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School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

Conservation and Natural Resource Management

With the world’s population expanding rapidly, pressure on our natural resources is greater than ever before. Maintaining a healthy environment is critical for our survival and this in turn depends on maintaining essential ecological processes, biodiversity and environmental quality.

Research on environmental management in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management spans the continuum from natural ecosystems and biodiversity conservation to management of rural and urban systems, pollution control and environmental impact assessment. This research encompasses

the biophysical and social sciences and also law, policy and management aspects needed to effectively address environmental issues.

The costs of conservation Conservation reserves are at the core of strategies to protect biodiversity, ecosystem services, cultural heritage, and recreational resources. Yet, even within reserves, these natural assets are at risk if funds for management are insufficient. In this context, modelling management costs of reserves is critical to ensuring their adequate management. This study is the first of its type in any Australian jurisdiction and will set new scientific standards for estimating the funds needed to manage Australian reserves to explicit standards. It will also shape subsequent research and management throughout Australia and further strengthen Australia’s international leadership in conservation planning and management. The kinds of factors that influence management effort are generally understood but rarely linked quantitatively to costs. This project will develop models that will help economically manage protected areas by guiding the location and design of new reserves, minimise longterm management liabilities, and identify shortfalls between current and required management funding. Researchers: Prof Bob Pressey (JCU), Prof Marc Hockings (UQ), Dr Ian Cragie (JCU) Funding: Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management; National Parks Association of Queensland Email:


Population forecasting for a sustainable future Growth of the human population is one of the major environmental issues of our time. In October 2011 the global population passed the figure of 7 billion, on its way to 9 billion by mid century. Understanding the scale, distribution and composition of population growth is imperative if society is to manage its impacts. Accurate forecasts are needed to guide the use and distribution of resources, estimate greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, the numbers of people likely to be affected by climate change and other statistics required to plan for a more environmentally sustainable future. The Queensland Centre for Population Research has a wide ranging research program which aims to improve the accuracy and utility of demographic forecasts at a variety of geographical scales. Current projects include: • Probabilistic Projections. QCPR has developed a new probabilistic forecasting model to chart the uncertainties around Australia’s future population growth. Rather than consisting of a single number, probabilistic forecasts are expressed as a distribution of possible populations with probabilities that the future population will lie within certain intervals. The graph presents new QCPR projections for the total population of Australia out to mid-century. By 2031 we estimate there is a 67% chance, or 2 to 1 odds, that the total population will lie within the range 28.1 million to 31.0 million, and by 2051 it spans the range from 32.7 million to 39.6 million. These projections provide much greater information than the conventional approach based on low, medium and high projections.

• Population Ageing. As the baby boomers enter retirement, and life expectancies increase, society faces spiralling health costs, especially for the very elderly. QCPR has broken new ground by extending population forecasts at the highest ages up to super-centenarians (aged 110 years and above) to provide detailed forecasts of Australia’s rapidly growing very elderly population. By 2051 our projections forecast there will be about 200,000 Australians over the age of 85. • Modelling Metropolitan Growth. UQ’s Large Scale Urban Model was funded by an ARC Linkage grant to provide government with a sophisticated computer model that helps explore the size and shape of settlement in Southeast Queensland in years to come, and examine the links between where people live, and where they work. The only fully functioning integrated urban model in Australia, it generates forecasts of populations and household numbers for 1km grid squares, taking into account land availability, zoning, local amenities and attractiveness, as well as economic forces

The past and projected growth of Australia’s population, 1971-2051

Researchers: Dr Tom Wilson, Prof Martin Bell, Dr Jonathan Corcoran Funding: Queensland Treasury, Australian Research Council, University of Queensland Email: The past and projected growth of Australia’s very elderly population (85+), 1951-2051


History helps habitat

The native grasslands of the Surrey Hills region of northwestern Tasmania have been recognized, since the 1820s, as being unique because they occur as isolated areas surrounded by forest. There is currently a debate about the overriding processes that maintain these open landscapes in a predominantly forested environment, with views ranging from Aboriginal burning being the key factor, to natural climatic processes or a combination of the two factors. Understanding the history of


these grasslands, through pollen and charcoal analysis, is the key to successfully managing these high conservation value landscapes. This research will produce a vegetation and fire history of the area that will provide insight into the age of the grasslands, as well as examine the role that fire, particularly human burning, may have played in maintaining these communities over the last 15,000 years. This will in turn help managers develop fire management strategies that will maintain their boundaries,

as well as provide significant information on the type of landscape mosaic that should be preserved in the area. Researchers: Dr Patrick Moss (UQ), Mr Robert Onfray (Gunns Limited), Dr Peter McIntosh (Forest Practices Authority Tasmania), Dr Craig Woodward (UQ). Funding: The University of Queensland. Email:

Photo by Xuan Thuan Nguyen

Protected Area Management Effectiveness In an on-going international collaboration researchers are working to produce a global review of management effectiveness evaluations of protected areas. The project has assembled and analysed studies of management effectiveness from around the world. The researchers will collect, collate and analyse information from current assessment systems in protected areas to develop a system for integration of management effectiveness information into the World Database on Protected Areas. Researchers: Prof Marc Hockings, Dr Fiona Leverington, Collaborating researchers from Oxford University, Copenhagen University and many NGOs and other institutions around the world Funding: WWF International UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, The Nature Conservancy, Global Environment Fund Email:


The Joint Remote Sensing Research Program The Joint Remote Sensing Research Program uses satellite and airborne imaging to map, monitor and model our terrestrial, atmospheric and aquatic environments and their dynamics. The program translates research to operational processes to meet government monitoring requirements. The program’s aim is to increase Australia’s capacity to conduct research using remote sensing and convert it to operational procedures for use in environmental monitoring and management policies at local, state and national scales. The JRSPR is a collaborative program that combines research, research training expertise and infrastructure from the Biophysical Remote Sensing Group at the Centre for Spatial Environmental Research, with remote sensing groups supporting the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian governments. These programs also provide critical information to the space agencies in the U.S., Europe and Japan, who operate satellite imaging systems, and to the global science community who use


the algorithms developed in the program. The program’s activities are of critical importance to the state governments of Queensland and New South Wales who use the programs research results to understand and inform policy decisions’ and legislated monitoring activities. Key research initiatives include: • Development of automated imagegeoregistration software • C alibration of airborne and satellite-based camera systems • D evelopment and assessment of Landsat sensor replacement options and procedures • D evelopment of fully corrected time series images • A tmospheric and topographic correction of satellite imagery • I ntegration of field, LiDAR and imaging radar to map vegetation structure and biomass

A major accomplishment for the program has been to acquire and process over 35 years of Landsat satellite imagery collected every month over Australia for consistent environmental monitoring. This extensive archive has significantly improved capabilities into the study of changes and trends in land cover over time. Researchers: Professor Stuart Phinn, Christian Witte, Dr Peter Scarth, John Armston, Neil Flood, Dr Michael Schmidt, Tim Danaher, Dr Tony Gill, Adrian Fisher, Andrew Mellor, Andrew Haywood, Dr Kasper Johansen, Rebecca Trevithick, Dr Chris Roelfsema, Mitchell Lyons, Robert Canto Funding: The Queensland Department Environment and Resource Management, New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage and the Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment, The University of Queensland, The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network Email:

Conservation in reality, not just on paper The allocation of protected areas on its own does nothing to improve outcomes for biodiversity; it is the decisions made about accompanying changes to management regimes which are vital to the success of national parks as a conservation tool. In the absence of appropriate management, species can continue to decline even in relatively large protected areas. In Queensland’s Brigalow Belt, a national biodiversity hotspot, large areas of forest currently used for timber production are to be converted to conservation reserves. This is an important opportunity to secure and conserve at-risk fauna populations

in the subtropics—but appropriate conservation management of subtropical forests in Australia remains a significant knowledge gap. To help ensure the conservation potential of these forests will be realised, this project evaluates how forest management factors influence subtropical forest fauna. In particular, fire regimes which promote faunal diversity at the scale of entire landscapes—rather than just individual forest stands—will be explored. Ultimately, the project will result in spatially explicit guidelines for optimal habitat management at multiple

levels of scale. These guidelines can then form the basis of adaptive management approaches to ongoing restoration and conservation management in new and established protected areas in the region. Funding: Department of Environment and Resource Management Researchers: Dr Martine Maron (UQ), Dr Teresa Eyre (DERM) Email:

Photo by Alison Howes


A regional analysis of the boom in coal and coal seam gas Agricultural landscapes in post-industrial societies are in decline and under threat from rapid mineral resource extraction. New understanding of the opportunities and threats for socio-ecological resilience of these systems is urgently required to cope with land clearing, energy demand, macro-economic pressure and land use conflict. The boom in coal mining and coal seam gas extraction in Queensland(post 2004) has already generated regional-scale impacts on land use, communities and the environment. The speed of development necessitates an urgent understanding of what is already available and what is required in the way of data, models, planning and assessment. This study will explore socio-economic, institutional, ecosystem and political aspects of the resilience of Australia’s Bowen and Surat Basins, from 1998 to today. It will include a gap analysis of existing models and data, development of a new model of land use change, a review of the existing planning and regulatory frameworks against this model, and the provision of recommendations for future research and policy. Analysis of the opportunities and threats for resilience by the researchers will provide insights into how the Australian land use planning system could be further developed and will identify generalised pathways for improved governance of rapidly transforming multiple use landscapes around the world. Researchers: Dr Tiffany Morrison, Assoc Prof Clive McAlpine, Dr Jonathan Corcoran Email: Image on Right: Conceptualised landscape and groudwater impacts of coal seam gas extraction in Queensland (Morrison and McAlpine, forthcoming)


Facilities, research students, staff


World Class Facilities and Resources

Photo by Chris Roelfsema

Photo by Sean Fitzgibbon

The University of Queensland combines modern infrastructure with a culture that champions research excellence. As a result students and staff at the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management have access to cuttingedge resources and technology.

Other specialised • Physical Geography Laboratories capable of Electron Microscopy and Isotope Analysis • Image processing facility • Marine Laboratory • Studio space

The School offers extensive computing resources, well equipped laboratories and dedicated postgraduate facilities as well as state-of-the-art laboratory and field equipment and studios.


• Climate Station and Portable Weather Stations • Field and Surveying Equipment including Total Stations, rafts, RTK-DGPS, Automatic Samplers and Loggers • Dedicated field and safety staff

facilities include; • A comprehensive suite of scientific instrumentation enabling the collection of a wide range of in situ hydrological, atmospheric and climatological data including ground penetrating radar; ceilometers (for measuring cloud fields and atmospheric boundary layer structure); eddy covariance systems; acoustic sounders; micro-rain radar; automatic weather stations; kite and blimp sounding systems; radiosonde systems and a extensive range of ancillary meteorological sensors.

• 24 hour access computer labs with specialised applications such as −− General statistical, demographic and climatological analysis software −− Extensive statistical data sets including census information and surveys covering Australia and other world regions. −− Atmospheric modelling software −− Leica Geosystems including ERDAS Imagine and Leica Photogrammetry Suite; ENVI/IDL; Definies Developer, eCognition and all ESRI ArcGIS products −− Google sketchup, QSR nVivo, SPSS - stats package and a wide range of other statistical packages

• Access to Australia’s most extensive marine science teaching and research facilities, with field stations in the Great Barrier Reef (Heron Island), Low Isles and Moreton Bay (North Stradbroke Island). • Access to boats and vehicles for field studies • UQ Library has one of the largest collections amongst academic libraries in Australia and by far the largest in Queensland.


RESEARCH THAT MATTERS School research staff and students are at the forefront of major international initiatives to better manage our natural and built environments. Multifaceted research projects are undertaken at the School investigating a spectrum of issues, from managing the population boom in South-East Queensland to assisting with poverty reduction in South-East Asia. Governments, agencies and industry across the globe draw on the knowledge and practical skills of the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management staff to help solve contemporary problems.


Opportunities for Research Students Research students at the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management are able to concentrate on their areas of research interest and work on projects of national and international significance in a unique interdisciplinary environment. A strong research culture exists within the School and the sharing of ideas between staff across disciplines is encouraged. The School provides leadership and support for its research staff and we will ensure that as a student with us you will have access to supervisors, mentoring programs, excellent resources and professional development initiatives.

The School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management (GPEM) at The University of Queensland is at the forefront of cutting-edge research into the widely debated issues confronting us today. It is a vibrant and multidisciplinary School boasting world class facilities and staff.

The School forms part of the Faculty of Science, which is the largest and most diverse of the University of Queensland’s faculties. It is widely recognised and awarded for its quality of teaching, the strength of its graduates and its world leading research.

This research profile provides an introduction to the School, showcasing its research and significant outcomes which provide valuable insight into the ‘big issues’ including:

The School has a solid research foundation and one of its greatest strengths lies in its diversity. It takes an integrated approach to the pressing issues confronting the natural and built environments. The School is able to offer a truly multidisciplinary perspective by employing expert teaching and research staff and fostering collaboration between disciplines.

• Sustainable Cities

The School has strong links to industry and works extensively with all levels of government on a number of joint projects. It also operates in a consultancy capacity, taking a leading role in policy development to ensure adequate planning for the future at a local, national and global level. The School is dedicated to continuous improvement and is proactive in its pursuit of new partnerships on which to grow its expertise.

• Climate Change and Adaptation • Marine and Coastal Processes and Management • Sustainable Livelihoods • Conservation and Natural Resource Management It is not possible to profile all the significant research projects being conducted within the School but this profile aims to provide you with a snapshot of the School’s leading-edge research across its many disciplines. We invite you to explore more fully the research accomplishments and capabilities of the School by visiting our website

Contact Please contact the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at if you are interested in undertaking a research higher degree, or if you have any enquiries. Alumni Profiles of successful graduates can be viewed at

Please contact the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management or the research staff directly to discuss any issues of interest. Ph: +61 7 3365 6455 Fax: +61 7 3365 6899 Email:



Greg Baxter

Bob Beeton

Martin Bell

Greg Brown

Nikolaus Callow

Jonathan Corcoran

SĂŠbastien Darchen

Marc Hockings

Laurel Johnson

Ron Johnstone

John Kirkwood

Yan Liu

The ecology and conservation of wildlife including; Landscape ecology; Investigating novel ways to solve intractable environmental problems and in finding ways to apply scientific research

Urban regeneration; Economic development strategies; Globalization & network society; Mobility of urban policies; Urban design and place-making; Public participation in planning


Environmental problem solving, restoration, and reporting; Total Landscape Management including Protected Areas; Sustainable tourism; sustainability issues associated with both natural and rural systems; Rural and Regional Community Development

Monitoring and evaluation of conservation management with a particular focus on protected areas; Biodiversity outcomes in protected areas; Adapting protected area management to address climate change impacts; Modelling the costs of effective management for protected areas.

Population mobility; Internal migration; Demographic forecasting

Power in Planning- the sources of power that planners deploy in their quest to shape the built environment; Passenger transport solutions and strategies in urban and rural communities; The contributions (and limitations) of planning in delivering an inclusive city

Public participation GIS (PPGIS) and community and social assessment methods; environmental and sustainable land use planning; Parks and protected areas planning and management; Climate change adaptation

Integrated coastal resource management; Marine resource management & auditing; Coral reef, estuarine & general marine nutrient dynamics; Biogeochemical processes and sediment geochemistry; Ecosystem nutrient budgeting

Interaction of humans with physical environmental processes; Impacts of land management on hydrology; River geomorphology and eco-hydrology; Management interventions in changing landscapes and climates

Integrating ecological, economic and social approaches to fisheries management; Marine ecology, concentrating on fisheries and Antarctic ecosystems; Human nutrition, food security and the sustainability of global fisheries; Evolutionary impacts of artificial selection by fisheries

Application of quantitative geographical methods for urban modelling; Use of geo-analytical, geo-visualisation and prediction techniques

GIS applications in urban and human environments - spatial analysis and modelling; GIS in health and demographic studies; Learning with GIS in schools


Martine Maron

Iderlina Mateo-Babiano

Clive McAlpine

Hamish McGowan

Chris McGrath

John Minnery

Tiffany Morrison

Patrick Moss

David Neil

Ann Peterson

Stuart Phinn

David Pullar

Landscape ecology and habitat restoration; Conservation policy; Decision support tools for targeting investment in natural resource management; Habitat change and land stewardship

Environmental policy, planning, governance and institutions; Australian natural resource management policy; Climate adaptation planning; Comparative environmental policy and planning (USA, Japan, Australia); Scale, coordination and participation in environmental policy and institutional design

Transport planning; Pedestrian research and accessibility planning; Land use-transport integration; Asian megacities; Urban design

Quaternary environments of eastern Australia; The Eocene environments of the Okanagan highliands in British Columbia and Canada through pollen analysis; Mangrove ecology; Human impacts on Australian ecosystems; General palaeoecology , biogeography and landscape ecology

Processes driving landscape change; The conservation of biodiversity in human-modified landscapes; The ecological and climatic consequences of landscape change

Human-environment interactions; Environmental history and management responses in river catchments and coastal and coral reef systems

Earth surface - atmosphere energy exchanges; Complex terrain wind fields; Atmospheric transport of aerosols; Climate variability and coastal meteorology

Natural resource management; Regional planning and new regionalism; Coasts and climate change; The pedagogy of teaching

Evaluation of the effectiveness for environmental regulation; Climate change and greenhouse gas accounting; Vegetation management laws and policies

Use of satellite and airborne images to map, monitor and model biophysical properties of terrestrial and aquatic environments for scientific and management applications

Urban policy and its implementaton, Urban governance, Slums and slum upgrading; Housing, especially housing affordability and social housing; The historic dimensions of urban policy

Spatial information systems; Urban landscapes; Spatial analysis and modelling and environmental management integration



Jonathan Rhodes

Biodiversity conservation in human-dominated and dynamically changing landscapes; Optimal monitoring for environmental management; Koala ecology and conservation

Christiaan Roelfsema

Developing operational approaches for mapping and monitoring, spatial and temporal biophysical properties of coral reefs and associated waters, using field and remote sensing imagery

Annie Ross

Indigenous Management of Natural and Cultural Resources; Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management; People, Environment and Society; Social factors in environmental management - Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands

Glen Searle

Institutional and political economy perspectives on urban planning; Urban consolidation; The spatial dynamics of advanced economy services

James Shulmeister Head of School

Understanding long term climate change with a focus on Austrasia and Antarctica; General palaeoecology, climatic geomorphology,Quaternary science

David Wadley

Futurological and risk analyses of urban development and social ideologies

For the most up to date list of staff and their interests please visit Scarla Weeks

Ecosystem-scale specific applications of satellite data to the oceanographic environment; The link between climate change, oceanography and the biological response, regional to local processes; Movements patterns of marine megafauna in relation to ocean dynamics and productivity


Dona Whiley

drivers and tools for environmental practice in organisations and firms; Regulatory and non regulatory mechanisms to achieve sustainable development; Ecotourism – philosophy, principles and practice; Tourism policy and sustainable development; Corporate Social Responsibility

Bradd Witt

Decadal to century scale environmental change in rural areas and rangelands; The management of productive agricultural landscapes for diverse socio-ecological values (such as emerging carbon, biodiversity and other social goods); Communications between urban and rural communities regarding environmental policy and management



Grant Brearley

Elin Charles-Edwards

Jianting Chu

Jim Cooper

Rachael Dudaniec

Fisher, Adrian

Kasper Johansen

Andrew Kythreotis

Javier Leon Patino

Morena Mills

Christopher Raymond

Justin Ryan

Wildlife ecology and biology; Wildlife eco-physiology; Influence of human-induced landscape change on terrestrial fauna

Image processing and analysis of high spatial resolution airborne and satellite image data with a focus on riparian environments and geographic object based image analysis

Temporary population mobility; Internal Migration; Small area population estimates

The way in which power is configured and negotiated across space by state and non-state stakeholders involved in the governance of climate change related events.

Interaction between afforestation and climate extremes; Dynamical downscaling with regional climate models; High-resolution land surface data for modelling from remote sensing images

Geospatial applications to coastal processes and management; Remote Sensing and Object-based image analysis (OBIA); GIS and Terrain analysis

Population forecasting and demographic modelling

Human-environmental issues; Systematic conservation planning; Integrating conservation and social goals into spatial planning.

Applying population genetics to spatial questions in conservation biology (landscape genetics); Characterising the impacts and molecular ecology of hostparasite interactions and invasive species; Behavioural ecology and evolutionary divergence of species on islands

Public participation GIS (PPGIS); Knowledge integration for environmental management; Climate change adaptation; Protected area management and evaluation; Measurement of proenvironmental behaviour

Developing automated image processing methods for Landsat TM/ETM+, SPOT5 and airborne LiDAR data, focusing on regional vegetation monitoring

My fields of research are ecohydrology and adaptive management of native vegetation in production landscapes.



Leonie Seabrook

Ecological and environmental history; Anthropogenic and environmental drivers of land cover/land use change; Impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on fauna; Climate change impacts on biodiversity


Tom Wilson

Population projection modelling, especially multistate and probabilistic methods; Migration analysis; Demographic estimation techniques; State and local demographic analyses;

Craig Woodward

Quaternary environments and environmental change; Human impact on aquatic ecosystems; Limnology; Paleoecology

The School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management would like to thank and recognise the generous contributions of funding bodies, institutions and individuals who actively support our research.



Australian Centre for Environmental Law


Digital Globe


PowerLink Queensland


South West NRM


Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)


Fisheries Research and Development Corporation


Prince of Songkla University


Sugar Research and Development


Queen’s University Belfast


Australian Department of Industry Innovation and Scientific Research


Global Environment Fund



Gold Coast City Council

Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management

Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency


Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority



Griffith University

Queensland Department of Local Government and Planning


Gunns Limited



Instiution of Surveyors, Australia

Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet


James Cook University


Queensland Fire & Rescue Services


Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation


Queensland Government Department of Infrastructure and Planning


Landscape Values & PPGIS Institute



Lockyer Valley Regional Council

Queensland Government Department of Main Roads


Logan City Council


Queensland Murray Darling Committee Inc.


Moreton Bay Regional Council


Queensland Museum


Murray Darling Basin Authority


Queensland Seafood Industry Association





National Health & Medical Research Council

Queensland Treasury, Office of Economic and Statistical Research


National Parks Association of Queensland





•• ••

Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute (AHURI) Australian Institute for Marine Science Australian Institute Nuclear Science and Engineering


Australian National University


Australian Research Council


Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority

National University of Ireland

Cooperation Agency ••

Tangalooma Island Resort


Tasmania Forest Practices Authority


The Nature Conservancy


UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre


University of Cantebury


University of Hawaii


University of Melbourne


University of New England


University of Regina


University of Sydney


University of The South Pacific


University of Western Australia


Redland City Council


University of Western Ontario


Research Institute for Development (Noumea)


Utah State University


Victorian Department of Planning and



Bush Heritage Australia



Can Tho University

New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water

Seafood Services Australia Ltd

Condamine Alliance

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries





Sibelco Australia and New Zealand


Cooperative Research Centres (various)


Snowy Hydro Limited



New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage



Curtin University

South Pacific Applied Geosciences Committee

Planning Insitute of Australia

Swedish International Development

Queensland University of Technology

Brisbane City Council







Community Development ••

Wildlife Conservation Society


WWF International


General Inquires The School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management AUSTRALIA 4072 Phone +61 7 3365 6455 Fax +61 7 3365 6899 Email Twitter @UQ_gpem


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Conservation and Natural Resource Management  

With the world’s population expanding rapidly, pressure on our natural resources is greater than ever before. Maintaining a healthy environm...

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