Dr Hilary Smith

B.A. (Hons), M. Laws Gov. Dev., Ph.D
Visiting Senior Lecturer, Fenner School of Environment and Society
ANU College of Science
T: 0467579445

Areas of expertise

  • Environmental And Natural Resources Law 180111
  • Agroforestry 070501
  • Forestry Management And Environment 070504
  • Environmental Sciences Not Elsewhere Classified 059999

Research interests

Hilary's research interests include:

  • The legal geography of forests and forest resources in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Forest policy, governance, legal pluralism and development.
  • The legality of forest value chains including forest product and wildife trade and trafficking.



Hilary is a Visiting Senior Lecturer in the Fenner School of Environment & Society where she collaborates with other researchers, primarily on ACIAR projects in Asia and the Pacific. She also co-supervises Masters and PhD scholars.

Hilary undertakes research in forest policy, legal and governance issues with a current focus on forest plantations, agroforesty and wildlife in Lao PDR and Fiji. Much of her recent work has been on international forest and timber legality and policy issues through systematic legal analysis resulting in the development of legal compendia to the Forestry and Wildlife Laws in Laos. Hilary has also been involved in several international development projects researching and assessing value chains in these sectors and countries.

After working in public sector forestry organisations in NSW and Queensland for 15 years Hilary worked on number of forest carbon projects in Australia and overseas and was involved in researching and writing greenhouse gas abatement methodologies for plantation forestry, savanna burning, improved forest management and REDD. She has supported several indigenous groups in Northern Australia to design and implement successful savanna burning project under the Emissions Reduction Fund. She served as a member of  the Australian Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee from 2017 to 2020.

Hilary was awarded the Graham Lawton Prize for Geography Honours at Adelaide University and an Australian Vice Chancellor’s Award for Research in Asia for her PhD in West Kalimantan, Indonesia (also through Adelaide University). In 2012 she completed a Masters in Law Governance and Development in the college of Law at ANU.

Researcher's projects


ACIAR ASRFII Grant Understanding the labor dimensions of PMO15 and COVID19 in Laos – impacts and policy responses (with Khamtan Phonetip)

Taskforce on the Development of a Sustainable Forest Plantation Sector in Lao PDR, SwedFund.

ACIAR Project SSS/2020/142 (with Peter Kanowski and Holly High). Policy impact in Lao PDR: from research to practice. http://aciar.gov.au

ACIAR Project FST/2016/151 (with Peter Kanowski, Kieth Barney and others). Advancing enhanced wood manufacturing industries in Laos and Australia. http://aciar.gov.au

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

ACIAR Project ADP/2016/147 (with Tyron Venn and others) Improving Agroforestry Policy for Sloping Land in Fiji, ACIAR, http://aciar.gov.au

Recently Completed

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

Legal Analysis of Forest Conversion in Laos, Client Earth/European Forest Institute

Legal Compendium to the Wildlife and Aquatic Law in Lao PDR, World Bank/FAO

Assessment of reforms and national initiatives relevant to the Laos-EU FLEGT/VPA, European Forest Institute

Policy Advisor to Forestry Law Review Committee, Department of Forestry/World Bank

Forestry Legality Compendium Project - research and development of a legal compendium to the Lao PRD Forestry Law supported by GiZ/FAO/World Bank/SUFORD

Production Forest Methodologies for the Emissions Reduction Fund (with Fabiano Ximines) NSW DPI and FWPA

Indigenous Carbon Farming projects for savanna burning with Mapoon Aboriginal Shire and Yintjingga Aboriginal Corporation, Cape York, Kimberley Land Council, Western Australia and Fish River Fire Project with the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), Northern Territory.

Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

Return to top

Updated:  02 March 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers