Dr Erin Bohensky

Dr Erin Bohensky is working to understand linkages in complex social and ecological systems.

Dr Erin Bohensky: integrating social and ecological information to understand and manage complex systems

Dr Erin Bohensky’s research integrates social and ecological information to understand and enhance the resilience of complex systems in Northern Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

  • 24 October 2008 | Updated 14 October 2011

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Drawing on her background in landscape and systems ecology, Dr Bohensky is working at multiple scales and locations to understand linkages in complex social and ecological systems and what this implies for building social-ecological resilience.  

In the Indigenous Livelihoods Focal Project, she is working with CSIRO colleagues and Indigenous co-researchers to integrate knowledge systems to learn how to improve natural resource-based livelihoods in Northern Australia and Melanesia – two regions with ecological similarities but significant socio-economic differences. Dr Bohensky plans to use network analysis approaches to understand spatial dimensions of important social-ecological links, and will use scenarios to elicit Indigenous and Western perceptions of how these links may change over time.

Dr Bohensky also coordinated field research in two regions of Indonesia, in which household surveys were conducted to inform an agent-based model of decision making in response to global and national drivers of change. She is developing an approach based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework to analyse households’ links to natural resources, including perceptions of resource importance.

In the Great Barrier Reef region, Dr Bohensky co-led a scenario planning process to help decision makers understand uncertainty affecting the region’s future. Dr Bohensky has also used a case study approach to identify factors related to the region’s social resilience to water quality change and policies to improve water quality.


Dr Bohensky joined CSIRO in Townsville in 2006 after completing her PhD at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

She has held the following positions:

  • Technical Advisor to the United Nations to assist African governments in undertaking integrated ecosystem assessments for poverty reduction, 2004-2006
  • Coordinator of Gariep Basin Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) in Southern Africa, an effort to provide decision makers with information about relationships between ecosystem services and human well-being at multiple scales, 2002-2005
  • Research Associate in Landscape Ecology, the University of California at Berkeley, 1999-2002
  • Assistant Editor, Melcher Media Inc., a publishing company in New York, 1995-1997

Academic qualifications

Dr Bohensky was awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Media and Environmental Studies
    The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 1994
  • Master of Environmental Management, Landscape Ecology
    Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA, 1999
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Environmental Ecology
    Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa, 2006
    Dr Bohensky’s dissertation was entitled: A Social-Ecological Systems Perspective on Water Management in South Africa.

Achievements, associations and affiliations

Dr Bohensky is a:

  • Member, Resilience Alliance Young Scholars, 2007 -
  • Member, Nippon Science Assessment Panel, Japan Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2006 -

Read more about CSIRO's research in Sustainable regional development.