James Fitzsimons is Senior Advisor, Global Conservation Strategies with the Global Protect Oceans, Lands and Waters division. His work includes policy and implementation of the global 30x30 protection target (including the 30x30 solutions toolkit) and other targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, management effectiveness and evolving policy on biodiversity credits.
He was previously director of conservation and science for the Australia Program, where he oversaw the organization’s conservation planning, science and policy functions for that country. This included major conservation programs in the vast tropical savannas of northern Australia, the diverse central deserts, temperate estuaries of southern Australia, the wetlands and floodplains of the Murray-Darling Basin, and urban landscapes and the development and delivery of a major protected area establishment strategy.
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 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).
He is an adjunct professor at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University and at the School of Law, University of Tasmania, where he is involved in a number of cooperative research projects ranging from legal and policy aspects of privately protected areas, global and national conservation policy and implementation, and species ecology. He owns, manages and conducts research on 130 ha of threatened box-ironbark woodland in southeastern Australia, which is home to numerous threatened species including swift parrot, squirrel glider, brush-tailed phascogale, bush stone-curlew and Euroa Guinea-flower.