Anna Richards

Dr Anna RichardsAnna Richards

Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO

See Dr Richards’ full research profile here.


Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • 2020: The Australian Ecosystems Models Framework. The Australian Ecosystem Models Framework project is collating, synthesising and summarising scientific knowledge of ecosystem dynamics and will capture this knowledge in a set of dynamic ecosystem models. These models will describe the dynamic characteristics and drivers of Australian ecosystems in unmodified and modified states.


Dr Anna Richards is a plant and soil ecologist with a broad interest in ecosystem management; particularly, how the science of vegetation and soil dynamics, along with land management practices, can be used to better monitor, evaluate and manage ecosystem condition. She is a senior research scientist in the Ecosystem Dynamics team at the CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre in Darwin, Northern Territory.

Anna develops frameworks for monitoring and evaluating natural resource management activities based on an understanding of dynamic ecosystem condition and set within a state and transition modelling context. As part of this work she has co-led a collaborative project (The Australian Ecosystem Models Framework) with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to develop dynamic ecosystem models for Australia’s ecosystems that incorporate both reference (endogenous) and recent (exogenous) disturbance regimes. The framework aims to improve decision making in natural resource management, and provide a conceptual underpinning to the development of SEEA-compliant (System of Environmental Economic Accounting) ecosystem accounts.

She has also undertaken research on land-based climate change mitigation methodologies for managing savanna fires (particularly soil carbon sequestration) and she is particularly interested in the impact of these methodologies on biodiversity and sustainable livelihood opportunities for remote indigenous communities.

Dr Richards also maintains an interest in plant ecophysiology related to plant nutrient and water use, and soil spectroscopy methods for rapid detection of soil carbon pools.

Current academic employment and positions

  • Team member and project leader, Ecosystem Dynamics team, CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre in Darwin, Northern Territory.

Highest Qualifications

  • 2007: Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland.
  • 2006: Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, University of Queensland.
  • 2001: Bachelor of Science with honours, University of Queensland.

Major prizes, medals and honours

  • 2021-2025: Julius Career Award, CSIRO.
  • 2016-2017: Payne-Scott award, CSIRO.
  • 2013-2013: Payne-Scott award, CSIRO.
  • 2011-2011: New generation research award, NT research and innovation awards.
  • 2011-2011: NT Young tall poppy science award, Australian Institute of policy and science.