Dr Juliana Lazzari

PhD - Fire ecology - Australian National University
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Conservation And Biodiversity 050202
  • Environmental Management 050205
  • Natural Resource Management 050209
  • Wildlife And Habitat Management 050211
  • Landscape Ecology 050104
  • Terrestrial Ecology 060208
  • Ecology Not Elsewhere Classified 060299

Research interests

I am interested in understanding the influences of fire in fragmented landscapes on small animals. My post-graduate research focus was on reptiles and small mammals persisting in small and isolated habitat patches in semi-arid, mallee landscapes.

Isolated habitat patches in cropping landscapes are affected by disturbances including fire suppression. Some reptile species have habitat adaptations with preferences for successional fire stages e.g. early, mid and late. Because many of these habitat patches are long unburnt (fire suppressed), if a wildfire modifies the entire habitat, this could lead to species extinctions.  Where wildfire has occurred across an entire habitat patch, I investigated if nearby large reserves containing a range of successional fire stages could provide source populations to wildfire affected patches.

Fire is natural in many systems but as a result of landscapes being modified, fire regimes (frequency, intensity, and extent) have changed and may also be contributing to habitat loss. Fire could be used in these habitats to provide a range of successional habitat stages. Fire-age (or time since the last fire) of vegetation is important knowledge if fire is used as a tool to manage vegetation for habitat. Burning too frequently, or not frequently enough can result in vegetation changes undesirable to fauna and flora. My studies also included using models to predict fire-age in areas of mallee vegetation by using stem diameters and environmental co-variates including the percentage of  bare ground, canopy cover, and so on.


As a born and bred Canberran, now living in nearby Queanbeyan, Juliana's interests have led her to pursue work and study in fire ecology, resource and environmental management, and agriculture. Before undertaking and completing her studies at the ANU, Juliana's interests included working as a woolclasser and shed-hand in NSW and Qld, as a field-hand in the Bureau of Mineral Resources working on stromatolites, and picking avocadoes on a kibbutz in northern Israel. This was followed by working in the Australian Government Department of Agriculture (and former guises) on issues ranging from animal welfare, meat and livestock commodities, and vegetation policy.

Juliana's post-graduate research was conducted in the northern Eyre Peninsula in South Australia and included vegetation surveys, trapping reptiles, small mammals and invertebrates, and experimental burns. Juliana is co-author of a systematic review accepted by Biological Reviews (19 Jan 2021) titled 'How fire interacts with habitat loss and fragmentation'. Exploratory work on this systematic review was undertaken during her doctorate. A manuscript on reptiles and fire is currently (Jan 2021) in prep for publishing.

In her second year on contract working for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Juliana is now working in the terrestrial threatened species area after having spent almost a year in the science partnerships area as a liaison officer for threatened species recovery issues in the National Environmental Science Program.

Juliana is a member of the Ecological Society of Australia and is president of the Australian Forest History Society.

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Updated:  01 February 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers