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Tristan Derham

Home Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity and Heritage University of Tasmania Hobart Tasmania 7001 Australia Website: University of Tasmania


Tristan is an environmental philosopher, ethicist, and ecologist based at the University of Tasmania, Hobart.

He is one half of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity and Heritage’s (CABAH) public policy engagement team, and teaches regularly into philosophy, nursing, and ecology undergraduate courses. Tristan is also a Project Manager for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, working with WWF-Australia on the ecological and cultural restoration of lungtalanana/Clarke Island, an Aboriginal-owned island close to the Tasmanian mainland.

Tristan completed a PhD in Restoration Ecology and Environmental Philosophy at the University of Tasmania in 2022. His thesis explored the rich ethical and political implications of rewilding, including the efficacy of rewilding to mitigate biological invasions, the ethics of introducing animals for their ecological roles, the role of autonomy in rewilding, opportunities for rewilding in Australia, and the evidence that some animals, particularly persecuted elephants, are refugees in a morally compelling sense.

Tristan is also a graduate of the University of Western Australia (BSc, Zoology and BE, Environmental Engineering) and the University of Tasmania (BA, Philosophy). Prior to his graduate studies, he worked as an environmental consultant, managing environmental impact assessments for mining projects.

Tristan’s research interests lie at the intersection of environmental thinking and practice, where ontological questions abound and ethical tensions multiply, inviting careful and creative discussion. He is convinced that living well means more than doing well by other humans. It has much to do with how we respond to the places we inhabit, our fellow creatures, and the social-ecological wholes of which we are a part. Tristan is bringing environmental philosophy to bear on problems raised by contemporary conservation and restoration practices. These practices include the restoration of wildness and autonomy in nature, the killing and hurting of animals for conservation outcomes, and the reinstitution of Indigenous cultural practices.