Professor John Hearne


Head of School

School /
Work Unit

Math & Geospatial Sciences

Contact Details

+61 3 9925 2283


Building: 8
Level: 9
Room: 1

City Campus


Science, Engineering & Health

"Professor John Hearne"


  • B.Sc (Appl. Math. and Phys.), Cape Town.
  • B.Sc (Hons) (Appl. Math.), Cape Town.
  • M.Sc, Pretoria.
  • D.Sc, Pretoria.


  • New Zealand UGC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (1986).
  • Tom Rozwadowski Award presented by the Operations Research Society of SA for the best published research by a member. Received in 1992, 2000, and 2004.
  • Fellow of ORSSA.
  • Fellow of the Resource Modelling Association
  • EU Erasmus Mundus Fellowship (2010, 2014)

Editorial boards

Professional affiliations


My main interest is in the use of quantitative techniques to solve management problems. This has involved a wide range of mathematical techniques including differential equations, optimization, column generation, sensitivity analysis, model simplification and order reduction. In the application area I am particularly interested in problems relating to the conservation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources.

Current PhD students

  • Ray Bedford – From seabed to management – a whole system model for Abalone
  • Martijn van der Merwe – Decision support for bushfire incident management teams
  • Ramya (Mia) Rachmawati - Adaptation to the impact of climate change on agriculture: optimisation of land use
  • Mahsa Keshtkaran – Operations Research modelling for decision support in stroke care services

Recent PhD Completions

  • James Minas - Use of Operations Research Methods for Decision Support in Bushfire Management
  • Nahid Jafari - Exact Models for Selection Problems: From Clinical Trials to Reserve Network Design
  • Paul Moloney – Optimising mixed-grazing strategies for semi-arid Australian rangelands
  • Emmanuel Mwakiwa – Cooperation or Competition: Dilemma for Resource Managers n Sustainable Wildlife Utilisation

Selected publications

For a more complete list go to John's publications

Sensitivity Analysis and Model Simplification

  • Hearne, John W (2010) ‘An automated method for extending sensitivity analysis to model functions’, Natural Resource Modeling, 23:107-120.
  • Lawrie, Jock & Hearne, John (2008), ‘A method for aggregating state variables in large ecosystem models’, Mathematics and Computers in Simulation 79:368–378
  • Lawrie, JS and Hearne JW, 2007. "Reducing Model Complexity Via Output Sensitivity". Ecological Modelling 207: 137-144.
  • Lawrie, J and Hearne, JW, 2007. ‘Using modified proper orthogonal decomposition (MPOD) for reducing ecosystem models‘ ANZIAM Journal 48: 461-473.
  • Hearne, J W "An approach to resolving the parameter sensitivity problem in system dynamics methodology", 1987, Applied Mathematical Modelling, 11:315 318.
  • Hearne, J W "Sensitivity analysis of parameter combinations", 1985, Applied Mathematical Modelling, 9:106 108.

Numerical Methods

  • Chalmers,A G, J W Hearne, K J Cameron and N E Ligetti "Implementation and performance evaluation of a parallel optimisation algorithm on transputers", 1990, Computer Systems Science and Engineering, 5:42 46.
  • Hearne, J W and G C Wake "A numerical method for solving a stream nutrient model", 1989, Applied Mathematical Modelling, 13:155 159.
  • Chalmers, A G, J W Hearne and C J Scogings "Evaluating parallel optimisation on transputers", 1989, ORiON, 5:75 83.


  • JP Minas, JW Hearne, DL Martell, “A spatial optimisation model for multi-period landscape level fuel management to mitigate wildfire impacts”, European Journal of Operational Research 232: 412-422.
  • Minas, James, Hearne, John & Martell, David "An integrated optimisation model for fuel management and fire suppression preparedness planning”, 2013. Annals of Operations Research 1-15. (DOI 10.1007/s10479-012-1298-8)
  • Minas, James, John Hearne and John Handmer, ‘A review of operations research (OR) methods applicable to wildfire management’, 2012, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 21:189-196.
  • Berjak, SG and Hearne, JW, ‘An improved cellular automaton model for simulating fire in a spatially heterogeneous savanna system”, 2002, Ecological Modelling, 148: 133 - 151.
  • Berjak, S G and J W Hearne, 2002. Spatial fire modelling in Mkuze Game Reserve: A case study. Orion, 18:37-57.
  • Van Langevelde, F., van de Vijver, C., Kumar, L., van de Koppel, J., de Ridder, N., van Andel, J., Skidmore, A.K., Hearne, J.W., Stroosnijder, L., Bond, W.J., Prins, H.H.T. and Rietkerk, M. (2003) Effects of fire and herbivory on the stability of savanna ecosystems. Ecology, 84, 337-350.

Wildlife Management

  • Bedford, RA, JW Hearne, Y Wang, HK Gorfine, B Taylor Evaluating alternative management strategies for abalone, 2013, Natural Resource Modeling 26 (4), 628-647
  • Bedford, Raymond; Hearne, John & Gorfine, Harry, "Implications of the dichotomy between the spatial scales at which abalone are managed and harvested", 2013. Fisheries Management & Ecology, 20: 338-345. ( DOI: 10.1111/fme.12019 )
  • E Mwakiwa, WF de Boer, JW Hearne, R Slotow, F van Langevelde, M Peel, C C Grant, Y Pretorius, J D Stigter, A K Skidmore, I Heitkönig, H J de Knegt, E M Kohi, N Knox, HT Prins, “Optimization of wildlife management in a large game reserve through waterpoints manipulation: A bio-economic analysis”, 2013, Journal of Environmental Management, 114:352-361
  • Hearne, John & Apaloo, Joe, “Resolving an issue arising from translocation strategy for saving the black rhino”, 2012, Journal of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research, 1:55-60.
  • Hearne, J W, Santika, T & Goodman, P (2008), ‘Portfolio selection theory and wildlife management’, ORiON, 24:103-113.
  • Hearne JW ‘, A market-driven approach to the optimal stocking problem on African game ranches ’. 2007. Journal of The Operational Research Society 58 (4): 423-428 APR 2007
  • Apaloo J, Muir PW and Hearne JW, 2005, Multi-Species Evolutionary Dynamics. Evolutionary Ecology, 19:55-77.
  • Cromsigt, JPMG, Hearne, JW, Heitkonig, I and HHT Prins, ‘On the use of models in the management of wildlife populations. A case study on the census of Black Rhino (Dicerosbicornis L.) populations in South Africa’. 2002, Ecological Modelling, 149:203-211.
  • Hearne, J W and J. Swart, ‘Modelling: A tool for enhancing the survival prospects of African wildlife ’, 2000, Natural Resource Modeling 13:35-56.
  • Hearne, J W and J Swart "Optimal translocation strategies for saving the black rhino", 1991, Ecological Modelling, 59:279-292.
  • Hearne, J W, J Swart and P Goodman “A conservation model for black rhino", 1991, ORiON, 7:25 37.
  • Swart, J and J W Hearne "A mathematical model to analyse predation and competition problems in a sheep farming region", 1989, System Dynamics Review, 5:35 50.
  • Swart, J, J W Hearne, M R Perrin, and L J Fourie "A mathematical model of the rock hyrax caracal lynx interaction, based on demographic data from a population inhabiting the Mountain Zebra National Park",1986, S. Afr. J. of Science, 82:289 294.
  • Hearne, J W and J Swart "Dynamics of a migratory animal population", 1984, S. Afr. J. Wildlife Research., 14:101 105.
  • Tomlinson, KW, Hearne, JW and Alexander, RR, ‘Modelling the effect of property size on the opportunity cost incurred by wildlife production’, 2002, Ecological Modelling, 149:85-95.
  • Hearne J W, Korrubel, J L and K J Koch, ‘Modelling to optimise consumptive use of game’ , 2000, Annals of Operations Research 95:269-284.
  • Hearne, John, Lamberson, Roland and Goodman, Peter "Optimising the offtake of large herbivores from a multi-species community”, 1996, Ecological Modelling 92:225-233.

Aquatic Systems

  • Wortmann, J, Hearne, J W and Adams, J B “Evaluating the effects of freshwater inflow on the distribution of estuarine macrophytes”, 1998, Ecological Modelling 106:213-232.
  • Quinn, N W , Breen, C M, Hearne, J W and Whitfield, A K “Decision support systems for environmental management: A case study on estuary management”, 1998, ORiON 14:17-35.
  • Quinn, N W , Whitfield, A K, Hearne, J W and Breen, C M “An index for the management of South African estuaries for juvenile fish recruitment from the marine environment” , 1999, Fisheries Management and Ecology 6:421-436.
  • Wortmann, J, Hearne, J W and Adams, J B “A mathematical model of an estuarine seagrass”, 1997, Ecological Modelling 98:137-149.
  • Hearne, J W, Johnson, I and Armitage, PD "Determination of ecologically acceptable flows in rivers with seasonal changes in the density of macrophyte", 1994, Regulated Rivers: Research and Management 9:177 184.
  • Hearne, J W and P D Armitage "Implications of the annual macrophyte growth cycle on habitat in rivers”, 1993, Regulated Rivers: Research and Management, 8:313-322.
  • Hearne, J W and C. Howard Williams "Modelling nitrate removal by riparian vegetation in a springfed stream: the influence of land use practices", 1988, Ecological Modelling, 42:179 198.

Agricultural Systems

  • Moloney, P D, and Hearne, J W, “Harvesting freely roaming public resources: Can property owners harvest kangaroos utilizing their land without impacting neighbours?” 2013, Environmental Management and Assessment, 18:639–646 (DOI 10.1007/s10666-013-9374-2)
  • Moloney, ,P D, Hearne, J W, Gordon, I J, & McLeod, S R, “Portfolio optimization techniques for a mixed-grazing scenario for Australia’s rangelands”, 2011, Natural Resource Modeling, 24:102-116.
  • Horton, PM, Hearne, JW, Apaloo, J, Conlong, D, Way, MJ and Uys, PW ‘Investigating strategies for minimising damage caused by the sugarcane pest Eldana saccharina’, 2002, Agricultural Systems, 74:271-286.
  • Hearne, J W, L M Van Coller and D E Conlong "Determining strategies for the biological control of a sugarcane stalk borer", 1994, Ecological Modelling, 73:117-133.
  • Hearne, J W and P W Uys "Conservation versus traditional cattle farming the economic implications", 1991, ORiON, 7:7 24.
  • Hearne, J W and A J C Buchan "A model to analyse the influence of resource management policies on the economic returns from a traditional African pastoral system", 1990, Agricultural Systems, 33:77 96.
  • Uys, P W, J W Hearne and P M Colvin "A model for estimating potential market offtake from subsistence herds", 1985, Agricultural Systems, 17:211-229.


  • Tomlinson KW, Hearne JW, Dominy JG & O’Connor TG, 2007. ‘A functional-structural model for growth of clonal bunchgrasses’. Ecological Modelling, 202:243-264.
  • Van de Koppel, J., M. Rietkerk, F. van Langevelde, L. Kumar, C.A. Klausmeier, J.M. Fryxell, J. Hearne, J. van Andel, N. de Ridder, A.K. Skidmore, L. Stroosnijder and H.H.T. Prins. 2002. Spatial heterogeneity and irreversible vegetation change in semi-arid grazing systems, American Naturalist, 159:209–218.
  • Rietkerk, M., T. Ouedraogo, L. Kumar, S. Sanou, F. van Langevelde, A. Kiema, J. van de Koppel, J. van Andel, J. Hearne, A.K. Skidmore, N. de Ridder, L. Stroosnijder and H.H.T. Prins. ‘Fine-scale spatial distribution of plants and resources on a sandy soil in the Sahel’, 2002, Plant and Soil. 239:69-77.
  • Kumar, L., M. Rietkerk, F. van Langevelde, J. van de Koppel, J. van Andel, J. Hearne, N. de Ridder, L. Stroosnijder, A.K. Skidmore and H.H.T. Prins. ‘Relationship between vegetation growth rates at the onset of the wet season and soil type in the Sahel of Burkina Faso: Implications for resource utilisation at large scales’, 2002, Ecological Modelling, 149:143-152.


  • Jafari, Nahid & Hearne, JW, “A new method to solve the fully connected Reserve Network Design Problem”, 2013, European Journal of Operational Research, 231: 202-209.
  • Jafari, Nahid, JW Hearne and L Churilov, "Why Caution is Recommended with Post-Hoc Individual Patient Matching for Estimation of Treatment Effect in Parallel Group Randomized Controlled Trials: the Case of Acute Stroke Trials", 2013, Statistics in Medicine. 32: 4467–4481. ( DOI: 10.1002/sim.5862)