Dr Mark Howden: helping primary industries adapt to climate change
Dr Mark Howden is an expert in the area of climate change and agriculture, working with rural industries to adapt to Australia's changing climate.
11 January 2011 | Updated 19 June 2012
Dr Mark Howden, Theme Leader for Adaptive Primary Industries, Enterprises and Communities, leads a team of researchers working with community, government and industry stakeholders to enable agriculture, fisheries, forestry,
other primary industries and mining, to prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change and ongoing climate variability.
He has been closely involved in developing the National Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries.
Dr Howden's specialist areas are:
impacts of climate variability and change on agricultural and urban systems
the dynamics of grazed and cropped ecosystems
development of innovative and sustainable farming systems.
Dr Howden began his research career in 1981 in the New South Wales Soil Conservation Service.
He then joined the Queensland Department of Primary Industries as a pasture agronomist in 1987 following completion of his doctorate with CSIRO in Townsville, Queensland.
In 1990 he joined the Bureau of Resource Sciences to lead their Land and Water Section.
Dr Howden joined CSIRO in 2000.
He has developed the national and international greenhouse gas inventories for Australia's agricultural sector and assessed sustainable methods of reducing greenhouse emissions from agriculture.
Dr Howden was a major contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC authors and former United States Vice-President Al Gore.
Dr Howden has conducted many studies on climate change impacts and adaptation, including studies in:
cropping and grazing systems
mixed farming systems
land use change
natural resource management
He has worked with government and industry policy groups in Australia
and internationally, informing their development of strategic approaches to climate change impacts and adaptation and to sustainable agriculture.
He has worked with industry and community groups to assess practical adaptation options for managing climate change impacts and to develop innovative agricultural,
and natural resource management practices.
According to Dr Howden, 'Australian farmers will need to be adaptable to cope with, and even take advantage of, climate change.'
Dr Howden has been awarded a:
Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, in 1983 with a focus on ecology, climatology and soil science
Doctor of Philosophy from Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, in 1990 for his research on tropical grazing systems.
Dr Howden was a major contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Second, Third and Fourth Assessment reports, the IPCC Regional Impacts Report and the IPCC Special Report on Land use, land use change and forestry that addressed issues of carbon sequestration and the Kyoto Protocol.
In 2009 Dr Howden was presented with the Sustainability Science Award by the Ecological Society of America.
Dr Howden is also:
- a member of the US Federal Advisory Committee on the National Climate
- a National Adaptation Research Network for Primary Industries Leader, 2009–present
- a member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC) taskforce on 'Food Security in a changing climate'
- a member of the working group for the PMSEIC, Canberra, Report on
climate change in Australia: regional impacts and adaptation
- a member of the International Council for Science and Environment
- on the writing team for the National Adaptation Research Plan for Primary Industries, 2009–present
- Honorary Professor, School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, 2008–present
- a member of the International Science Advisory Committee of the Netherlands climate change program
- on the Meat and Livestock Australia Environmental Science Advisory Panel
- on the Editorial Board of the journal Agricultural Systems.
He has been invited to present his work at over 20 national and international conferences, including keynote addresses at:
2nd International Climate Adaptation Conference, Arizona May 2012
National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) Climate Adaptation Futures conference, Gold Coast, June 2010
University of Nottingham Feed Conference, Nottingham, September 2009
Australia-Sino Research Forum, Guangzhou, China, July 2009
World Modelling and Simulation Congress, Cairns, July 2009
CGIAR Science Forum, Wageningen, June 2009
United Nations' World Meteorological Organization Commission for Agricultural Meteorology Symposium, Toowoomba, May, 2009
Greenhouse 2009, Perth, March 2009
Managing plant genetic resources in the agro-ecosystem; global change, crop associated biodiversity and ecosystem services, Aleppo, Syria, November 2008
Food Security and Environmental Change: Linking science, development and policy, Oxford, April 2008
Australian and New Zealand Horticultural Science Conference, Gold Coast, July 2008
Climate Change and Animal Production Conference, Campinas, Brazil, May 2008
CropScience Conference, Essen, Germany, October 2008
National Vegetation Management Conference, Toowoomba, October 2008
Crawford Fund Annual International Development Conference, Canberra, September 2008
Australian Agronomy Conference, Adelaide, September 2008
- Australian Society of Animal Production conference (Brisbane, June 2008
- National NRM Knowledge Conference: Changing Landscapes, Melbourne, April, 2008
He has convened major symposia on:
climate change and variability
innovative agricultural practices.
Read about the Climate Adaptation National Research Flagship.