School of Geography

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Tapan Kumar Nath

Professor, School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences,



Professor Tapan Kumar Nath, graduated with his Bachelor and Master in Forestry from University of Chittagong, Bangladesh and earned PhD in Agriculture (Participatory Forestry and Livelihoods) from the University of Tokyo, Japan. He was awarded a two-year JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) post-doctoral fellowship just after his PhD. He held academic positions at Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Visiting Faculty at Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo, Visiting Scholar at Waseda University.

Expertise Summary

I am an Interdisciplinary Researcher with experience in applying Socio-Ecological Approach, Sustainable Livelihood Frameworks, and Natural Resources Governance Framework for collaborative natural resources (forests, protected areas) governance, and livelihoods of forest dependent communities in the Global South. My research intersects natural resources (forests, protected areas) governance, biodiversity conservation, urban green spaces & wellbeing, and SDGs. I use mixed methods research.

Teaching Summary

I currently teach following four modules: Introduction of Sustainable Development (year 1), Tourism and the Environment (year 2), Forests, Environment and Society (year-2), and Environmental Policy… read more

Research Summary

My main fields of research interests include interaction between society and nature toward sustainable management of natural resources and community development. In doing so, I look at context,… read more

Recent Publications

  • SMITH ET AL., 2022. Tree species that ‘live slow, die older’ enhance tropical peat swamp restoration: Evidence from a systematic review Applied Ecology. (In Press.)
  • TARIT KUMAR BAUL, ANIRBAN SARKER and TAPAN KUMAR NATH, 2021. Restaurants’ Waste in Chittagong City, Bangladesh: Current Management, Awareness on Environmental Hazard and Perception towards Potential Uses Journal of Cleaner Production. (In Press.)
  • HUI LING CHEN, TAPAN KUMAR NATH, SIEWHUI CHONG, VERNON FOO, CHRIS GIBBINS and ALEX M. LECHNER, 2021. The plastic waste problem in Malaysia: management, recycling and disposal of local and global plastic waste SN Applied Sciences. 3, 437

I currently teach following four modules: Introduction of Sustainable Development (year 1), Tourism and the Environment (year 2), Forests, Environment and Society (year-2), and Environmental Policy and Economics (year 3). I also co-teach Social research Methods (4 lectures) under Environmental Data Analysis module (year -2).

I also taught Development and the Environment, World Agroecosystems, Research and Professional Skills of Environmental Scientists modules.

Current Research

My main fields of research interests include interaction between society and nature toward sustainable management of natural resources and community development. In doing so, I look at context, institutions, governance, livelihood capital and diversifications, and sustainable conservation and livelihoods outcomes. Community livelihoods depend to a larger extend on their natural capital and my research examines intensification of traditional agro-ecological practices (e. g. agroforestry, home gardens, underutilized crops) for sustainable community development. Along with above research interests, my current research also investigates the relationship between small-scale forestry and SDGs, , urban green space and wellbeing outcomes, Urban gardening, and KAP (knowledge, attitude, and practices) studies on public health issues, and other environmental issues including waste management. As such, my research also extends in cross-disciplinary collaboration. Both of my interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research are closely related to the sustainability of natural resources, sustainable land uses, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development, and these research have significant contribution towards sustainable development.

My research achievements consist of three authored/edited books, 11 book chapters and 74 peer reviewed journal articles (majority in Q1 & Q2 journals) with 1415 google scholar citations, and an h-index of 22 (citations). My publications related to Sustainable Livelihoods were recognized well and I was reported as Top-10 most productive authors in this field (Sustainability 2019, 11/4/1150 ). I established research collaboration with universities in Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka, and with government agencies, NGOs, and community people. With these collaborations, we were able to obtain research grants, conducted collaborative research, and published jointly. I have a record of ongoing (5 research projects) and past funded collaborative research grants and consultancy assignments. With my research projects, I could involve two Master and four PhD students.

Findings of our collaborative research have had greater policy impacts as government officials and community people (research collaborators) have taken study results for necessary interventions. Apart from publishing research results, I do present our works in international and national conferences as invited and keynote speakers. I also actively take part in organizing conferences/symposiums/workshops as the chair and a member of local organizing committee and scientific committee. I recently co-organized an international symposium (virtual) on Forest Governance from 23-27 August 2021, where more than 1000 participants joined to share and learn forest governance and livelihoods related knowledge in developing countries. Recently, I received two awards: i) Best paper award for a paper "Can sustainable tourism conserve indigenous traditions in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh?" 1st international conference on Spirituality, Culture and Sustainable Tourism (SCST 2017), 28 May to 2nd June 2017, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia; and ii) Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Research Publications Award 2020, and Dean's Commendation 2021, University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Current Funded Research Projects

  1. People-Centric Forest Landscape Restoration in Southeastern Bangladesh: Principles, Challenges, and Livelihood Outcomes. Compass Program under US Forest Service, International Programs (February - August 2022). Bangladesh Taka 296,000.00 [Co-Principal Investigator]
  2. Appreciating Communities Efforts towards Greener Kuala Lumpur: The Cases of Urban Community Forests. Kota Damansara Community Forestry Society_UNDP-GEF-SGP grants (March 2022 - February 2023). Malaysian Ringgit 6000.00. [Principal Investigator]
  3. Understanding how Japan's Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems Contribute towards Locals' Food Security and Agro-Biodiversity Conservation: Lessons for Malaysia. The Sumitomo Foundation, Japan. (April 2021 - December 2022), JPY 980,000. [Principal Investigator]
  4. Evaluating how Small-scale Agroforestry can help Malaysia Achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals. Fundamental researcg Grant Scheme, The Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Malaysia (November 2020 - April 2024) [ Principal Investigator]
  5. Understanding the Sustainability of Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) for Improved Livelihoods of Indigenous People: Evidence from Kinabalu Park, Sabah. Conservation Partnership Scheme, WWF-Malaysia (January 2020 - June 2022) [Principal Investigator]
  6. Risks and Solutions to Restore Coastal Mangrove forests for improved Ecosystem Services and local livelihoods: A comparative study (Malaysia and Indonesia). Global Challenge Research Fund, (November 2019 - July 2020) [Co-Principal Investigator]
  7. Biogas and Green Fertiliser for Indigenous Communities in Bintulu District, Malaysia. Global Challenge Research Fund, (November 2019 - July 2020) [Co-Principal Investigator]
  8. Appreciating Community Participation for the Conservation and Rehabilitation of Peatland Swamp Forests: A study in Raja Musa Forest Reserve, Kuala Selangor. National Conservation Trust Fund, Ministry of Land, Water and Natural Resources, Federal Government of Malaysia (January 2018- December 2019) [Principal Investigator]
  9. Institutional design for biodiversity conservation in Indonesian side of the Heart of Borneo: linking local reality with global issues. The government of Japan (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research) (April 2017-March 2021). [Collaborator]
  10. Building Collaboration for Research on Community-based Forest Management in Selangor, Malaysia. Pump priming fund, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (January - September 2015) [Principal Investigator]
  11. Exploring the New Environmental Ethics for Conservation of Peatland Swamp Forest in Peninsular Malaysia. Toyota Foundation (May 2015 - April 2016). (Principal Investigator]
  12. Institutional Options of Participatory Forest Management in a New Age - Integration of climate change policy and rural development policy - supported by the government of Japan (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research) for four years (FY 2012- FY 2015). [Collaborator]

Future Research

In next 3-5 years, I will develop and conduct thematic research on following themes in the Global South:

[Theme A] Forest Resources Governance, Community Forest Management, and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Within decentralized natural resource (forest) governance, community forest management (CFM) is a state approved forest management approach that ensure participation of direct forest users (e. g. local communities) in common decision making, implementation of forest management activities, utilization, and ownership of the benefits of forest management. It is a people-centred approach aiming at to improve livelihoods of forest users, reduce poverty, conserve natural resources and promotes good forest governance. These forests play an important role in reducing poverty, ensuring food security; human well-being, water conservation, gender empowerment, rural energy source, sustainable economic growth, combating climate change, and promoting sustainable resource use and development. However, evaluation of CFM in terms of progress towards achieving SDGs is scanty (Hiratsuka et al., 2019). Our assumption is that presence of favourable enabling environment (e. g. policy, institutions, effective interactions among actors, good governance) facilitate sustainability of CFM, which in turn help communities to achieve a number of SDGs. We use Ostrom's Design Principles and Socio-Ecological System to understand sustainability of CFM, Natural Resources Governance framework, and the UN SDGs to assess contribution of CFM to sustainable development.

[Theme B] Agro-ecological Practices and Food Security

Agro-ecology means integration of agricultural practices with ecological principles in the design and management of agroecosystems drawing on knowledge of social, biological and agricultural sciences, and integrates these with traditional. Agro-ecological practices (e. g. indigenous farming system, agroforestry practices, urban gardening, etc.) are deeply rooted in the ecological rationale of traditional small-scale farmers in marginal environments who for centuries have developed sustainable farming systems, thrive without agrochemicals, meet local food needs and passed the knowledge from generation to generation, and widely shared with community. It has been recommended that in order to feed nine billion people in 2050 and to improve the situation of the poorest, a fundamental shift towards agro-ecological farming is essential in order to boost food production (IAASTD 2009; de Schutter 2010, Miguel et al. 2013). Our assumption is that the combined application of ecological principles and local ecological knowledge (LEK) in agroecological practices makes them resilient to changing climate. A climate resilient agro-ecological farming system would be sustainable and contribute to the food security of the communities, and they will in turn maintain their farms following ecological principles and LEK.

[Theme C] Urban Green Spaces (UGS) and Wellbeing

Research on UGS and wellbeing is limited in the Global South. Under this thematic research I focus on urban green space, green exercise, urban gardening, and wellbeing outcomes. Findings of these studies help to suggest evidence-based policy guidelines for relevant authorities.

School of Geography

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University of Nottingham
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