Dr Rebecca Cross

Telephone +61 405 707 756

Biographical details

Rebecca Cross is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences with a specialisation in Human Geography. Rebecca has a B.EnvSci (Hons 1) and a PhD in Geography from UNSW, Australia. Her PhD examined the socio-cultural and psychological dimensions of sustainable/regenerative farming transformations.

Her research interests are founded in rural geography and sociology at the nexus of human/nature interactions, with a focus on natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, farming sub-cultures, local and Indigenous land and food knowledge, grass-roots innovation, agroecological extension and social research methodology. She has applied quantitative and qualitative social research methods to a range of agri-environmental research projects.

She also has extensive teaching experience and has guest-lectured and tutored in environmental science and human geography at UNSW and agricultural science at The University of Sydney for several years. She currently teaches into an intensive unit of study at Sydney University, AGEN3008 Indigenous Land and Food Management; and convenes INST2003 Research Methods in International Studies at UNSW.

Research interests

Environmental conservation and agricultural production are often perceived to be competing land use objectives. Integrating production and conservation via innovative land management techniques (such as strategic grazing, pasture cropping and cool burns) with a focus on native grasses and plants is proving to be both profitable and enjoyable for land managers. Local innovation, local knowledge and local socio-cultural dynamics that influence sustainable land management are key to socio-ecological adaptation and resilience building across rural landscapes.

Rebecca has always worked with interdisciplinary teams and has been a social researcher on a number of projects that focus on these themes:

  • Sustainable Intensification and Diversification in NW Cambodia (2016 – 2021): Investigating the opportunities and barriers to increasing sustainable production via enterprise diversification for betterment of smallholder livelihoods.
  • Evaluation of Central West Local Land Services engagement with Local Aboriginal Land Corporations (2017)
  • Landholder Collaboration (2016-2018): Investigating models for cross-property collaboration for landscape-scale production and conservation
  • Benchmarking Weed Hygiene Practices in NSW (2015-2016)
  • Communities in Landscapes (2009-2012): Integrating production and conservation across the Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands Endangered Ecological Community
  • Cotton Historiography (2009-2010): Documenting a history of adaptation in the modern cotton industry, NSW

Payment for ecosystem services involves landholders engaging in markets which provide monetary benefits for conserving natural resources. Projects Rebecca has been involved in based on this theme include:

  • Decision-support tool for Carbon Farming (2018 - 2019): Documenting knowledge gaps and information needs with stakeholders across the rangelands, NSW.
  • Landholder preferences for biodiversity offsets in the Hunter Valley, NSW and Burdekin region, QLD (2014-2015)

Finally, Rebecca also has a strong interest in developing cultural competence in science pedagogy and has been involved in a number of research and teaching initiatives within the Science faculty via the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu program. The development of AGEN 3008 Indigenous Land and Food Knowledge, the Field-site Communities project (which aims to foster collaboration between Traditional owners and Usyd farms) and the Grasses for Grains project (which aims to explore synergies between native grass management, local Indigenous knowledge and native grass food products) are particular examples.

Current research students

Project title Research student
Comparison of agricultural innovation systems (AIS) to adopt conservation agriculture in wheat production areas in Mexico and Australia Laura RUIZ ESPINOSA
Cross-pollinating insect and community resilience in urban environments Amelie VANDERSTOCK

Themes

Environment

Selected grants

2016

  • Sustainable Intensification and Diversification in the lowland rice system in NW Cambodia; Tan D, Fukai S, Chea S, Ampt P, Whelan B, Try Y, Murray C, Grunbuhel C, Ormiston J, Seymour R, Li L, Nguyen L, Rathmell W, Cross R, Martin R, Touch V; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)/Research Support.
  • Increasing landholder collaboration for landscape scale conservation; Ampt P, Metternicht G, Williams S, Baumber A, Cross R, Howling G; Environmental Trust (NSW)/Research Grant.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Baumber, A., Metternicht, G., Ampt, P., Cross, R., Berry, E. (2018). From Importing Innovations to Co-Producing Them: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Development of Online Land Management Tools. Technology Innovation Management Review, 8(8), 16-26. [More Information]
  • Baumber, A., Metternicht, G., Ampt, P., Cross, R., Berry, E. (2018). Opportunities for adaptive online collaboration to enhance rural land management. Journal of Environmental Management, 219, 28-36. [More Information]
  • Tan, D., Martin, R., Ampt, P., Touch, V., Cross, R., Ormiston, J., Nash, T., Rathmell, W., Try, Y., Sareth, C., et al (2018). Partnerships for the sustainable intensification of farming systems in lowland Cambodia. Development Bulletin, (79), 104-105.
  • Gill, N., Graham, S., Cross, R., Taylor, E. (2018). Weed hygiene practices in rural industries and public land management: Variable knowledge, patchy implementation, inconsistent coordination. Journal of Environmental Management, 223, 140-149. [More Information]
  • Cross, R., Ampt, P. (2017). Exploring Agroecological Sustainability: Unearthing Innovators and Documenting a Community of Practice in Southeast Australia. Society and Natural Resources, 30(5), 585-600. [More Information]
  • Ampt, P., Cross, R., Ross, H., Howie, B. (2015). The case for retaining, redefining and reinvigorating extension in agricultural innovation systems. Rural Extension and Innovation Systems Journal, 11(1), 157-164.

Conferences

  • Cross, R., Bone, E., Ampt, P., Bell, T., Quinnell, R., Gongora, J. (2018). Embedding cultural competence in science curricula. Cultural Competence & The Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies & Practice, Australia: The University of Sydney.
  • Ampt, P., Cross, R. (2018). Grazing eco-innovators: are they regenerative? Restore, Regenerate, Revegetate Conference 2017: A Conference on Restoring Ecological Processes, Ecosystems and Landscapes in a Changing World, Armidale: Univeristy of New England.
  • Ampt, P., Baumber, A., Berry, E., Cox, T., Cross, R., Metternicht, G., Pfeiffer, H. (2017). Landscape scale conservation: incentives for cross-property action. Restore, Regenerate, Revegetate Conference 2017: A Conference on Restoring Ecological Processes, Ecosystems and Landscapes in a Changing World, Armidale: Univeristy of New England.

2018

  • Cross, R., Bone, E., Ampt, P., Bell, T., Quinnell, R., Gongora, J. (2018). Embedding cultural competence in science curricula. Cultural Competence & The Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies & Practice, Australia: The University of Sydney.
  • Baumber, A., Metternicht, G., Ampt, P., Cross, R., Berry, E. (2018). From Importing Innovations to Co-Producing Them: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Development of Online Land Management Tools. Technology Innovation Management Review, 8(8), 16-26. [More Information]
  • Ampt, P., Cross, R. (2018). Grazing eco-innovators: are they regenerative? Restore, Regenerate, Revegetate Conference 2017: A Conference on Restoring Ecological Processes, Ecosystems and Landscapes in a Changing World, Armidale: Univeristy of New England.
  • Baumber, A., Metternicht, G., Ampt, P., Cross, R., Berry, E. (2018). Opportunities for adaptive online collaboration to enhance rural land management. Journal of Environmental Management, 219, 28-36. [More Information]
  • Tan, D., Martin, R., Ampt, P., Touch, V., Cross, R., Ormiston, J., Nash, T., Rathmell, W., Try, Y., Sareth, C., et al (2018). Partnerships for the sustainable intensification of farming systems in lowland Cambodia. Development Bulletin, (79), 104-105.
  • Gill, N., Graham, S., Cross, R., Taylor, E. (2018). Weed hygiene practices in rural industries and public land management: Variable knowledge, patchy implementation, inconsistent coordination. Journal of Environmental Management, 223, 140-149. [More Information]

2017

  • Cross, R., Ampt, P. (2017). Exploring Agroecological Sustainability: Unearthing Innovators and Documenting a Community of Practice in Southeast Australia. Society and Natural Resources, 30(5), 585-600. [More Information]
  • Ampt, P., Baumber, A., Berry, E., Cox, T., Cross, R., Metternicht, G., Pfeiffer, H. (2017). Landscape scale conservation: incentives for cross-property action. Restore, Regenerate, Revegetate Conference 2017: A Conference on Restoring Ecological Processes, Ecosystems and Landscapes in a Changing World, Armidale: Univeristy of New England.

2015

  • Ampt, P., Cross, R., Ross, H., Howie, B. (2015). The case for retaining, redefining and reinvigorating extension in agricultural innovation systems. Rural Extension and Innovation Systems Journal, 11(1), 157-164.

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