Dr Anita Smyth, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems

Dr Anita Smyth is applying ecological expertise to positively integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services within natural resource management.

Dr Anita Smyth: managing native biodiversity for ecosystem services

Dr Anita Smyth is using ecological and modelling expertise, and experience in government planning for biodiversity and natural resource management to find solutions for policy development in managing native biodiversity and ecosystem function for ecosystem services.

  • 16 September 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Anita Smyth is a Senior Research Scientist leading and conducting multidisciplinary and inter-agency research based at the Waite Research Institute, in Urrbrae, Adelaide, South Australia.

Her work aims to uncover a balance between ecosystem services, sustainable harvesting of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem function in production landscapes.

Since 1997, Dr Smyth has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters in books and technical reports.

Dr Smyth also seeks to deliver scientific information and new knowledge from her research via:

  • conceptual frameworks
  • methodological approaches
  • information on management implications
  • follow up adoption of recommendations.

Her current research covers the areas of:

  • ecosystem management
  • biodiversity monitoring and assessment
  • biodiversity incentives
  • ecosystem services assessment.

Dr Smyth's current and recent research projects include:

  • experimental assessment of whether water point management will improve rangelands biodiversity and develop a performance metric to monitor outcomes (ecosystem management)
  • surveying the issues affecting biodiversity incentive metric design in Australia (biodiversity incentives)
  • developing methods for identifying, selecting and interpreting indicators for assessing biodiversity condition in the South Australian arid rangelands (ecosystem services assessment / biodiversity monitoring and assessment)
  • scoping a pilot biodiversity incentive metric with the intent of a rangelands-wide application (ecosystem services assessment / biodiversity incentives)
  • exploring the influence of buffel grass on biodiversity in central Australia (ecosystem management).

Dr Smyth is presently an Assistant Editor of the international journal Austral Ecology.


Dr Smyth has 14 years research experience in agricultural, rangelands and forest ecosystems covering:

  • biodiversity and ecosystem management and planning
    • bioregional biodiversity assessments
    • ecosystem services assessment, biodiversity incentive metrics
    • biodiversity surrogacy and indicator selection
    • place prioritisation for biodiversity monitoring sites
    • regional NRM capacity assessment
    • arid biodiversity and climate change
  • habitat fragmentation and loss
  • predictive species and community modelling.

She has worked in the university and public service sectors.
Dr Smyth began work at CSIRO in 2001 at the Alice Springs laboratory as a Research Scientist and became a Senior Research Scientist in 2004.

Her initial work involved organising a national technical workshop to assess the status of biodiversity monitoring in Australia’s rangelands.

This work has led to her current activities and earlier projects including:

  • the development of grazing land management zones for managing total grazing pressure in the rangelands (ecosystem management)
  • the development of a framework for assessing regional capacity to implement natural resource management (ecosystem management)
  • the creation of a method for identifying priority places for monitoring biodiversity at the regional level in the arid rangelands (biodiversity monitoring and assessment)
  • the investigation of general dissimilarity modelling to identify a regional biodiversity surrogate based on ecological communities (biodiversity monitoring and assessment).

Academic qualifications

Dr. Smyth has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours from Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland in 1983
  • Doctorate from The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland in 1997.


Dr Smyth has received several awards during her research career including:

  • CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Service from Science award in 2005
  • Ian Potter Foundation Travel Grant in 1996
  • Australian Postgraduate Award in 1991
  • MA Ingram Trust Travel Award in 1983
  • Ecological Society of Australia Travel Award in 1983.

Since 1997, Dr Smyth has published a book and over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters in books and technical reports.

Read about more about CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.