John Benson (PhD)
Senior Plant Ecologist
Science & Public Programs
Species Ecology, Community Ecology, Threatened Species and Communities, Protected Area Establishment and Management, Natural Resource Management, Government NRM Regulation and Policy
Plant Ecology, Community Ecology, Vegetation Classification, Threatened Species, Nature Conservation, Policy and Regulation
Current research projects
- Classification and assessment of the vegetation of New South Wales (NSWVCA). This decade long project has described 600 plant communities stored on a 90 field database (see web site) that allows a range of query reports for listing plant communities by locations or other means. To date, the project has covered 78% or 11.5 of the 18 Australian Bioregions in NSW covering the arid and semi-arid NSW Western Plains, the temperate NSW South Western Slopes and the temperate / humid sub-tropical NSW North Western Slopes and western New England regions. Work has commenced on the NSW Southern Tablelands including the Australian Alps to complete the NSWVCA coverage of all eight inland NSW Catchment Management Authority areas in NSW. The RBGT is cooperating with other ecologists to extend the NSWVCA to the complex NSW coast and escarpment regions. The results from this long term research project are being incorporated into NSW Natural Resource regulatory tools via the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Vegetation Information System which will provide Internet access to the NSW vegetation classification, NSW floristic plot data and NSW vegetation mapping data.
- Member of an international working group developing ecosystem risk assessment criteria for the World Conservation Union (IUCN)
- Ecology of the Wollemi Pine
- Survey and monitoring of the threatened grasslands of the Liverpool Plains, North Western Slopes of New South Wales
- Botanical surveys and mapping of specific habitats such as rainforest types and serpentinite vegetation
- Advising NSW Government on vegetation EXTENT, TYPE and CONDITION.
- Benson, J.S., Richards, P., Waller, S. & Allen, C. (2010) New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Part 3 Plant communities in the Brigalow Belt South, Nandewar and western New England Bioregions: Version 3 of the NSWVCA database. Cunninghamia 11(4) 457-579. This paper includes a DVD with 1.6 gigabytes of PDF reports and the VCA database covering the vegetation of inland NSW. Version 3 describes 315 plant communities in the North West Slopes – west New England region of NSW in a 919 page report. The published paper is 112 pages in length. This represents four years of work over 11% of NSW.
- Jon Paul Rodríguez, Kathryn M. Rodríguez-Clark, Jonathan E. M. Baillie, Neville Ash, John Benson, Tim Boucher, Claire Brown, Neil Burgess, Ben Collen, Michael Jennings, David A. Keith, Emily Nicholson, Carmen Revenga, Mathieu Rouget, Tammy Smith, Mark Spalding, Belinda Reyers, Andrew Taber, Matt Walpole, Irene Zager and Tara Zamin (2011) Towards Red List Criteria for Threatened Ecosystems. Conservation Biology 25(1): 21-29.
- Benson J (2010) Knowledge, regulation and incentives in protecting temperate grassy woodlands: six lessons from New South Wales. In: Temperate Woodland Conservation and Management. (Eds D Lindenmayer, A Bennett and R Hobbs) pp. 343-352. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.
- Benson, J.S. (2008) New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Part 2 Plant communities in the NSW South-western Slopes Bioregion and update of NSW Western Plains plant communities. Version 2 of the NSWVCA database. Cunninghamia 10(4): 599-673 (includes CD with 800mb of reports).
- Benson, J.S. (2008) Classifying ecological communities and synthesizing data for natural resource management: some problems and potential solutions. Guest Editorial, Ecological Management & Restoration 9(2): 86-87.
- Benson, J.S. & Allen, C. (2007) Vegetation associated with the Wollemia nobilis (Araucariaceae). Cunninghamia 10(2): 255-262.
- Benson, J.S. (2006) New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Introduction - the classification, database, assessment of protected areas and threat status of plant communities. Cunninghamia 9(3): 331-382.
- Benson, J.S., Allen, C., Togher, C. & Lemmon, J. (2006) New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Part 1 Plant communities of the NSW Western Plains. Cunninghamia 9(3): 383-451 (includes CD with database and 600 mb of reports).
- Benson, J.S. (2001) Australian rangelands: managing for production and biodiversity. Pp 26-30, in (Wiseman, R and Hopkins, L. (eds) Sowing the Seeds for Sustainability IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge UK).
- Benson, J.S. & Ashby, E. (2000) The vegetation of the Guyra 1:100 000 map sheet New England Bioregion, New South Wales. Cunninghamia 6(3): 747-872.
- Benson, J.S. (1999) Setting the Scene: The Native Vegetation of New South Wales. Background paper No 1. Native Vegetation Advisory Council (Department of Land and Water Conservation: Sydney).
- Benson, J.S. & Redpath, P. (1997) The nature of pre-European native vegetation in Australia: a critique of Ryan, D.G., Ryan, J.R. & Starr, B.J. (1995) 'The Australian landscape - observations of explorers and early settlers'. Cunninghamia 5(2): 285-328.
- Davie, H. and Benson, J.S. (1997) The serpentine vegetation of the Woko-Glenrock region, New South Wales, Australia. The ecology of ultramafic and metalliferous areas. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Serpentine Ecology (ORSTOM: Noumea: New Caledonia).
- Benson, J.S. (1996) Threatened by discovery: research and management of the Wollemi Pine Wollemia nobilis Jones, Hill and Allen. Page 105-09 Back from the Brink: Refining the Threatened Species Recovery Process (edited by S. Stephens and S. Maxwell (Surrey Beattie and Sons: Sydney).
- Benson, J.S. (1994) The native grasslands of the Monaro region: Southern Tablelands of NSW. Cunninghamia 3(2): 609-650.
- Benson, J.S. (1993) The biology and management of Ooline (Cadellia pentastylis) (National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales: Hurstville).
- Benson, J.S. (1993) Past, present and future - the role of scientific knowledge in nature conservation. National Parks Journal 37 (1): 16-23.
- Benson, J.S. (1992) The distribution, abundance and conservation status of Grevillea beadleana (Proteaceae): an endangered species. Cunninghamia 2(4): 503-521.
- Benson, J.S. (1991) The effects of 200 years of European settlement on the vegetation and flora of New South Wales. Cunninghamia 2(3): 343-370.
- Benson, J.S. (1990) Australia's threatened plants. In Kennedy, M. (ed.) Australia's Endangered Species (Simon and Schuster: Australia) pp. 145-151.
- Benson, J.S. (1989) Establishing programs and priorities for the conservation of rare or threatened plants and plant associations in New South Wales. In Hicks, M. and Eiser, P. (eds.) The Conservation of Threatened Species and their Habitats. Occasional Paper No. 2 (Aust. Committee IUCN: Canberra).
- Benson, J.S. and Fallding, H. (1981). Vegetation survey of Brisbane Water National Park and environs. Cunninghamia 1(1): 79-113.