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Stefania Ondei


About me

I love plants and maps. My research work combines these two passions by using field data and remote sensing techniques to investigate the spatial distribution of biodiversity measures, evaluate the influence of climate and disturbance - especially fire regimes and land clearing – on these patterns, and identify priority areas for conservation.

I am particularly interested in forest species diversity, with focus on the relationship between tree species richness, evenness, and biomass and the influence of climate and biogeographic factors on these dynamics, to forecast potential changes in forest diversity under climate change.

Key interests

  • Plant ecology

  • Landscape ecology

  • Fire ecology

  • Remote sensing

Students I supervise

  • Vishesh Leon Diengdoh (PhD)

  • Carley Fuller (PhD)

  • Thomas Keen (PhD)

  • Cristian Montalvo Mancheno (PhD)

  • Ngoc (Annie) Nguyen (PhD)

My research history

After completing a master’s degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Milan (Italy) with a thesis on the environmental drivers of wetland plant communities in the Italian Prealps, I moved from the small world of mosses to the wide landscapes of the north Kimberley (tropical Australia). There, in collaboration with Uunguu Aboriginal rangers and Traditional Owners, I investigated changes in fire regimes, evaluated the importance of climate, terrain, cattle, and fire in determining structure and distribution of tropical rainforests and savannas, and investigated the ability of rainforest species to survive and recover after a fire. These findings provided scientific evidence which, in combination with Aboriginal traditional knowledge, have been used to implement land management in that beautiful and remote corner of Australia.

Funding & Collaborators

2019 - 2022 Research Enhancement Program Grant 

for “Healthy Future Environments and People”, University of Tasmania ($233,172)

2018 Research Enhancement Program Grant

for “Anthropogenic impacts on environmental microbiomes”, University of Tasmania ($9,984)

2018 Contract Research

for "Distribution and Health of Wulo (Monsoon Vine Thicket or Rainforest).", Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation ($85,000)

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Ondei Stefania, Prior Lynda D., McGregor Hugh W., Reid Angela M., Johnson Chris N., Vigilante Tom, Goonack Catherine, Williams Desmond, Bowman David M. J. S. (2020) Small mammal diversity is higher in infrequently compared with frequently burnt rainforest–savanna mosaics in the north Kimberley, Australia. Wildlife Research 48, 218-229.

Fuller, C., Ondei, S., Brook, B. W., & Buettel, J. C. (2020). Protected-area planning in the Brazilian Amazon should prioritize additionality and permanence, not leakage mitigation. Biological Conservation, 248, 108673.

Diengdoh, V. L., Ondei, S.Hunt, M. and Brook, B. W. (2020). A validated ensemble method for multinomial land-cover classification. Ecological Informatics

Montalvo Mancheno, C. S., Ondei, S., Brook, B. W. & Buettel, J. C. (2020). Bioregionalization approaches for conservation: methods, biases, and their implications for Australian biodiversity. Biodiversity & Conservation, 

Ondei, S., Brook, B.W., & Buettel, J.C. (2019). A flexible tool to prioritize areas for conservation combining landscape units, measures of biodiversity and threats. Ecosphere 10(9), e02859.

Fuller, C., Ondei, S., Brook, B.W. & Buettel, J.C. (2019). First, do no harm: A systematic review of deforestation spillovers from protected areas. Global Ecology and Conservation, p.e00591.

Ondei, S., Brook, B.W., & Buettel, J.C. (2018). Nature’s untold stories: an overview on the availability and type of on-line data on long-term biodiversity monitoring. Biodiversity and Conservation 27(11), 2971-2987.

Buettel, J.C., Ondei, S., & Brook, B.W. (2018). A practical method for creating a digital topographic surface for ecological plots using ground-based measurements. Landscape Ecology 33(1), 9-18.

Ondei S., Prior L.D., Vigilante T., & Bowman D.M.J.S. (2017). Fire and cattle disturbance affects vegetation structure and limits rain forest expansion into savanna in the Australian monsoon tropics. Journal of Biogeography 44(10), 2331-2342.


Buettel, J.C., Ondei, S., & Brook, B.W. (2017). Missing the wood for the trees? New ideas on defining forests and forest degradation. Rethinking Ecology, 1, 15.


Vigilante, T., Ondei, S., Goonack, C., Williams, D., Young, P., & Bowman, D.M.J.S. (2017). Collaborative research on the ecology and management of the ‘Wulo’ monsoon rainforest in Wunambal Gaambera Country, North Kimberley, Australia. Land, 6(4), 68.


Buettel, J. C., Ondei, S., & Brook, B. W. (2017). Look Down to See What’s Up: A systematic overview of treefall dynamics in forests. Forests, 8(4), 123.


Ondei S., Prior L.D., Williamson G. J., Vigilante T., & Bowman D.M.J.S. (2017). Water, land, fire and forest: landscape-level determinants of rainforests in the Australian monsoon tropics. Ecology and Evolutions 7(5), 1592-1604.


Ondei S., Prior L.D., Vigilante T., & Bowman D.M.J.S. (2016). Post-fire resprouting strategies of rainforest and savanna saplings along the rainforest–savanna boundary in the Australian monsoon tropics. Plant Ecology 217(6), 711-724.

Books and Monographs


Armiraglio S., Ravazzi C., Corti A., Ondei S., Pini R. (2015). Invito alle torbiere delle montagne di Valgrigna (Prealpi Bresciane). Un contributo alla conoscenza degli ambienti umidi del territorio dell'Area Vasta Valgrigna e della loro storia. Natural Sciences Museum, Brescia, Italy.

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