Maria Jose Martinez-Harms


Master, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, July 2007-July 2009
PhD, University of Queensland, September 2012 – current

My main research interest is the integration of ecosystem services into conservation and management decision making. Ecosystem services defined as the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems have become an important concept in science and policy as decision makers have to plan for a growing demand of ecosystem services for multiple stakeholders. Despite the increasing interest on ecosystem services these are still lacking in most policy support tools.

The focus of my PhD research is to contribute in making the ecosystem services concept more operational for policy issues applying the theory and principles of structured decision making. In the first chapter we reviewed the ecosystem services literature to align the ecosystem services paradigm with a comprehensive framework for decision making. In the following chapters we will apply this framework to address the key shortcomings identified in the review. One of the key challenges that we found in the review is that few studies are embedded in a social process designed to address stakeholders needs. We will address this challenge by developing a participatory approach for the assessment of ecosystem services involving multidisciplinary scientific expert knowledge and decision makers.

Information on the spatial and temporal distribution of ecosystem services is fundamental in order to make informed decisions regarding the management and conservation of the supply and demand on ecosystem services. In this study we will develop such knowledge assessing spatial and temporal changes in ecosystem services resulting from the application of different potential decisions represented by participatory scenarios. The outcomes of this research will be highly contingent for ecosystem services research providing an applied example to inform and guide stakeholders in integrating ecosystem services in policy and decision making.

This PhD project is supervised by Dr Kerrie Wilson, Professor Hugh Possingham, Dr. Jonathan Rhodes and Dr Brett Bryan (CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences).

This project is supported through a Chilean Postgraduate Award (Becas Chile), the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions Postgraduate Award, and a CSIRO Integrative Natural Resource Management Postgraduate Fellowship.


Martinez-Harms M.J. & P. Balvanera. (2012). Methods for mapping Ecosystem Service supply: a review. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 8 (1-2): 17-25. DOI:10.1080/21513732.2012.663792

Balvanera, P., A. Castillo, M. J. Martínez-Harms. (2011). Ecosystem services. En: Dirzo, R., H. Mooney, G. Ceballos Young, H. (Eds.). Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests: Biology and Conservation. Island Press. 300p. DOI:10.5822/978-1-61091-021-7_15

Martínez-Harms, M. J. & R. Gajardo. 2008. Ecosystem value in the Western Patagonia Protected Areas. Journal for Nature Conservation 16: 72-87.

Conference Presentations

Martinez-Harms M.J., Bryan B.A., Balvanera P., Law E., Rhodes J., Possingham H. 2013. Making decisions for ecosystem services. Ecosystem Services Partnership Annual Meeting. August 26th to 29th, 2013. Bali, Indonesia.

Martinez-Harms M.J. & Balvanera P. Methods for Mapping Ecosystem Services Supply. Student Conference on Conservation Science. January 21st to 31st, 2013. Brisbane, Australia.

Balvanera P., Arellano L., Ayala B., Cotler H., Martínez-Harms M.J., Mora F., Siddique I., Trilleras J., Quijas S. 2011. Management effects on ecosystem service supply: the case of a tropical dry forest. AGU Fall Meeting. December 5th to 9th, 2011. San Francisco, California, USA.

Martinez-Harms M.J., S. Quijas & P. Balvanera. 2010. Mapping biodiversity and ecosystem services in a Mexican watershed. International meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. July 19th to 23rd, 2010 Bali, Indonesia.

Balvanera, P. S. Quijas, M.J. Martinez-Harms, B. Schmid. 2009. Plant diversity and ecosystem services: moving from small to landscape spatial scales. Diversitas Meeting, Biodiversity and Society. October 2nd to 7th, 2009 Cape Town, South Africa.

Martinez-Harms M.J.; P. Balvanera. 2009. Mapping ecosystem services within a Mexican watershed. 94th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. August 13th to 16th, 2009 Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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