Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER)

AUSCCER Nick Gill 2017 profile

Nicholas Gill 

POSITION: Associate Professor of Environmental Geography
OFFICE: 41.245
PHONE:+61 2 4221 4165
TWITTER: @DrNickGill

Link to UOW Scholars Page 



  • BA (Hons) Flinders University of South Australia (1992)
  • PhD University of NSW (2000)

Previous Positions

  • 1993 - 1995: Associate Lecturer in Geography, University College, UNSW, Australian Defence Force Academy.
  • 1999: Assistant Curator, National Museum of Australia.

Research Interest and Expertise

  • Social and cultural aspects of land and natural resource management.
  • Rural cultures of nature and environmental stewardship.
  • Invasive plant management in socially diverse rural landscapes.
  • Bushfire management and risk in high amenity rural landscapes.
  • Ethnographic, qualitative, and survey research

I am a human geographer with interests in environmental management and rural cultures. My research focuses on rural areas, particularly on cultural and social aspects of land management, land use change, and environmental conflict. In my research I aim to bridge conventional natural resource management research and research on cultures of nature. I am interested in how people occupy landscapes and seek to inhabit, use, protect, and conserve those landscapes, usually simultaneously, and in ways that defy neat compartmentalisation of these activities. In the past my research has focused on arid rangelands, outback mythology, pastoralism (or ranching), Aboriginal pastoralism, and Aboriginal pastoral history. Much of this research focussed on the responses of pastoralists to social and economic change, especially environmental and Aboriginal land rights movements.

My current research turns to land ownership and land use change in rural areas where agriculture is declining and lifestyle-oriented rural landholders are buying land and fundamentally changing land use and management. This research engages with debates over whether this helps or hinders natural resource management and protection in rural landscapes and questions such as:

  • What’s happening to nature where agriculture is retreating and rural lifestylers are moving in?
  • How do different forms of environmental stewardship develop and what social and environmental processes influence this?
  • What are the social institutions developing and influencing natural resource management by lifestylers?

I am exploring questions such as these through two projects looking at invasive plant (weed) management and bushfire risk and amenity. Bushfires and weeds help to ‘crack open’ the issues implicit in these questions because they are highly mobile, they challenge bounded notions of property and action, they suggest and demand collective interests and responses, they confront landowners with ecological dynamism, they call into doubt ideals of rural life, they demand choices, time, money, and labour, and they embody questions of what and who belongs and of the terms of that belonging.

Current Projects

Mobile Ecologies Complex Landscapes
This project investigates the effects of demographic and land-use changes on invasive plant species distribution and management in rural Australia. Amenity migration –the movement of often affluent or suburban populations to rural areas for lifestyle reasons – is changing rural landscapes and the social and environmental conditions within which invasive plants are found and managed. The project involves social science researchers from the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) and the Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management (ICBEM) based at the University of Wollongong. Funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Program. Read more about the Mobile Ecologies Complex Landscapes project.

Coexisting with Fire
This project aims to characterise and map residents’ values and amenity associated with native vegetation on and surrounding properties at the bushland/settlement interface in areas where bushfire risk is relatively high. The project involves social science researchers from the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER) and fire ecologists and biologists from the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires (CERMB) based at the University of Wollongong. Funded the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre. Read more about the Coexisting with Fire project.

Recent Publications

For full publication and citation list see UOW Research Online>>

  • Edwards, A. and Gill, N. (2016) Living with landscape fire: landholder understandings of agency, scale and control within fiery entanglements, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34(6), 1080-1097
  • Head, L., Gibson, C., Gill, N., Carr, C. and Waitt, G. (2016) A meta-ethnography to synthesise household cultural research for climate change response, Local Environment. 22(12), 1467–1481 DOI:10.1080/13549839.2016.1139560
  • Graham, S, Gill, N, Cross, R, Simpson, V, Taylor, E, Rogers, S. (2016) Weed hygiene practices in NSW: Knowledge and practices of landholders, public land managers, weed contractors and agricultural transport operators. UNSW, Sydney.
  • Ren, H. and Gill, N. (2016) Garden-related environmental behavior and weed management: an Australian case study, Society and Natural Resources, 29 (2), 148-165.
  • Klepeis. P. and Gill, N. (2016) The paradox of engagement: land stewardship and invasive weeds in amenity landscapes, in Taylor, L. and Hurley, P. (eds.) A Political Ecology of Sprawl: Understanding Rural to Exurban Landscape Transitions, Springer, pp.221-243. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-29462-9_10
  • Edwards, A. and Gill, N (2015) Divergent Approaches to Resolving Pressures on DRR and NRM Programs: A Case Study of Sustainable Fire Management Training, Geoforum, 65, 213–221. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.08.001
  • Gill, N., Osman P., Head, L., Moyer, M., Waitt, G., Gibson, C. Harada, T. (2015) Looking Beyond Installation: Why households struggle to make the most of solar hot water systems, Energy Policy, 87, 83-94. DOI:10.1016/j.enpol.2015.08.038 – Open Access
  • Gill, N., Dun, O, Brennan-Horley, C. and Eriksen, C. (2015) Landscape preferences, amenity and bushfire risk in New South Wales, Australia, Environmental Management, 56 (3) 738–753. DOI 10.1007/s00267-015-0525-x.
  • Ren, H. and Gill, N. (2015) Movement of Garden Plants from Market to Bushland: Gardeners’ Plant Procurement and Garden-related Behaviour, Geographical Research, 53(2), 134-144.
  • Head, L., Larson, B.M.H., Hobbs, R., Atchison, J., Gill, N., Kull, C. and Rangan, H. (2015) Living with invasive plants in the Anthropocene: the importance of understanding practice and experience, Conservation and Society, 13(3), 311-318.
  • Ikutegbe, V., Gill, N., and Klepeis, P. (2015) Same but different: sources of natural resource management advice for lifestyle oriented rural landholders, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Management, 58(9), 1530-1543., ISI 41/98
  • Bradstock, R.A., Price, O.F., Penman, T.D., Penman, S., Gill, N., Dun, O., Brennan-Horley, C., Eriksen, C. (2014) Social Construct of Fuels in the Interface (Project One) Final Report, Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, East Melbourne,
  • Gill, N. (2014) Making Country Good: Environmental Change and Stewardship in Central Australian Pastoral Culture, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39(2), pp. 265-277.
  • Gibson, C. Head, L, Gill, N., Waitt, G, Farbotko, C. (2013) Household Sustainability: Challenges and Dilemmas in Everyday Life, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham
  • Head, L, Farbotko, C., Gibson, C., Gill, N. and Waitt, G. (2013) Zones of friction, zones of traction: the connected household in climate change and sustainability policy, Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 20(4), 351–362.
  • Klepeis, P., Scull, P., LaLonde, T., Svajlenka, S. and Gill, N. (2013) Changing Forest Recovery Dynamics in the Northeastern United States, Area, 45(2), 239-248
  • Abrams, J., Gosnell, H., Gill, N., and Klepeis, P. (2012) Re-creating the Rural, Reconstructing Nature: Environmental Implications of Amenity Migration: An International Literature Review, Conservation and Society, 10(3), 270-84.
  • Gill, N., Adams, M, Eriksen, C. (2012) Engaging with the (un)familiar: Field teaching in a multi-campus teaching environment, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 36(2), 259-275.
  • Gill, N. and Klepeis, P. (2011) Data Summary: Living, Working, and Playing on the Land Survey, School of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Wollongong, Wollongong.
  • Eriksen, C., Gill, N. and Bradstock, R. (2011) Trial by Fire: Natural Hazards, Mixed-Methods and Cultural Research, Australian Geographer, 42(1)
  • Eriksen, C., Gill, N, and Head, L. (2010) The Gendered Dimensions of Bushfire in ‘New’ Rural Landscapes, Journal of Rural Studies, 26 (4), 332-342.
  • Eriksen, C. and Gill, N. (2010) Bushfire and everyday life: examining the awareness-action 'gap' in changing rural landscapes, Geoforum, 41, 814-825.
  • Gill, N., Klepeis, P. and Chisholm, L., (2010) Stewardship among lifestyle oriented rural landowners, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 53(3). 317-334.
  • Gill, N., Waitt, G. and Head, L (2009) Local engagements with urban bushland: moving beyond bounded practice for urban biodiversity management, Landscape and Urban Planning, 93, 184-193
  • Klepeis, P., Gill, N. and Chisholm, L. (2009) Emerging Amenity Landscapes: Invasive Weeds and Land Subdivision in Rural Australia, Land Use Policy, 26(2), 380-392.
  • Gill, N. (2005), Life and Death in Australian ‘Heartlands’: Pastoralism, Ecology and Rethinking the Outback. Journal of Rural Studies, 21(1), 39-53.

Research Grants

2013 - 2015: Mobile ecologies, complex landscapes: cultural environmental research to understand and enhance invasive plant management in high amenity rural areas (Australian Research Council Discovery Grant 2012, DP130102588)
With Laurie Chisholm

2012 - 2014: Co-existing with fire: managing risk and amenity at the rural/urban interface (Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre)
With Ross Bradstock, Christine Eriksen, and Owen Price.

2010: Evaluation of the Nature Conservation Council’s ‘Hotspots’ community bushfire education and training program [PhD scholarship and project support] (Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre)

2009 - 2012: Making less space for carbon: cultural research for climate change mitigation and adaptation (Australian Research Council Discovery Grant 2008, DP0986041)
With Gordon Waitt, Chris Gibson, Lesley Head


  • GEOG224 Rural and Regional Geography: social change and policy and GEOG226 Society and Change in Rural and Regional Australia.
  • EESC308 Environmental and Heritage Management. 

In my teaching I focus on creating opportunities for students through fieldtrips and partnerships for learning. I primarily realise this through fieldtrips and associated tasks. Fieldtrips are traditional tools of geography teaching; I have reinvigorated them for delivery to regional campuses and to engage students with community members and groups. At different times this has led to students undertaking and investigating community-based environmental restoration through collaboration with Conservation Volunteers Australia, participating in multi-campus fieldtrips investigating rural and regional issues across University of Wollongong campuses in the Southern Highlands and on the NSW South Coast, and undertaking historical research for a local heritage group in Wollongong. I have written about some of this teaching work in theJournal of Geography in Higher Education  and Environmental Management and Restoration.

Research Student Supervision

  • Ren Hu: Australian agricultural restructuring and farmers’ responses: a case study of the Illawarra region, New South Wales, PhD
  • Adam Woods: The applications and function of Citizen Science in Growing Community Based Knowledge, MPhil
  • Marc Llewellyn: An Examination of the Relationships that the People of Rarotonga have with Native and Non-Native Species; in order to Inform Conservation Strategy on the Island, PhD
  • Razia Sultana: Urban Green Infrastructure in the Global South: Adapting Slums to Climate Change in Dhaka, Bangladesh, PhD
  • Shefali Juneja Lakhina: Community Resilience on the Move: Co-learning Disaster Resilience with Refugees and Migrants in the Illawarra, PhD
  • Shaun McKiernan: Amenity migration and the changing nature of invasive plant management: a case study of Bega Valley, New South Wales, Australia, PhD 2018
  • Paul Marshall: Strengthening biodiversity: Examining volunteer engagement in local government community nurseries, MEnvSc, 2017
  • Victoria Ikutegbe: A phenomenological study of gardening practices and invasive plant management in the Sydney Basin, PhD, 2016
  • Amanda Edwards: More-than-human knowing, showing and sharing in human/landscape fire relationships, PhD, 2016
  • Ren Hu: Gardening and Weed Management in Suburban Wollongong MEnvSc, 2014
  • Mohammed Alam: Invasive Plant Management and Climate Change in High Amenity Rural Landscapes, MSc, 2013
  • Helen Wilson: Practising the Green Public Sphere: a Case Study of the Illawarra Escarpment, MSc, 2012
  • Rohan Wickramasuriya Denagamage: Developing and testing new spatio-temporal modelling techniques to explore the dynamics of changing rural landscapes in Australia, PhD, 2011
  • Christine Eriksen: Playing with Fire? Bushfire and Everyday Life in Changing Rural Landscapes, PhD, 2010
  • Aree Suwanmanee: Natural Resource Management Policy Implementation at the Local Level: Tensions and Contradictions in and around a Thai National Park, PhD, 2009
  • Emma McIntyre: Evaluating the Use of GIS by Public Participants in Environmental Decision-making Processes: A Case Study Approach, PhD, 2007

Research Presentations 

  • 2014   Association of American Geographers Conference, Tampa, April 8-12.Transformational Paper: Adaptation on Australian Rangelands: Scaling Up Climate-Smart Agriculture Through Social Networks and Multiple Loop Learning (Gosnell, H, Gill, N. and Moyer, M.)
  • 2014   Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, Research Advisory Forum, Hobart, May 23-24. Paper: Co-existing with fire: managing risk and amenity  at the rural/urban interface (Gill, N., Bradstock, R. Price, O., and Eriksen, C.)
  • 2012  Association of American Geographers Conference, New York, February 24-28. Paper: Engaging with the (un)familiar: Field teaching in a multi-campus teaching environment (Gill, N., Adams, M. and Eriksen, C.)
  • 2011  Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, University of Wollongong, July 3-6. Paper: Invasive Plant Management in Amenity Landscapes: Landholder Typologies and Activities (Gill, N., Lake, E., Chisholm, L., Klepeis, P, Dolnicar, S, Alam, M.)
  • 2011  Association of American Geographers Conference, Seattle, April 12-16. Paper: Invasive Plant Management in Amenity Landscapes: Landholder Typologies and Activities (Gill, N., Lake, E., Chisholm, L., Klepeis, P, Dolnicar, S.)
  • 2011  Invited Panellist: ‘Planning Paradise: Politics and Visioning landscape in Oregon’, by Peter Walkers and Patrick Hurley, University of Arizona Press.
  • 2010  Agri-Food Network Conference, Monash University, 29 November- 1 December. Paper: Invasive Plant Management in Amenity Landscapes (Gill, N., Lake, E., Chisholm, L Klepeis, P.)
  • 2010  Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires Research Seminar, Rural Fire Service Headquarters, Sydney, 29 July. Paper: Trial by Fire? Natural Hazards, Mixed-Methods and Cultural Research in Changing Rural Landscapes (Gill, N and Eriksen, C.) 

Professional Service and Memberships

  • Editorial board, Geoforum. 

Awards and Honours

  • 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement.
  • 2004 Institute of Australian Geographers Postgraduate Award: For a paper based on a postgraduate thesis and published in Australian Geographical Studies.
  • 1994 Institute of Australian Geographers, Honours Award: Best Essay based upon an Honours thesis and published in Australian Geographical Studies.
Last reviewed: 22 January, 2018


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