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Dr Nagendra is a distinguished ecologist who uses a wide-range of research methods to examine the social-ecological sustainability of forests and cities.  She is an acclaimed book author and will be presenting the topic, Urban forestry in the era of the Anthropocene: Science, education, action.  


Dr Harini Nagendra is the Director of the Research Centre at the University. She teaches sustainability and is the Director of the Research Centre, at the Azim Premji University, India.

Her last book Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future (Oxford University Press India, 2016) examines the transformation of human-nature interactions in Bangalore from the 6th century CE to the present, addressing the implications of such change for the urban sustainability of fast-growing cities in the global South. The book was listed by the science journal Nature as one of the five best science picks of the week in its issue of 28 July 2016.

She is an ecologist who uses satellite remote sensing coupled with field studies of biodiversity, archival research, institutional analysis, and community interviews to examine the factors shaping the social-ecological sustainability of forests and cities in the south Asian context. She completed her PhD from the Centre for Ecological Sciences in the Indian Institute of Science in 1998. Since then, she has conducted research and taught at multiple institutions, and was a Hubert H Humphrey Distinguished Visiting Professor at Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2013. She is a recipient of numerous awards for her research, including a 2013 Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar award for her research and practice on issues of the urban commons, and a 2009 Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (with Elinor Ostrom).

She has authored two books, over 150 peer reviewed publications, and communicates her research for the public through newspaper and magazine articles, science blogs, and public talks. She also engages with international research on global environmental change. She is on the Scientific Steering Committees of the Global Land Project, and the Programme for Ecosystem Change and Society, and was a Lead Author of the 5th IPCC Report — Working Group III.

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Urban forestry in the era of the Anthropocene: Science, education, action

The era of the Anthropocene is also the era of the urban. This is especially apparent in the global South, where cities are on a breakneck path to growth. Urbanization has brought prosperity and promise, but also pollution, stress, and disease.

The role of urban forestry is ever more critical in the era of the Anthropocene to combat climate change, disasters and pollution, and create healthy, livable, happy cities. Drawing on my work on research, education and practice in Indian cities, I discuss why we cannot go back to the ecology of the past. Instead, we must look at how urban forestry plays out in the lives of contemporary and future cities to collectively reimagine and redesign a better urban future.

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