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Harini Nagendra


Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University. Her recent 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 July 28 2016.

Prof. Nagendra is an ecologist who uses methods from the natural and social sciences - satellite remote sensing, biodiversity studies, archival research, GIS, institutional analysis, and community interviews, to examine the sustainability of forests and cities in the global South. 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 most recently 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 2017 Web of Science 2017 India Research Excellence Award as the most cited Indian researcher in the category of Interdisciplinary Research; 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).

Harini Nagendra has authored two books, and over 150 peer reviewed publications, including in Nature, Nature Sustainability and Science. She writes extensively on her research for the public via newspaper and magazine articles, science blogs, and has given a number of public talks for science communication. She also engages with international research on global environmental change, She is a Steering Committees member of the Future Earth Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society and a former Steering Committee Member of the Global Land Project, Diversitas and a Capacity Building Committee member of the Asia Pacific Network for Global Environmental Change. She has also been a Lead Author of the 5th IPCC Report - Working Group III.

Academic Qualifications

Dec. 1998: Ph.D., Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science
March 1995: M.S., Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science
July 1992: B.Sc., Bangalore University


Ecology and Development in India; Understanding Land Use/Land Cover Change; Remote Sensing for Sustainable Development

Areas of Interest

Urban sustainability; Ecology and Development; Forests; Commons; Biodiversity and conservation; Satellite remote sensing

Research Interests

Harini's research has three major strands. First, she examines the impact of rapid urbanization on ecological sustainability in India, drawing on a long term programme of research, education and outreach conducted across multiple Indian cities. Second, she studies the drivers and outcomes of land change in forested landscapes in South Asia. Third, she explores the use of satellite remote sensing technology for biodiversity assessment and conservation.


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Publications and Writings


  • H. Nagendra (2016). Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future. Oxford University Press, Delhi, India.
  • H. Nagendra and J. Southworth, eds (2010). Reforesting Landscapes: Pattern and Process. Springer Landscape Series, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Recent Journal Articles

  • H. Nagendra (2018). The global south is rich in sustainability lessons. Nature 557: 485-488.
  • H. Nagendra, X. Bai, E.S. Brondizio and S. Lwasa. The urban south and the predicament of global sustainability. Nature Sustainability 1: 341-349.
  • M. Jaganmohan, L.S. Vailshery, S. Mundoli and H. Nagendra (2018). Biodiversity in sacred urban spaces of Bengaluru. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 32: 64-70.
  • R. DeFries and H. Nagendra (2017). Ecosystem management as a wicked problem. Science 356: 265-270.
  • S. Paul, F. Jordan and H. Nagendra (2017). Communication networks and performance of four New Delhi city parks. Sustainability 9: 1551.
  • M. Derkzen, A.J.A. van Teeffelen, H. Nagendra and P. Verburg (2017). Shifting roles of urban green space in the context of urban development and global change. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 29: 32-39.
  • S. Mundoli, B. Manjunatha and H. Nagendra (2017). Commons that provide: the importance of Bengaluru’s wooded groves for urban resilience. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 9: 184-206.
  • H. Unnikrishnan, S. Sen and H. Nagendra (2017). Traditional water bodies and urban resilience: a historical perspective from Bangalore, India. Water History 9: 453-477.
  • S. Agarwal, A. Marathe, R. Ghate, J. Krishnaswamy and H. Nagendra (2017). Forest protection in Central India: Do differences in monitoring by state and local institutions result in diverse social and ecological impacts? Biological Conservation 26: 2047-2066.
  • H. Nagendra (2016). Ecological wisdom in the new urban era. Current Science 111: 1283- 1284.

Recent Keynotes and Public Talks

Selected Science Outreach

Curriculum Vitae

Harini Nagendra CV

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