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Welcome to

Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods

Why choose RIEL?

  • 'Outstanding performance' in environmental science and management​, and ecology​

    2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking: 5

  • Performance above world standard in ecological applications

    2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranking: 4


  • RIEL is ranked ‘High’ in engagement, impact and approach to impact

    2018 Engagement and Impact assessment (EI)​ ranking: High



Postgraduate study

Consultancy services

Sam Banks, head and shoulders, with green vegetation behind
Professor Sam Banks

Director's message

Welcome to the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods. We host and offer internationally significant research initiatives, postgraduate study and consultancy services related to natural and human systems in northern Australia and neighbouring regions.

Our teaching and research excellence, collaborative approach, and dynamic staff and students are making a RIEL difference across the region.

I feel privileged to be supporting such achievements at this important time for the north and hope to work with you soon.

- RIEL Director, Prof. Sam Banks

Find out more about RIEL (PDF, 857.2 KB)

Our research areas

Biodiversity conservation

Communities and livelihoods

Savanna and arid ecology

Water and catchments

Undergraduate study

Many of our world-class researchers also teach into the Environmental Science bachelors degree and other programs. If you are interested in studying environmental science as an undergraduate or honours student, watch this video and then find out how to apply for CDU's Science, Environmental Science and Management courses.

How to apply

RIEL news

  • reptiles

    More than one in five reptile species threatened with extinction globally

    New international research shows more than one in five reptile species are threatened with extinction globally, with Australia being a new priority region for better conservation efforts.

    Read more
  • A change in diet could explain the recovery of saltwater crocodiles in Northern Australia.

    Change in diet may contribute to rapid recovery of apex predator, new research reveals

    New research from Charles Darwin University (CDU) has revealed that the estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in the Northern Territory have shifted from an estuarine based diet to one that is largely derived from terrestrial sources.

    Read more
  • Charles Darwin University (CDU) hydrologist Dr Clément Duvert is studying how much carbon is lost from our landscape through the water cycle.

    CDU expert says Australia’s East Coast drenching releases large quantities of CO2 to the atmosphere

    The drenching of Australia’s East Coast could have an important impact on the carbon cycle as massive amounts of carbon are lost from terrestrial ecosystems due to erosion and flooding, says a Charles Darwin University (CDU) hydrologist. 

    Read more