Professor RW (Bill) Carter

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Professor RW (Bill) Carter


Research areas

  • ecotourism, cultural change and tourism
  • protected area management and environmental interpretation
  • management effectiveness and monitoring and evaluation
  • adaptive capacity and adaptive management


In conjunction with his appointment with the Sustainability Research Centre (SRC), Professor Carter is also the Director of USC International Development.

Prior to his research appointment with the SRC, Professor Bill Carter was discipline leader of USC’s Environmental Science program, which included the postgraduate Masters by Coursework program for Climate Change Adaptation. Previous to this he was with the University of Queensland - where he was responsible for the environmental tourism programs.

Professor Carter has been responsible for course development in Public Administration, Park Interpretation, Environmental Problem Solving, Recreation Resource Management, Ecotourism, Tourism Planning, Recreation, Tourism Product Development, Contemporary Case Studies and Sustainability courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Professor Carter has led numerous research projects relating to heritage resource management (lead or co-chief Investigator on over AUD$5 million of competitive research grants). He has published over 100 scholarly articles in this area; 65 since 2003 (10 monographs, 37 peer-reviewed journal articles, 5 conference proceedings, and 4 book chapters). Professor Carter has supervised over 35 postgraduate research students, from honours to PhD level. He has also given keynote addresses and been invited to host seminars in Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, Canada, Thailand, Cambodia and across the South Pacific.

Professor Carter was responsible for the legislation drafting instructions for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and has been called as an expert witness for Commissions of Inquiry in New South Wales and Queensland.

Professor Carter is co-editor of the 'Australasian Journal of Environmental Management'.

Prior to his academic career, Professor Carter worked as a consultant to the three levels of government, and international NGOs, in the areas of tourism and conservation management. He has also held senior positions within the parks management sector: with the Queensland Government as the first Interpretative Officer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Director of Brisbane Forest Park; and the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works.


Professor Carter received two prestigious awards from the Cambodian Government in 2013:

  • Sahak Metrey Medal, 2013 — nominated by Cambodia's Minister of Tourism for outstanding assistance with the sustainable tourism development of the country. (This award is the highest Order the Cambodian Government can bestow on a foreigner - equivalent to a gold medal.)
  • Sahak Metrey Medal, 2013 — nominated by the Governor of Preah Sihanouk, on behalf of four coastal provincial governors, for outstanding achievement in advocating sustainable tourism in Cambodia's coastal zone. (This award is the equivalent of a bronze medal.)

Cambodia's Prime Minister also acknowledged Professor Carter's contribution, and the broader contributions of USC, in his speech read to the audience by Cambodia's Minister of Tourism.

Research projects – current

  • Coral reef and water quality status and community understanding of threats in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research and the US National Science Foundation.
  • Change to iconic features of world significant parks and management response, especially tourism, multiple funding by national and international granting bodies.
  • Sustainable tourism for Cambodia, through the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.
  • Adaptive capacity for science uptake in the coastal zone, funded by the CSIRO Coastal Flagship.

Research projects completed since 2008

  • Tourism potential of Kien Gieng Province and strategic actions for Dong Ho lagoon Viet Nam, funded through the Australian AID–GIZ Conservation and Development of the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve Project (completed 2012).
  • Integrated planning for conservation and development of Dong Ho lagoon Viet Nam, funded through the Australian AID–GIZ Conservation and Development of the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve Project (completed 2012).
  • Visitor attitudes to wildlife loss in response to climate change effects in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, funded by the Australian GO Program.
  • iClimate: a searchable database on climate change impacts and adaptation in Australia, through CSIRO and the National Climate Change Research Facility (completed 2012).
  • Adaptive capacity for climate change, through the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative, CSIRO Climate Change Flagship (completed 2012).
  • Review of the North Korean Environment and Climate Change Outlook Report, through UNDP (completed 2010).
  • Social and Economic Trends for South East Queensland and Implications for Climate Change Adaptation, through the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative, CSIRO Climate Change Flagship (completed 2010).
  • Climate Change in the Capricorn Coast: an analysis of stewardship potential, through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (completed 2010).
  • Current practices in monitoring and reporting on sustainability of visitor use of protected areas, through the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism (completed 2010).
  • The impacts of beach camping and coastal development on water quality on Fraser Island, USC Internal Seed Grant (completed 2009).
  • Regional sustainability indicators for the Sunshine Coast, through the Sunshine Coast Regional Council (completed 2009).
  • Building capacity for adaptive management in protected areas through improved systems for monitoring and evaluation, Australian Research Council, Linkage Grant (completed 2009).

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Higher degree student research projects – current

  1. Water and reef quality in South East Asia – Kath Kelly (PhD).
  2. Managing uncertainty: enabling adaptive learning within marine park agencies – Mohammad Latif Siddique (PhD).
  3. Climate change adaptation and social representations – Kate English (PhD).
  4. Dolphin-based tourism in South East Queensland: understanding human-dolphin encounters and reciprocal connections – Ximena Arango (PhD).
  5. Cultural knowledge and sea country management – Lavenie Tawake (PhD).
  6. Biophysical change in freshwater streams and climate change – David Glover (PhD).

Higher degree student research projects since 2008

  1. Analysis of protected area management effectiveness evaluation data and its application for increasing understanding of management – Josie Kelman (PhD), graduated 2011.
  2. Validating the use of expert knowledge in management effectiveness evaluations of protected areas in Australia – Carly Cook (PhD), graduated 2010.
  3. Enclosure settings and interpretation at aquaria to influence visitor response – Sonia Marshall (PhD), graduated 2010.
  4. The effect of tourism on the water quality and biota of coral reef communities – Pasinee Reopanichkul (PhD), graduated 2009.
  5. Modelling and forecasting cultural and environmental changes – Laura Sinay (PhD), graduated 2008.
  6. What constitutes success in Pacific Island Community Conservation Areas – Jo Axford (PhD), graduated 2008.
  7. Management approaches in marine protected areas: a case study of Surin Marine National Park, Thailand – Suchai Worachananant (PhD), graduated 2008.
  8. Policy, culture and the achievement of conservation education outcomes: a case study of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service – Danny Parkin (PhD), graduated 2008.

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