Dr Sonia Graham

Lecturer Social Reserach and Policy
PhD (Sociology)
School of Social Sciences


02 9385 0686
Room G16, Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Human Geography, Rural Sociology
Tags: Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species


Sonia's research seeks to understand the ways in which environmental policies affect people, particularly rural residents, and the ways in which relationships between individuals and governments affect the management of natural resources. She applies this knowledge to inform fair and effective solutions to a range of environmental problems, including water resource management, weed managment, and climate change.

Sonia's research primarily focuses on concepts such as collective action, trust, power, fairness, legitimacy and values. In conducting this research she seeks to bring together insights from social and biophysical sciences as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Current research projects

Benchmarking weed hygiene in NSW: current knowledge and adoption of best practices among land managers, contractors and transport industries

Weed management guidelines emphasise the importance of weed hygiene—cleaning vehicles, machinery and equipment, and taking precautions in fodder and animal transport. This study aims to explore the extent to which public and private land managers, weed contractors, and agricultural transport companies know about, practice, and support good weed hygiene practices.

Postgraduate Research Supervision

Current Postgraduate Research Supervision

Kaitlyn Height, PhD, The role of social norms in the development of collective action for agricultural weed management

AKM Nuruzzaman, PhD, Social vulnerability to climate change and microfinance organisations


Teaching areas

SRAP2002 - Policy Analysis Case Studies

SRAP3002 - Social Science and Policy Project

SRAP5102 - Reserach design

SRAP5103 - Research report


    Book Chapters

    • Lukasiewicz A;Dovers S;Robbin L;McKay J;Schilizzi S;Graham S, 2017, 'Current status and future prospects for justice research in environmental management', in Lukasiewicz A; Dovers S; Robbin L; McKay J; Schilizzi S; Graham S (ed.), Natural Resources and Environmental Justice Australian Perspectives, CSIRO PUBLISHING, pp. 263 - 263
    • Graham S;Baldwin C;McKay J;Jackson S, 2017, 'Justice approaches: methods and methodology in environmental justice research', in lukasiewicz A; dovers S; Robbin L; McKay J; Schilizzi S; Graham S (ed.), Natural Resources and Environmental Justice Australian Perspectives, CSIRO PUBLISHING, pp. 39 - 39
    • Graham S;Barnett J, 2017, 'Accounting for justice in local government responses to sea-level rise: evidence from two local councils in Victoria, Australia', in Lukasiewicz A; Dovers S; Robbin L; McKay J; Schilizzi S; Graham S (ed.), Natural Resources and Environmental Justice Australian Perspectives, CSIRO PUBLISHING, Clayton South, pp. 91 - 104
    • McGinness HM;O'Connell DA;Graham S, 2010, 'Eucalypt seedling establishment and the effects of water supply and demand – past research trends and priorities for the future', in Handbook on Agroforestry: Management Practices and Environmental Impact, Nova Publishers, New York, pp. 275 - 299
    • Graham S;McGinness HM;O'Connell DA, 2010, 'How useful is seasonal climate forecasting for tree planting decisions in south-eastern Australia? Perspectives from local knowledge experts', in Handbook on Agroforestry: Management Practices and Environmental Impact, Nova Publishers, New York, pp. 407 - 424

    Journal articles

    • Ramm TD;Graham S;White CJ;Watson CS, 2017, 'Advancing values-based approaches to climate change adaptation: A case study from Australia', Environmental Science and Policy, vol. 76, pp. 113 - 123, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2017.06.014
    • Graham S;Rogers S, 2017, 'How Local Landholder Groups Collectively Manage Weeds in South-Eastern Australia', Environmental Management, vol. 60, pp. 396 - 408, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0859-7
    • O'Neill SJ;Graham S, 2016, '(En)visioning place-based adaptation to sea-level rise', Geo: Geography and Environment, vol. 3, pp. e00028 - e00028, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/geo2.28
    • Jordan N;Schut M;Graham S;Barney JN;Childs DZ;Christensen S;Cousens RD;Davis AS;Eizenberg H;Ervin DE;Fernandez-Quintanilla C;Harrison LJ;Harsch MA;Heijting S;Liebman M;Loddo D;Mirsky SB;Riemens M;Neve P;Peltzer DA;Renton M;Williams M;Recasens J;Sønderskov M, 2016, 'Transdisciplinary weed research: new leverage on challenging weed problems?', Weed Research, vol. 56, pp. 345 - 358, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/wre.12219
    • Bowen KJ;Miller FP;Dany V;Graham S, 2015, 'The relevance of a coproductive capacity framework to climate change adaptation: investigating the health and water sectors in Cambodia', Ecology and Society, vol. 20, http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06864-200113
    • Fincher R;Barnett J;Graham S, 2015, 'Temporalities in Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise', Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 105, pp. 263 - 273, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2014.988101
    • Graham S;Barnett J;Fincher R;Mortreux C;Hurlimann A, 2015, 'Towards fair local outcomes in adaptation to sea-level rise', Climatic Change, vol. 130, pp. 411 - 424, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1171-7
    • Barnett J;Graham S;Mortreux C;Fincher R;Waters E;Hurlimann A, 2014, 'A local coastal adaptation pathway', Nature Climate Change, vol. 4, pp. 1103 - 1108, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2383
    • Hurlimann A;Barnett J;Fincher R;Osbaldiston N;Mortreux C;Graham S, 2014, 'Urban planning and sustainable adaptation to sea-level rise', Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 126, pp. 84 - 93, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.12.013
    • Fincher R;Barnett J;Graham S;Hurlimann A, 2014, 'Time stories: Making sense of futures in anticipation of sea-level rise', Geoforum, vol. 56, pp. 201 - 210, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.07.010
    • Graham S, 2014, 'A new perspective on the trust power nexus from rural Australia', Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 36, pp. 87 - 98, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.06.010
    • Graham S;Barnett J;Fincher R;Hurlimann A;Mortreux C, 2014, 'Local values for fairer adaptation to sea-level rise: A typology of residents and their lived values in Lakes Entrance, Australia', Global Environmental Change, vol. 29, pp. 41 - 52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.07.013
    • GRAHAM SO N I A;SCHANDL HE I N Z;WILLIAMS LI A N A J;FORAN TI R A, 2013, 'The Effects of Climate and Socio-Demographics on Direct Household Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Australia', Geographical Research, vol. 51, pp. 424 - 438, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1745-5871.12012
    • Graham S, 2013, 'Three cooperative pathways to solving a collective weed management problem', Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 20, pp. 116 - 129, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14486563.2013.774681
    • Graham S;Barnett J;Fincher R;Hurlimann A;Mortreux C;Waters E, 2013, 'The social values at risk from sea-level rise', Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol. 41, pp. 45 - 52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eiar.2013.02.002
    • Darbas T;Williams R;Graham S, 2011, 'Green-changing: A research-based collaboration with a tree-changed rural community', Rural Society, vol. 20, pp. 256 - 265, http://dx.doi.org/10.5172/rsj.20.3.256
    • Graham S, 2009, 'Irrigators’ attitudes towards environmental flows for wetlands in the Murrumbidgee, Australia', Wetlands Ecology and Management, vol. 17, pp. 303 - 316, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11273-008-9108-4
    • Graham S;McGinness HM;O’Connell DA, 2009, 'Effects of management techniques on the establishment of eucalypt seedlings on farmland: a review', Agroforestry Systems, vol. 77, pp. 59 - 81, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10457-009-9204-3
    • Darbas T;Reeve I;Farquharson R;Graham S, 2008, 'Co-Regulation and Cotton: Governance of Natural Resource Management in the Australian Cotton Industry', Australasian Journal of Natural Resources, Law and Policy, vol. 12, pp. 87 - 113
    • Huth NI;Carberry PS;Cocks B;Graham S;McGinness HM;O’Connell DA, 2008, 'Managing drought risk in eucalypt seedling establishment: An analysis using experiment and model', Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 255, pp. 3307 - 3317, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2008.02.024
    • Graham S;McGinness HM;O’Connell DA;Nicholls AO, 2008, 'Climatic Drivers of Revegetation Management Practices in Australia: Analysis of a Social Survey', Small-scale Forestry, vol. 7, pp. 183 - 203, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11842-008-9049-z
    • Graham S;Myerscough MR;Jones JC;Oldroyd BP, 2006, 'Modelling the role of intracolonial genetic diversity on regulation of brood temperature in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies', Insectes Sociaux, vol. 53, pp. 226 - 232, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00040-005-0862-5
    • Graham S;Connell J, 2006, 'Nurturing Relationships: the gardens of Greek and Vietnamese migrants in Marrickville, Sydney', Australian Geographer, vol. 37, pp. 375 - 393, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049180600954799
    • Holmgren M;Stapp P;Dickman CR;Gracia C;Graham S;Gutiérrez JR;Hice C;Jaksic F;Kelt DA;Letnic M;Lima M;López BC;Meserve PL;Milstead WB;Polis GA;Previtali MA;Richter M;Sabaté S;Squeo FA, 2006, 'A synthesis of ENSO effects on drylands in Australia, North America and South America', Advances in Geosciences, vol. 6, pp. 69 - 72
    • Holmgren M;Stapp P;Dickman CR;Gracia C;Graham S;Gutiérrez JR;Hice C;Jaksic F;Kelt DA;Letnic M;Lima M;López BC;Meserve PL;Milstead WB;Polis GA;Previtali MA;Richter M;Sabaté S;Squeo FA, 2006, 'Extreme climatic events shape arid and semiarid ecosystems', Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 4, pp. 87 - 95, http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295(2006)004[0087:ECESAA]2.0.CO;2
    • Jones JC;Myerscough MR;Graham S;Oldroyd BP, 2004, 'Honey bee nest thermoregulation: Diversity promotes stability', Science, vol. 305, pp. 402 - 404, http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1096340


    • Graham S;Gill N;Cross R;Simpson V;Taylor E;Rogers S, 2016, Weed hygiene practices in NSW: Knowledge and practices of landholders, public land managers, weed contractors and agricultural transport operators, Sydney, http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/2536/
    • Barnett J;Fincher R;Hurlimann A;Graham S;Mortreux C, 2014, Equitable Local Outcomes in Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise: Final Project Report, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, http://hdl.handle.net/11343/39609
    • Barnett J;Fincher R;Hurlimann A;Graham S;Mortreux C, 2014, Incorporating Community Values into Climate Change Planning: A Guide for Local Government, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, http://hdl.handle.net/11343/39610

Affiliations and membership

Institute of Australian Geographers

International Sociological Association


Other information

I'm looking for potential PhD candidates for the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarships. The project I'm supervising is titled: Achieving Fair and Collective Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise. Other supervisors are Marc Williams and Kristen Splinter.

Here is a brief description of the project:

Sea-level rise, coastal migration and more intense extreme weather events will render 350 million people vulnerable to coastal flooding by 2050. It is in the interests of coastal communities to adapt to such environmental change, yet little is known about how collective adaptation is achieved and whether local initiatives are socially just. This project will advance our understanding about collective action and climate justice through three international sea-level rise case studies. The ultimate aim is to ensure that future coastal adaptation is fair and collaborative to sustain coastal communities through climate change.

If you're interested in applying for a PhD on this topic, please complete the self assessment exercise and submit it here: http://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/scientia-phd-scholarships/achieving-fair-and-collective-adaptation-sea-level-rise