Associate professor, The University of Queensland

James is the co-chair of the IUCN SSC Climate Change Taskforce and has recently been elected the global president-elect of the Society for Conservation Biology. He is a Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland.

He is currently Director of the Climate Change program for the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in New York. James oversees WCS efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation. The climate adaptation team provides technical expertise and helps incorporate anticipated impacts of climate change into the planning and implementation of conservation projects throughout WCS’s landscapes, seascapes, and species conservation programs. The climate mitigation team overseas diverse portfolio of REDD+ demonstration projects around the world and works to ensure that these inform the design of REDD+ systems through UNFCCC negotiations, national REDD+ readiness processes, and voluntary certification standard.

They work throughout WCS’s landscape, seascape, and species conservation programs in Africa, South America, Oceania, Asia and North America. The team also works with governments, multilateral institutions and private landholders to help promote the conservation of natural ecosystems as a cost-effective and practical means of addressing the impacts of climate change on humans and wildlife.

James began working with UQ as a postdoctoral fellow. In this role he worked closely with different government agencies and environmental NGOs to prioritise conservation investment in different countries. James appointment as an Honorary Associate Professor at UQ in 2011 has allowed this research to continue and expand with his role at WCS.

Brief CV
James is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Military College. He completed his doctorate at the Oxford University in 2004, where funded by a Rhodes Scholarship he explored the effects of habitat fragmentation on birds in Madagascar and Australia. Since then, he has worked as a post doctoral fellow at the University of California (San Diego) and as a senior campaigner for The Wilderness Society in Australia.

About the Wildlife Conservation Society
Founded in 1895, the WCS has the clear mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe. Its story began in the early 1900s when it successfully helped the American bison recover on the Western Plains. Today, it protects many of the world’s iconic creatures, including gorillas in the Congo, tigers in India, wolverines in the Yellowstone Rockies, and ocean giants.

Since its founding, WCS has forged the power of its global conservation work and the management of its five parks in New York City to create the world’s most comprehensive conservation organization. It currently manages about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries, and educates millions of visitors at five institutions in New York City: the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo.


  • –present
    Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland
  • –present
    Director of the Climate Change program, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York