Cristina Estima Ramalho

Dr, Dr

  • The University of Western Australia (M087), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • The University of Western Australia (M090), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


I am a Research Fellow at the UWA School of Biological Sciences, and I work in the fields of social-ecological research, cross-cultural research, urban ecology and conservation planning. I am particularly interested in cities and in research that can support transition to more sustainable, ethical and biodiverse ways of living and coexisting in urban landscapes.

Key current research topics and interests include:

a) Bringing together interdisciplinary Western Science and First Nations Knowledge to inform land and water use planning and management in ways that deliver better environmental, social and cultural outcomes
b) People's connection with nature and place in urban areas
c) Biodiversity conservation in remnant ecosystems and through urban greening
d) The link between ecological restoration and social healing in urban green spaces

Between 2016 and 2021, I worked with the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of National Environmental Science Program. From 2018 to the end of the Hub, I was Project Leader of the Urban Greening for Biodiversity and Liveability Project.

Prior to 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, species distribution models to understand impacts of future climate change and to support phylogeographic inferences, and development of topo-climatic spatial surfaces using ibutton technology.

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

Current projects

Among other smaller projects, I currently facilitate and co-lead a cross-cultural project Noongar Water Knowledge in the Djarlgarro Beeliar (Canning River) catchment - implications for land and water use planning. This project started in June 2020, within the NESP CAUL Hub, and has outlived the Hub, growing into a 3-year project, and a journey that is guided by a group of Noongar Whadjuk Elders and senior community members, and that has the support of various stakeholder agencies. 

Industrial relevance

Tackling complex (urban) sustainability challenges requires an interdisciplinary approach, willingness to bridge across disciplines and knowledge systems, and to work with and learn from local communities, environmental practitioners and leaders. My work fits within this space and is relevant to local and state governments, and non-government organizations working in landcare, reconciliation and place activation.


My current projects involve a strong element of engagment with the Noongar community of the Perth Area, the environmental managers community of several LGAs, State Government Departments and Perth NRM. 

In 2020, I was part of a multi-disciplinary team that was finalist of the Design competition for the Harry Butler Institute [NMBW Architecture Studio, Officer Woods Architects, Baracco + Wright Architects, REALMStudios (Landscape Architect), Architecture Associates & S-I Projects with: Kingsley Dickson, Daniel Jan Martin, Sohan Ariel Hayes, Zoe Atkinson, Peter Breen, Leah Beesley, Cristina Ramalho] (

Funding overview

  • Noongar Water Knowledge in the Djarlgarro Beeliar catchment – Implications for land-use and water planning; 2020-2023; $570K [NESP; UWA; Water Corporation; Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage; Department of Water and Environmental Regulation; Department of Communities; Department of Education; Metronet; City of Canning; Perth NRM; Urbaqua)

Teaching overview

  • Co-coordinator of the unit ENVT4421 Principles of Environmental Management (School of Agriculture and Environment) (since 2022)
  • Invited Lecturer of the unit LACH4423 Landscape and Urban Ecology (School of Design) (since 2016)
  • Invited Lecturer and Tutor of the units LACH3030 Plants and Landscape Systems, ENVT2250 Ecology, and PLNT2204 Plant Diversity and Evolution, while doing my PhD studies (prior to 2012)

I welcome PhD and MSc students from different fields that would like to develop a project in topics related with my research. Recent students include:

  • Rocio Almuna, PhD (2021-2024) – Promoting landscapes of coexistence for humans and raptors with an interdisciplinary scope: a comparative study from the Global South (supervision Peter Speldewinde, Stephen Hopper, Cristina E. Ramalho, José Tomás Ibarra)
  • Harrison McGrath, MSc (2021/2022) - How the urban forest influences residents’ place attachment (supervision Cristina E. Ramalho, Tim Kurtz, Erik Veneklaas, Carmen Lawrence) (completed)
  • Matthew Coyle, MSc (2020/2021) - Characterizing the habitat of road trauma ‘hotspots’ for threatened black cockatoos in Metropolitan Perth (supervision Peter Mawson, Michael Craig, Cristina E. Ramalho) (completed)


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

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Ecology, PhD


Geographic Information Systems, MSc


Biology, Honours


External positions

Spatial Information Management Officer, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (Western Australia)


GIS Botanist, NEMUS Gestão e Requalificação Ambiental, Lda


Industry keywords

  • Environmental
  • Built Environment
  • Education

Research expertise keywords

  • Socio-ecological research
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Human-Nature connection
  • Urban ecology
  • Urban greening
  • Urban nature
  • Conservation planning
  • Spatial ecology
  • GIS and spatial analysis
  • Sustainability
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Global biodiversity hotspot
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Cross-cultural research methods


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