Associate Professor Laura Sonter

Associate Professor

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science
+61 7 334 61646


Reconciling biodiversity conservation with development pressures is one of the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. This is particularly true given the myriad ways that human wellbeing directly depends on well-functioning ecosystems. My research seeks to understand where, when and how to manage and conserve landscapes, so as to beneift both nature and people. I use land use change models, coupled with remote sensing and GIS datasets, to predict how future development projects (e.g. mines, hydropower dams, transportation infrastructure) will impact biodiversity and ecosystem services. This information allows us to compare the costs and benefits of alternative management interventions and, ultimately, provides the knowledge needed to make more informed decisions. My research benefits from collaborating across disciplines (ecology, economics, engineering) and working alongside government and non-government organizations. I am currently conducting projects in Australia, Brazil and the USA.


  • Postgraduate Diploma in Mineral Resources, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours), The University of Queensland


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Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Kunz, Nadja C., Sonter, Laura J. and Moran, Chris J. (2022). OVERLAPPING AND INTERACTING WATER AND LAND RISKS IN MINING REGIONS. Routledge Handbook of the Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development. (pp. 349-366) London, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.4324/9781003001317-22

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor