Dr. Rebecca Runting

Senior Lecturer in Spatial Science | School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences | The University of Melbourne

Rebecca's research interests span spatial planning, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation and ecological economics. Her focus is on examining the economic and conservation value of different modelling and planning methods in complex environments, using case studies from Australia’s savanna's, coastal wetlands, and the tropical forests of Indonesian Borneo. 

Rebecca’s research on coastal wetlands has determined the value of using process-based models and high-resolution data for spatial planning under climate change. She has also developed approaches for integrating economic methods (ecosystem service markets and Modern Portfolio Theory) with conservation planning in this context. 

Her research on the island of Borneo analysed the potential of different planning strategies to achieve multiple competing public policy objectives. Rebecca is also exploring land-sparing and land-sharing strategies for forest management, while accounting for the spatial heterogeneity of biodiversity and ecosystem services. 

Rebecca currently holds an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship on designing robust strategies to achieve sustainable savannas under global change. This project aims to design approaches for financial incentive programs that are robust to uncertainties arising from global climate and economic change, while delivering multiple ecosystem services. This project will incorporate multiple uncertainties into the design of these programs, and test their performance using spatial simulations of grazing land within northern Australia’s highly variable savanna environment. 

Rebecca holds a PhD in Environmental Management (2017) from The University of Queensland, which focused on developing and evaluating strategies to manage ecosystem services under global change. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, Rebecca was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland.