Dr Leonie Seabrook

Research Fellow

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 334 64569


I am a landscape ecologist and ecological historian. My research background is in modelling the drivers and patterns of landscape change. I seek to understand the interactions between species and their environments, as influenced by multiple social-ecological processes over time. I am interested in applied research which can contribute towards developing management plans that deliver successful outcomes in real-world social, economic and legislative conditions.

Research Interests

  • Landscape ecology
    Identifying the key habitat/environmental attributes for species and how these might vary with climate change, e.g. the effect of increasing droughts or heat extremes on local population survival. This includes the identification of potential refugia based on natural environmental variations and habitat persistence.
  • Conservation science
    Identifying where and how it is practical and efficient to conserve species, including outside protected areas. This includes finding conservation opportunities that motivate the involvement of local landholders, as well as those that maximise conservation of native biodiversity in a location. I am interested in using spatial optimisation techniques to effectively identify potential areas of interest as part of the planning process.
  • Ecological history
    To understand the trajectory of present landscapes and conditions, we need to know what has occurred in the past in terms of management, changes in ecosystem composition, changes in environmental conditions, etc. To this end, ecological history is a key research tool that allows us to examine what has happened and why, in terms of biophysical, social, economic, political and cultural drivers.

Research Impacts

My research into the effects of drought and habitat loss on koala populations in SW Queensland contributed important empirical evidence to a decision by the Australian Federal Government in 2012 to list koala populations in Queensland, NSW and the ACT as vulnerable to extinction. In collaboration with colleagues on this research project, we produced management guidelines to help conserve koalas in SW Queensland into the future.

The work I am doing at present looking at the interaction of deforestation and regional climate change in SE Asia will be applied in guiding reforestation projects, whether as part of carbon sequestration schemes, alternative livelihoods or biodiversity conservation. The use of reforestation to mitigate global climate change has an important role to play in adaptation planning.


  • BA (Geography), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor Arts (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • PhD, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Morrison, T., Hettiarachchi, M., Seabrook, L. and McAlpine, C. (2017). Environmental change and social learning. In The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology () Hoboken, New Jersey, United States: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781118786352

  • McAlpine, Clive A., Seabrook, Leonie, Morrison, Tiffany H. and Rhodes, Jonathan R. (2013). Strengthening landscape ecology's contribution to a sustainable environment. In Landscape Ecology for Sustainable Environment and Culture (pp. 21-37) Dordrecht , The Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6530-6_2

  • McAlpine, Clive A., Seabrook, Leonie M., Adams-Hosking, Christine, Hartley, Karri H. and Skytus, Jozef (2012). Climate change: lessons from Copenhagen and Cancun, and implications for Australia, its regional ecosystems and wildlife. In Daniel Lunney and Pat Hutchings (Ed.), Wildlife and climate change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna (pp. 1-2) Mosman, N.S.W., Australia: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.

  • Seabrook, Leonie, Etter, Andres and McAlpine, Clive (2010). Environmental history. In Barney Warf (Ed.), Encyclopedia of geography (pp. 1-7) Thousand Oaks, CA, U.S.A.: Sage Publications.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Bowen, Michiala, McAlpine, Clive, Seabrook, Leonie, House, Alan and Smith, Geoffrey (2009). Bird community recovery in sub-tropical regrowth woodlands. In: Ecology in a Changing Climate: Two Hemispheres - One Globe. 10th International Congress of Ecology, Brisbane, Australia, (). 16-21 August 2009.

  • McAlpine, Clive A., Price, Bronwyn, Seabrook, Leone, Rhodes, Jonathan, Bowen, Michiala, Powell, Owen, Ryan, Justin, Hosking, Christine, Dahl, Kelsey, Smith, Andrew, Robertson, Oliver and Butler, Sarah (2009). How do we make landscape ecology an integrated, problem solving science?. In: Abstracts: Concurrent Oral Presentations. 10th International Congress of Ecology (INTECOL). 10th International Congress of Ecology (INTECOL), Brisbane, Australia, (). 16-21 August 2009.

  • Bowen, M. E., House, A. P. N., McAlpine, C. A., Seabrook, L. and Smith, G. (2009). Relative importance of landscape context of regrowth forests for woodland birds: case study of fragmented brigalow landscapes, Queensland, Australia. In: Making Change in a Changing World. Proceedings of the 19th Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration International. 19th Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) International 2009 World Conference on Ecological Restoration, Perth, Western Australia, (). 23-27 August 2009.

  • Seabrook, L., McAlpine, C., Baxter, G., Bradley, A., Rhodes, J., Price, B. and Lunney, D (2008). The conservation of widely distributed species: Implications of the differences between western and eastern koala populations. In: Proceedings of the Australian Rangelands Society 15th Biennial Conference. The Australian Rangelands Society, 15th Biennial Conference, Charters Towers, Australia, (). 28th September - 2nd October, 2008.

  • van Klinken, Rieks D., Seabrook, Leonie, Smith, Carl, Ryan, Justin and McAlpine, Clive (2008). Using spatial models and a Bayesian belief network to predict risk of Parkinsonia invasion at a landscape scale in northern Australia. In: R.D. van Klinken, V. A. Osten, F. D. Panetta and J. C. Scanlan, Proceedings of 16th Australian Weeds Conference : Weed Management 2008: hot topics in the tropics.. 16th Australian Weeds Conference, Cairns Convention Centre, North Queensland, (194-194). 18-22 May, 2008.

  • Seabrook, L., McAlpine, C. A. and Phinn, S. (2003). An ecological history of koala habitat in the Noosa Shire, south-east Queensland, 1860-1997. In: Proceedings of the Australian Koala 2003 Annual Conference. Australian Koala 2003 Annual Conference, Noosa, Queensland, (). 2003.

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision