Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments
University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia
I completed a double BSc (Science and Forestry) in Nepal, an MSc (Natural Resources Management) in Thailand, where I was awarded a gold medal (GPA 4/4) for my MSc, and a PhD in Australia. In BSc Forestry, Resources Economics, Statistics, Forest Management, Biodiversity Conservation, and Human Resource Management were my major subjects. After completing BSc Forestry with distinction in 1991, I worked for the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation in Nepal for 10 years. During this time, I introduced an innovative concept to boost plantations among rural and urban areas known as “Memorial Forest Plantations”. The Gitthepani Community Forest User Group (CFUGs) implemented this concept for the first time in 1999 and received the Best Community Forests Award from among the 13,000 CFUGs in Nepal. This concept has been replicated in many districts of Nepal. I also developed numerous training courses on forest inventory, biodiversity assessment, natural resources management and climate change and delivered them to forest rangers, forest guards and community leaders in Nepal. I always received the highest ratings in their evaluations. My effective and innovative managerial, research and training capabilities were rewarded with the title of “Best Officer” in Bajhang, Nepal, for two consecutive years (1998 and 1999).
As a result of my strong professional and educational background, the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO, Japan) and Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand jointly awarded me a scholarship for my Masters Degree in Natural Resources Management. The main subjects in my Masters Degree included Resources Economics, Environmental Economics, Statistics, Research Design and Methods, Agroforestry, Project Management and Integrated Natural Resources Planning. I achieved exceptional results in all courses (GPA 4 out of 4), culminating in recipient of both the Tim Kendall Memorial Prize from AIT and the Mahendra Bidhya Bhusan Kha medal from the King of Nepal. My Master’s thesis was about the economic aspects of non-timber forests products in Nepal, which received widespread recognition in the development of Nepalese forest policy. I also received a range of research grants from the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), Natural Resources Management Sector Program (NARMSAP, a Danish Project), IUCN, WWF, and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) projects to support my research work.
After completing my Masters degree, I worked as a Research Associate at AIT on a “Capacity Development for Clean Development Mechanism (CD4CDM)” project funded by UNEP. As a Research Associate, I initiated and prepared capacity development guidelines and an implementation plan for Vietnam, Cambodia and Philippines. I also organized a regional CDM workshop for Cambodian, Vietnamese and the Philippine government officials.
I received four PhD scholarship offers, before finally choosing University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia. My PhD project focussed on the dynamism of reforestation activities in the face of carbon trading. In my PhD, I undertook modelling for optimal spacing level (density) for spotted gum plantations; estimated the optimal rotation age of plantation incorporating the three dominant greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O) and tangible benefits; and compared the net present values of three highly competitive land use systems (peanut-maize cropping, pasture and plantation) including these three GHGs and tangible benefits. I used RothC, CAMFor, Excel, SPSS, STATISTICA and ForecastXTM software for my PhD. I have published one book, 7 international journal papers and 5 conference papers from my PhD.
I have worked in the areas of economics, agriculture, forestry, water, food, NRM, and carbon accounting and modelling research for over 20 years in three different countries (Nepal, Thailand and Australia) and have developed an extensive knowledge and skills in these areas. This is reflected in my research projects, and 75 publications including two books in the last 5 year. Key projects include: (1) An analysis of socioeconomic impacts of climate change on forested regions in Australia; (2) Greenhouse gas (GHG) and water saving implications of new irrigation technology; (3) An assessment of REDD+ governance quality; (4) An assessment of different land use systems including carbon values; (5) An assessment of GHG emissions from 23 vegetables, cotton, rice, peanut, pasture and plantation industries; (6) An analysis of whether agriculture should be included in an emissions trading system; (7) An analysis of Australia’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; (8) Tradeoffs between energy and water in enhancing food security; (9) Analysis of anthropogenic GHG emissions status of Annex I countries; (10) An analysis of whether adoption of zero tillage reduces GHG emissions; (11) Reassessment of the profitability of the irrigation industry including water and GHG values; and (12) An assessment of soil carbon amount in different land use systems. I have published several papers from these projects in peer reviewed international journals. I am a “Research Active Researcher” (RA2, the highest category), determined by the USQ criteria based on research grants, PhD supervision and publications.
Currently, I have been working as the Deputy Director (Operations) at Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments (ACSC) at USQ. My role is to: (1) co-ordinate and maintain strong relationships with ACSC staff, community organisations and industry partners; (2) manage and supervise postgraduate students; (3) develop grant applications for climate change adaptations and mitigations research; and (4) conduct research and publish the findings. I am highly successful in my roles and responsibility. As a result, since 2010, ACSC’s external income has increased tenfold.
Currently, I am also a visiting professor for the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Lanzhou), where I need to teach research methodology. I am also involved with the UN (FAO) REDD+ Expert Group on forest governance data collection.
During this time I have co-supervised nine PhD students from five different countries: (1) Ms Precila Salcedo from the Philippines (Title: Site suitability assessment of forest plantation in South East Queensland for carbon trading using spatial technology); (2) Mr Arun Dhakal from Nepal (Title: Evaluating the performance of highly commercialized agroforestry systems with emphasis on carbon value: (3) Ms Christa Pudmenzky from Australia (Title: El niño-Southern Oscillation Influence on the dust storm activity in Australia: can the past provide an insight into the future?); (4) Mr Rohini Devkota from Nepal (Title: Determinants of Farmer’s adaption strategies to climate change: an empirical evidence form West Rapti Basin); (5) Mr. Adewuyi Ayodele from Nigeria (Title: Weather index insurance and derivatives as adaptation mechanisms to climate change: a focus on Australian agriculture); (6) Mr Shiva Shankar Pandey from Nepal (Title: Evaluating the REDD+ effectiveness in community based forest management system, a case study from Nepal); (7) Ms Zanariah Zainol Abdullah from Malaysia (Title: Analytical hierarchical network for generalized plant biodiversity richness characterization at landscape level; (8) Ms Luningning Dalayon from the Philippines (Title: Water usage and surface water availability under changing land use and climate within condamine catchment; and (9) Mr Suman Aryal from Nepal (Title: Examining the transhumance system in the northern mountainous areas of nepal under changing conservation paradigm and climate change).
I have been reviewing for 10 international journals: (1) Environmental Research Newsletter; (2) Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment; (3) Agriculture Systems; (4) Journal of Environmental Management; (5) Environmental Science and Policy; (6) Small-scale Forestry; (7) Journal of Agricultural Sciences (Cambridge University Press); (8) Austrian Journal of Forest Science; (9) Journal of Environmental Planning and Management; and (10) International Journal of Environmental Studies. Also, I assessed theses and dissertations. I am current with major economic instruments, and issues related to climate change and carbon trading (such as CDM, REDD+, EUETS, CPM, CFIs etc).
(1) An analysis of socioeconomic impacts of climate change on forested regions in Australia; (2) Greenhouse gas (GHG) and water saving implications of new irrigation technology; (3) An assessment of REDD+ governance quality; (4) An assessment of different land use systems including carbon values; (5) An assessment of GHG emissions from 23 vegetables, cotton, rice, peanut, pasture and plantation industries; (6) An analysis of whether agriculture should be included in an emissions trading system; (7) An analysis of Australia’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; (8) Tradeoffs between energy and water in enhancing food security; (9) Analysis of anthropogenic GHG emissions status of Annex I countries; (10) An analysis of whether adoption of zero tillage reduces GHG emissions; (11) Reassessment of the profitability of the irrigation industry including water and GHG values; and (12) An assessment of soil carbon amount in different land use systems.