Professor Peter Kanowski

BScForHons(ANU), DPhil(Oxon)
Master of University House, and Professor of Forestry, Fenner School of Environment and Society
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Natural Resource Management 050209
  • Education Policy 160506
  • Forestry Management And Environment 070504
  • Forestry Fire Management 070503
  • Environment Policy 160507
  • Forestry Sciences 0705
  • Environmental Science And Management 0502

Research interests

Peter Kanowski's research addresses three principal themes:

  • forest and environmental governance. This research includes work on bushfire policy,  forest practices, Indigenous Australians and forestry, market-based mechanisms such as forest certification and REDD+, plantation policy, and state of environment reporting;
  • planted forest policy, including farm-scale tree growing within the context of the farm enterprise, and societal development and sustainability objectives. This work is currently focused on ACIAR-supported research in PNG and Lao PDR, with precursors in Australia and globally ;
  • education in forestry, environment and society, and sustainability.

I also engage with a wider range of research topics, principally those pursued by the PhD and Masters scholars whom I supervise.

My publications list illustrates aspects of my work in each of these topic areas.


Peter Kanowski is Master of University House, ANU, and Professor of Forestry in the Fenner School of Environment & Society.

Peter's academic roles comprise academic and professional leadership; research and teaching focused on forest and environmental policy, and on sustainability; and policy learning and development, and community engagement, associated with forest-related issues. Peter works extensively in each of these arenas with colleagues and partners, representing a diversity of forest- and environment- sector interests, internationally, nationally, and locally. Much of his current research is in conjunction with ACIAR projects.  

Peter was a Schlich Medallist at the Australian National University, where he completed an Honours degree in forestry, and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he completed a doctorate in forest genetics. He worked in forest management and research in Australia for 3 years, and lectured at Oxford University’s Forestry Institute for 7 years, before taking up the Chair of Forestry at ANU in 1995. Peter was Head of the ANU Department of Forestry 1996-2001, foundation Head of the School of Resources Environment & Society 2001-2008, and Deputy Director of the Fenner School of Environment & Society 2007-2008. He spent two years as a Deputy Director General at CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Reseach, 2012-2014, on leave from the ANU.

Peter has worked actively with The Forests Dialogue since 2006, co-leading a number of its initiatives. He was a member of Australia's State of Environment 2011 Committee; the Council of Australian Governments' National Bushfire Inquiry 2003-4; the Board of the National Arboretum Canberra; and was Education Program Chair of the CRC for Forestry for the life of that CRC. 

Peter received the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Community Outreach 2011 and was co-recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Supervision 2016.

Researcher's projects


ACIAR Project ADP/2014/047 (with Rod Keenan and others). Improving policies for forest plantations to balance smallholder, industry and environmental needs in Lao PDR and Vietnam.

ACIAR Project FST/2012/012 (with Barbara Ozarska and others). Enhancing key elements of the value chains for plantation-grown wood in Lao PDR

ARC DP120100270 (with Sango Mahanty, Wolfram Dressler, Luca Tacconi, and Phuc To) - The political ecology of forest carbon: mainland Southeast Asia's new commodity frontier?

The Forests Dialogue - various initiatives.

Recently completed

ACIAR Project FST/2009/016 - Enhancing the value chain for PNG balsa.

ACIAR Project FST/2004/050 - Value adding to PNG agroforestry systems.


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Updated:  17 February 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers