: key factors for successful implementation. Oryx 45, 373–380.

Peake, P., Fitzsimons, J., Frood, D., Mitchell, M., Withers, N, White, M. & Webster, R. (2011) A new approach to determining environmental flow requirements: Sustaining the natural values of floodplains of the southern Murray-Darling Basin. Ecological Management & Restoration 12, 128-137.

Taylor MFJ, Sattler PS, Fitzsimons J, Curnow C, Beaver D, Gibson L, Llewellyn G (2011) Building Nature’s Safety Net 2011. The state of protected areas for Australia’s ecosystems and wildlife. WWF-Australia, Sydney.

Wescott, G. & Fitzsimons, J. (2011) Stakeholder involvement and interplay in coastal zone management and marine protected area planning. In: Marine Resources Management (eds Gullett, W., Schofield, C. & Vince, J.). pp. 225-238. LexisNexis Butterworths, Sydney.

Woinarski, J.C.Z., Legge, S., Fitzsimons, J.A., Traill, B.J., Burbidge, A.A., Fisher, A., Firth, R.S.C., Gordon, I.J., Griffiths, A.D., Johnson, C., McKenzie, N.L., Palmer, C., Radford, I., Rankmore, B., Ritchie, E., Ward, S. & Ziembicki, M. (2011) The disappearing mammal fauna of northern Australia: context, cause and response. Conservation Letters 4, 192-201.


Fitzsimons, J.A. (2010) Notes on the roost sites of the Sulawesi Masked Owl Tyto rosenbergii. Forktail 26, 142-145.

Fitzsimons, J., Legge, S., Traill, B. &Woinarski, J. (2010) Into Oblivion? The disappearing native mammals of northern Australia. The Nature Conservancy, Melbourne.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Rose, A.B. (2010) Diet of Powerful Owls Ninox strenua in inner city Melbourne parks, Victoria. Australian Field Ornithology 27, 76-80.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Thomas, J.L. (2010). Ctenotus regius (Regal Striped Skink). Predation. Herpetological Review 41, 76-77.


Antos, M.J., Fitzsimons, J.A. & Dutson, G. (2009) A high altitude observation of the Beautiful Firetail Stagonopleura bella from East Gippsland, Victoria. Corella 33, 18-21.

White, J.G., Fitzsimons, J.A. Palmer, G.C. & Antos, M.J. (2009) Surviving urbanization: Maintaining bird species diversity in urban Melbourne. Victorian Naturalist 126, 73-78.


Fitzsimons, J.A., Marshall, D. & Rose A.B. (2008) Diet of the Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica on the Patho Plains, northern Victoria. Australian Field Ornithology 25, 145-148.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Rose, A.B. (2008) Notes on the diet of the northern Masked Owl Tyto novaehollandiae kimberli in north Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 52, 148.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Wescott, G. (2008) Ecosystem conservation in multi-tenure reserve networks: The contribution of land outside of publicly protected areas. Pacific Conservation Biology 14, 250–262.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Wescott, G. (2008) Getting the measure of marine protected areas: Surface area or volume as measures for reserve system auditing? Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18, 518-526.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Wescott, G. (2008) Evolving governance arrangements in multi-tenure reserve networks. Environmental Conservation 35, 5-7.

Fitzsimons, J.A. & Wescott, G. (2008) The role of multi-tenure reserve networks in improving reserve design and connectivity. Landscape and Urban Planning 85, 163-173.

Fitzsimons, J.A., Williams, C., Walsh, V., FitzSimons, P. & U’Ren, G. (2008) Ecological attributes of strategic land acquisitions for addition to Victoria's public protected area estate (2006-2007). Victorian Naturalist 125, 140-149.

Mansergh, I., Cheal, D. & Fitzsimons, J.A. (2008) Future landscapes in south-eastern Australia: the role of protected areas and biolinks in adaptation to climate change. Biodiversity 9 (3-4), 59-70.

Marshall, D. & Fitzsimons, J.A. (2008) Challenges for native grassland conservation on Victoria’s Northern Plains. Australasian Plant Conservation 16(4), 24-25.

Palmer, G.C., Fitzsimons, J.A., Antos, M.J. & White, J.G. (2008) Determinants of native avian richness in suburban remnant vegetation: Implications for conservation planning. Biological Conservation 141, 2329-2341.

James Fitzsimons

Director of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy in Australia

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