School of Environment

Dr. George Perry

Job title: Associate Professor
Phone: 64 9 373 7599 ext 84599
Office: Rm 436, Human Sciences Building
Postal: School of Environment,
The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Email: george.perry@...


BSc (Hons) and MSc (Canty), PhD (Melbourne), PGCAP (London)


I completed undergraduate and Masters studies in the Departments of Geography and Plant and Microbial Sciences at the University of Canterbury, before doing a PhD at the University of Melbourne. I worked in the Dept. of Geography at King's College London for four years before returning to New Zealand and the School of Environment. My research interests lie broadly in the field of plant community and landscape ecology, with a methodological interest in spatial analysis and modelling in this context, and my undergraduate and graduate teaching is conducted in these areas. My research interests lie broadly in the field of plant community and landscape ecology, with a methodological interest in spatial analysis and modelling in this context.

My recent research has combined field-, lab- and simulation model-based approaches in the context of understanding the spatial dynamics of plant communities and the landscapes in which they occur. First, I have focused on the reciprocal effects of spatial pattern on ecological process especially in the context of understanding mechanisms of plant species coexistence. This work has been conducted in species-rich shrublands in Western Australia and temperate forests in New Zealand. I have been PI on a Marsden-funded project considering coexistence in NZ's Nothofagus (Beech) forests using a combination of field-work (stand mapping and measurement and spatial dendroecology) and individual-based modelling. Second, I am interested in the dynamics of fire-prone landscapes and ecosystems, with a focus on prehistoric and contemporary landscapes in the southwest Pacific (New Zealand and New Caledonia) and the effects of modern land-use change on wildfire risk (Spain). In this context, I am involved in research projects with colleagues from New Zealand (Landcare Research), Australia and the USA looking at the ecological role and impacts of fire in New Zealand's prehistoric and contemporary ecosystems (Wildfire-PIRE). I have a joint appointment between the School of Environment and the School of Biological Sciences.

Most Recent Publications

Journal articles (since 2009)


McGlone, M.S., Perry, G.L.W., Houliston, G.J. & Connor, H.E. 2014. Fire, grazing and the evolution of New Zealand grasses. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, In press.

Thrippleton, T. Dolos, K., Perry, G.L.W., Groeneveld, J. & Reineking, B. 2014. Simulating long-term vegetation dynamics using a forest landscape model: the post-Taupo succession on Mt. Hauhungatahi, North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, In press.

Li, X., Perry, G.L.W., Brierley, G., Gao, J., Zhang, J. & Yang, Y. 2013. Restoration prospects for Heitutan degraded grassland in the Sanjiangyuan. Journal of Mountain Science, In press.

Perry, G.L.W. Miller, B.P., Enright, N.J., and Lamont, B.B. 2013. Stochastic geometry best explains spatial associations among species pairs and plant functional types in species-rich shrublands. Oikos, In press.

Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P., PERRY, G.L.W., Goldblum, D. & Jaffré, T. (2013). Stress-tolerator leaf traits determine population dynamics in the endangered New Caledonian conifer Araucaria muelleri. Austral Ecology, In press.

Groeneveld, J., Enright, N.J., Lamont, B.B., Reineking, B., Frank, K. and Perry, G.L.W. 2013. Species-specific traits plus stabilizing processes best explain coexistence in biodiverse fire-prone plant communities. PLoS ONE 8:e65084.

Li, X.-L., Perry, G.L.W., Brierley, G., Sun, H.-Q., Li, C.-H., Lu, G.-X. 2013. Quantitative assessment of degradation classifications for degraded alpine meadows (heitutan), Sanjiangyuan, western China. Land Degradation and Development In press.

McWethy, D.B., Higuera, P.E., Whitlock, C., Veblen, T.T., Bowman, D.J.M.., Cary, G.J., Haberle, S.G., Keane, R.E., Maxwell, B.D., McGlone, M.S., Perry, G.L.W., Wilmshurst, J.M., Holz, A. & Tepley, A. 2013. A conceptual framework for predicting temperate ecosystem sensitivity to human impacts on fire regimes. Global Ecology and Biogeography 22: 900-912.


Goldwater, N., Perry, G.L.W., & Clout, M.N. 2012. Responses of house mice to the removal of mammalian predators and competitors. Austral Ecology 37: 971-979.

Perry, G.L.W., Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P. , & Lamont, B.B. 2012. Do plant functional traits determine spatial pattern? A test on species-rich shrublands, Western Australia. Journal of Vegetation Science 24: 441-452.

Millington, J.D.A., O’Sullivan, D. & Perry, G.L.W. 2012. Model histories: narrative explanation in generative simulation modelling. Geoforum 43: 1025-1034.

Etherington, T.R. & Perry, G.L.W. 2012. Using point process intensity to establish the spatio-temporal grain of continuous landscape tessellations and graphs. Landscape Ecology 27: 1083-1090.

Perry, G.L.W., Wilmshurst, J.M., McGlone, M.S., & Napier, A. 2012. Reconstructing spatial vulnerability to forest loss by fire in pre-historic New Zealand. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21 : 1029-1041.

Perry, G.L.W., Wilmshurst, J.M., McGlone, M.S., McWethy, D.B. & Whitlock, C. 2012. Explaining fire-driven landscape transformation during the Initial Burning Period of New Zealand’s prehistory. Global Change Biology 18: 1609-1621.

Hurst, J.M., Stewart,G.H., Perry, G.L.W., Wiser, S.K. & Norton, D.A. 2012. Determinants of tree mortality in mixed old-growth Nothofagus forest. Forest Ecology and Management 270: 189–199.

Wooster, M.J., Perry, G.L.W & Zoumas, A. 2012. Fire, drought and El Niño relationships on Borneo (south-east Asia) during the pre-MODIS era (1980-2000). Biogeosciences 9: 317-340.


Millet, L.J., Collens, M.B., Perry, G.L.W. & Bashir, R. 2011. Pattern analysis and spatial distribution of neurons in culture. Integrative Biology 3: 1167-1178.

Millington, J.D.A. & Perry, G.L.W. 2011. Multi-model inference in biogeography. Geography Compass 5: 448-463

Esther, A., Groeneveld, J., Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P., Lamont, B.B., Perry, G.L.W., Tietjen, B. & Jeltsch, F. 2011. Low-dimensional trade-offs fail to explain richness and structure in species-rich plant communities. Theoretical Ecology: 4: 495-511.


Perry, G.L.W., Ogden, J., Enright, N.J. & Davy, L.V. 2010. Vegetation patterns and trajectories in disturbed landscapes, Great Barrier Island, northern New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34: 311-323.

Rigg, L.S., Enright, N.J., Jaffré, T. & Perry, G.L.W. 2010. Contrasting population dynamics of the endemic New Caledonian conifer Araucaria laubenfelsii in maquis and rain forest. Biotropica 42: 479-487.

Perry, G.L.W., Groeneveld, J. & Miller, B.P. 2010. Development, application and place of neutral theory in ecology and biogeography. Geography Compass. 4: 904-918.

Esther, A. Groeneveld, J., Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P. Lamont, B.B., Perry, G.L.W., Blank, B. & Jeltsch, F. 2010. Sensitivity of plant functional types to climate change: classification tree analysis of a simulation model. Journal of Vegetation Science 21: 447-461.

Miller, B.P., Perry, G.L.W., Enright, N.J. & Lamont, B.B. 2010. Contrasting spatial pattern and pattern-forming processes in natural vs. restored shrublands. Journal of Applied Ecology 47: 701-709.


Perry, G.L.W., Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P., Lamont, B.B. & Etienne, R.S. 2009. Dispersal, edaphic fidelity, and speciation in species-rich Western Australian shrublands: evaluating a neutral model of biodiversity. Oikos 118: 1349-1362.

Millington, J.D.A., Wainwright, J., Perry, G.L.W., Romero-Calcerrada, R. & Malamud, B.D. 2009. Modelling Mediterranean landscape succession-disturbance dynamics: a landscape fire-succession model. Environmental Modelling & Software 24: 1196-1208

O'Sullivan, D. & Perry, G.L.W. 2009. A discrete space model for continuous space dispersal processes. Ecological Informatics 4: 57-68.

Perry, G.L.W. & Bond, N.R. 2009. Spatially explicit modeling of habitat dynamics and fish population persistence in an intermittent lowland stream. Ecological Applications 19: 731-746.

Perry, G.L.W., Enright, N.J., Miller, B.P. & Lamont, B.B. 2009. Nearest-neighbour interactions in species-rich shrublands: the roles of abundance, spatial patterns and resources. Oikos 118: 161-174.

Book chapters (since 2009)

O'Sullivan, D., Millington, J.D.A., Perry, G.L.W. and Wainwright, J. (2012) Agent-based models – because they’re worth it? In: Heppenstall, A.J., Crooks, A.T., See, L.M. and Batty, M. (Eds.) Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems. Springer, New York, p. 109-123.

Perry, G.L.W. 2009. Modelling and simulation. In: Castree, N., Demeritt, D., Liverman, D. and Rhoads, B. (eds) A Companion to Environmental Geography. John Wiley and Sons, UK, p. 336-357.


I have designed an Excel add-in for spatial point pattern analysis called SpPack. This software can perform nearest-neighbour methods, refined nearest neighbour, Ripley's K, the neighbourhood density (pair correlation) function, and various Monte Carlo and goodness-of-fit procedures. SpPack is used across a range disciplines, for both research and teaching, and is described in a paper in Environmental Modelling & Software. This software is freely available on email request.


Editorial & Professional Service

I am on the editorial board of Plant Ecology, , Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics , Geography Compass and Forests MDPI; I also regularly provide peer reviews for journals in the fields of plant ecology and ecological modelling and statistics, and for international funding agencies. I am on the council of the New Zealand Ecological Society.


Current PhD Students

Xilai Li (started 2008) - Spatial dynamics of Kobresia populations as affected by human disturbance on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (co-supervised with Prof Gary Brierley, SEnv).

Claas Damken (started late 2008) - Insect in mountainous landscapes: implications of fragmentation and climate change (co-supervised with Dr Jacqueline Beggs, School of Biological Sciences).

Tom Etherington (started early 2010) - Mapping landscape connectivity risk for invasive species using spatially and temporally explicit GIS modelling (co-supervised with Prof. Mick Clout, School of Biological Sciences).

Narkis Morales (started mid-2010) - Viability of native vegetation patches in the assessment of landscape conservation and restoration plans: the role of regeneration process in Beilschmiedia tawa forest remnants (co-supervised with Dr. Bruce Burns, School of Biological Sciences).


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