Cristina Estima Ramalho

Dr, Dr, Hons(Bio) Lisbon , MSc(GIS) LisbonTech , PhD W.Aust .

  • The University of Western Australia (M090), 35 Stirling Highway, Rm G18, Botany Building, Crawley campus

    6009 Perth


  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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Personal profile


I am a postdoctoral research fellow with the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the National Environmental Science Program. My work is inter-disciplinary and focuses on how we can better plan, design and manage urban environments in order to make these more liveable and sustainable places. I am particularly interested on 1) understanding how the design of urban green spaces can better incorporate interdisciplinary knowledge on the socio-ecological benefits of those spaces, 2) integration of biodiversity conservation and human-Nature connection values in urban green space and urban forest management, 3) conservation of remnant biodiversity, 4) understanding the contribution of biodiversity to sense of place, and 5) integration of Indigenous knowledge in urban planning and environmental management.  

Another key and long-term research interest has been spatial ecology. Before starting this postdoc position in January 2016, I worked for three years at the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The common denominator to the several projects I worked on was the use of spatial ecology frameworks and tools to address specific ecological questions. Projects included spatial conservation prioritization using Marxan, analysis of habitat fragmentation in the Perth Metropolitan Area, use of Maxent species distribution models to understand potential impacts of future climate change and to support phylogeographic inferences, development of topo-climatic spatial surfaces using ibutton technology, population viability analysis, and citizen science.

In my PhD (2012), I analysed the effects of urbanization-driven fragmentation on remnant Banksia woodland plant communities in the Perth Metropolitan Area. There started my discovery journey and love affair for the south western Australian flora and landscapes, and their unique evolutionary history.

Prior to coming to Australia and after completion of a Biology degree at the University of Lisbon, I worked in a Portuguese environmental consultancy company as a botanist and GIS ecologist (2004-2007), and at the Technical University of Lisbon as a research fellow in a project using geostatistical modelling to map the atmospheric deposition of heavy metals using lichens and mosses as bio-monitors (2003-2004).

Teaching overview

Since 2016, I am an invited lecturer to the unit LACH 4423 Ecological Systems for MSc students of Landscape Architecture. The lectures I deliver focus on concepts of ecological theory that are relevant for urban planning and design; aspects related with the biogeography, natural and human history of the South-western Australia that are relevant to urban planning and design in the region; ecological design and George's Seddon legacy in this field.

Over the years, I have also lectured and taught in the scope of other units, including Plants and Landscape Systems (LACH3030), Ecology (ENVT2250), and Plant Diversity and Evolution (PLNT 2204).

I welcome PhD and MSc students that would like to develop a project in topics related with my research and that are able to apply and obtain their own scholarship. I work in a multi-disciplinary team and welcome students from different fields, including ecology, landscape architecture, urban design, and social sciences.


The projects I am currently leading are:

  • Design of urban green spaces - how to incorporate interdisciplinary knowledge of their social-ecological benefits
  • Biodiversity conservation and human-Nature connection considerations in urban forest management - project looking at a variety of aspects, from how biodiversity and human-Nature connection are considered in other global biodiversity hotspots, to assess Perth's practitioners perspectives and perceived dilemmas, and the contribution of key urban forest values to sense of place
  • Broadening the Nature Conservation discourse - bringing emotions, feelings and experience to the dialogue
  • Biodiversity conservation and conservation planning in the South-western Australia global biodiversity hotspot - a range of work going on under this topic, including the analysis of plant community patterns in urban remnant Banksia woodlands and a co-led lay-person book on the uniqueness of the region

Other projects I am actively involved and that are led by other colleagues include:

  • Opportunities and challenges for urban biodiversity conservation - project led by Dr Caragh Threlfall (UniMel), in which we are interviewing practitioners across different Australian capital cities to understand the breadth of their on-ground projects for urban biodiversity conservation and perceived challenges and opportunities;
  • Scanning the horizon of future urban forests - project led by Dr Dave Kendal (UniTasmania) that aims to inform the management of urban green spaces and urban forests in a landscape of rapid social and environmental change;
  • Social-ecological benefits of native verges - project led by Dr Natasha Pauli (UWA);
  • Bringing nature back in the city - project led by Dr Luis Mata (RMIT) that develops a conceptual tool supporting the reintroduction of species back in the urban landscape, having into consideration ecological viability and social acceptability factors;
  • A framework for improving ecological connectivity in cities - project led by Holly Kirk (RMIT) and that uses as a case study the city of Melbourne;


English (proficient), Portuguese (mother language), Spanish (very good), French (some)

Industry keywords

  • Built Environment
  • Environmental
  • Education

Research expertise keywords

  • Urban ecology
  • Urban planning
  • Urban biodiversity
  • Urban design
  • Human-Nature connection
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Urban greening
  • Global biodiversity hotspot
  • Urbanization
  • Climate change
  • Urban forest
  • Banksia woodland
  • Spatial ecology
  • Landscape ecology


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