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Max Finlayson

Max Finlayson is a wetland ecologist with extensive international experience in wetland management and restoration, including addressing problems arising from water pollution, invasive species, impacts from mining and agriculture, climate change, and impacts on biodiversity and human wellbeing. He has worked extensively on the inventory, assessment and monitoring of wetlands and rivers, and strongly supported the involvement of local people in wetland management. He has further engaged with policy-making and strategic assessments of large wetlands and rivers in Australia and elsewhere, and been an independent advisor to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for more than three decades.

Formal Qualifications: PhD (or Doctor of Philosophy)

Employment: Self-employed

Date joined ESAP – 2010


General Background

Max Finlayson is a wetland ecologist with extensive national and international experience in the science, management and policy responses to water pollution, mining and agricultural impacts, invasive species, climate change, and ecosystem services and human wellbeing. He has participated in global assessments conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Global Environment Outlook, and Water Management in Agriculture. Since the early 1990s he has been an independent technical advisor to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and participated in 10 Conferences of the Contracting Parties to the Convention.

He has been actively involved in community-based organisations and scientific societies, and with scientific publishing, and has worked with governments and industry to investigate the causes of ecosystem change and management responses in many large wetlands and rivers around the world. This has included inventory, assessment and monitoring. His current research interests include:

  • Vulnerability and adaptation of wetlands and rivers to climate change
  • Sequestration of carbon in wetlands for mitigating climate change
  • Participatory involvement of local communities in the management of complex social-ecologic systems
  • Integrated management, including restoration of lakes and their basins
  • Supporting the inclusion of rights of nature in river and wetland policy and management