University of Nottingham Malaysia
Faculty of Science and Engineering

Image of Tapan Kumar Nath

Tapan Kumar Nath

Professor, School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences,



Tapan is an interdisciplinary researcher in the field of Community-based Forest Management (CBFM). His research and teaching span the social science disciplines of conservation social science, human geography, environmental geography, forestry, and environmental science. He graduated from the University of Tokyo with a PhD in forest science. Prior to joining the University of Nottingham Malaysia in 2014, he held academic positions at the University of Chittagong, the Asian Institute of Technology, the University of Tokyo, and Waseda University.

Research profiles: Google Scholar; Researchgate


SCOPUS ID: 35272474800

Web of Science Researcher ID: ADV-7225-2022

Expertise Summary

As an interdisciplinary researcher, Tapan applies socio-ecological approaches, frameworks for sustainable livelihoods, and frameworks for natural resource governance for CBFM and the livelihoods of communities in the Global South that depend on forests. His current research examines community participation in peatland restoration and peatland fire management, the connections between urban green spaces and wellbeing outcomes, agroforestry and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and knowledge, attitude, and practise (KAP) studies on waste management and public health. Because of his international collaborations with academics from other nations, including natural scientists and scholars of spatial science, his study also encompasses cross-disciplinary collaboration. His scholarly works have significantly contributed to the global sustainable development because of his multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research, which is strongly related to natural resource sustainability, sustainable land use, climate change mitigation, and socio-economic development.

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


1. 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.

2. Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Research Publications Award 2020, University of Nottingham Malaysia

3. Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Teaching Excellence Award 2021, University of Nottingham Malaysia

4. Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Research Excellence Award 2021, University of Nottingham Malaysia

5. Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Dean's Excellence Award 2021, University of Nottingham Malaysia

6. Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Teaching Excellence Award 2022, University of Nottingham Malaysia

7. Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Research Excellence Award 2022, University of Nottingham Malaysia

Research/Book proposal review

2022. Reviewed a research proposal for Natural Environment Research Council (UK)

2021. Reviewed two book proposals for Springer publishers

2021. Reviewed a research proposal for Natural Environment Research Council (UK) 2019. Reviewed Joint Nottingham/Birmingham/FAPESP pump priming funded research proposal

2018. Reviewed research proposal for NWO-WOTRO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research - Science for Global Development)

Editorial Role

1. Associate Editor, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (Land, Livelihoods and Food Security; 2021- present))

2. Editorial Member (Journal of Sustainable Forestry; 2021-present)

3. Lead Guest Editor (Special issue on Multi-Stakeholders' Engagement in Forest/Protected Area Governance for Conservation and Livelihoods; Journal of Sustainable Forestry 2020-22)

4. Lead Guest Associate Editor (Topic: Understanding How Small-Scale Forestry Helps to Achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change: Forest Management, 2021-2022.

Media Coverage

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.

Funded Research Projects

  1. Development of a community-based Mangrove Technology Platform (MTP) - a nature-inspired, smart, biomimetic modular system for reforestation and surface water management in Pitas, Malaysia, September 2023 - September 2026, Yayasan PETRONAS, Malaysia. RM 01 million [Co-investigator]
  2. Healthier, equitable, sustainable and resilient future food partnership - can we unite urban planning and processes with diets, nutrition and health? (June 2023-May 2024). The Future Food Beacon, UK Partnership Fund. RM121,800 [Co-Principal Investigator]
  3. An Institutional Analysis of Collaborative Forest Management in Bangladesh: The Case of SUFAL Project. Bangladesh Forest Department (July-2022 - June 2023). Bangladesh Taka 4881,750.00 (Co-Principal Investigator).
  4. 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]
  5. 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]
  6. 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]
  7. 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]
  8. 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]
  9. 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]
  10. Biogas and Green Fertiliser for Indigenous Communities in Bintulu District, Malaysia. Global Challenge Research Fund, (November 2019 - July 2020) [Co-Principal Investigator]
  11. 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]
  12. 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]
  13. 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]
  14. Exploring the New Environmental Ethics for Conservation of Peatland Swamp Forest in Peninsular Malaysia. Toyota Foundation (May 2015 - April 2016). (Principal Investigator]
  15. 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.

Research projects supervision at UNM

Doctor of Philosophy (Primary supervisor)

  1. Vishalini A/P Arumugam. 2020. Political ecology of agro-biodiversity conservation and utilization in Malaysia.
  2. Aarvin Ratnam. 2021. Evaluating how agroforestry can help to achieve UN sustainable development goals in Malaysia.
  3. Md. Jahangir Alam. 2018. Decentralization of forest management towards restoration of peat swamp forests in North Selangor, Malaysia (Completed in 2022)
  4. Arosh Chamikara Bandula Hambange Don. 2016. Improving value chains of selected underutilized crop for the well-being of smallholder farmers in South-Eastern Sri Lanka. (Completed in 2020)

Master by Research (MRes) supervision

  1. Izzaty Khaleda Ismail. 2021. Understanding Sustainability of Forest Garden Systems in Malaysia through the lens of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) (Completed; Primary supervisor)
  2. Vivienne Loke. 2020. Understanding the Sustainability of Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) for Improved Livelihoods of Indigenous People: Evidence from Kinabalu Park, Sabah (Completed; Primary supervisor)
  3. Sinchita Sinha. 2020. Impact of Human-Elephant Conflicts on Independent Smallholders in Peninsular Malaysia. (Completed, Co-supervisor)
  4. Sharun Binti Beream Nasir. 2019. Modelling Past and Future Land Use Conflicts from Mining, Agriculture, and Industry in the Rapidly Developing Region of Kuantan, Malaysia. Master by Research, University of Nottingham Malaysia. (Completed, Co-supervisor)
  5. Teh Mun Jun. 2017. PPGIS mapping of Landscape Values and Development Preferences in the Greater Kuala Lumpur. Master by Research, University of Nottingham Malaysia. (Completed, co-supervisor)

UG research projects

  1. Iris Zulaika Binti Amirul Azhar. 2023-24. How active are people in the residential open spaces in Malaysia.
  2. Nik Alif Hakim Bin Nik Zulkarnain. 2023-24. The association between park characteristics and physical activity of users in Malaysia.
  3. Tey Kai Chuan. 2022-2 Assessing the economic value of ecosystem services provided by the Bukit Kiara Federal park, Kuala Lumpur.
  4. Kei Konishi. 2022-23. Tree Community Structure, Diversity, and Natural Regeneration in an Abandoned Rubber Estate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  5. Alysha Arthi Fernandez. 2022-23. Pattern of forest carbon stock in an abandoned rubber estate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  6. Julia Shan Jia Gooi. 2021-22. Public Perception and Willingness to Pay for Urban Forests' Ecosystem Services: Evidence from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  7. Nur Betrisya Melia Rasikon. 2021-22. Local food systems can ensure food security during pandemic: A peoples' perception study.
  8. Ka Ker Coco Chin. 2021-22. Knowledge, attitude, and practices among Malaysian toward plastic pollution: A cross-sectional study
  9. How Ying Tan. 2021-22. Residents' perception toward ecosystem services provided by urban green spaces in greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  10. Yim Ee Wey. 2020-21. Understanding how urban green spaces can contribute to achieve selected sustainable development goals: A cross-sectional study in Malaysia.
  11. Lee Jing Yi. 2020-21. Assessment of urban park quality in Hulu Langat, Selangor, Malaysia
  12. Cheng Hui Ling. 2018-19. Stakeholders' perception and attitude towards waste separation and recycling in greater Kuala Lumpur
  13. Sabrina Mei Yin Gill. 2018-19. Values of roof-top gardens: A peoples' perception study in Kuala Lumpur
  14. Shawn Sim Zhe Han. 2017-18. Urban Green Spaces and Peoples' Well-being: A study in Kuala Lumpur
  15. Ng Ju Keat. 2017-18. Agroforestry for Community Development: A case study in Orang Asli community

Postgraduate thesis examination

  1. Mohamed Daniel bin Mohamed Mokhtar. 2024. Spatial characteristics of different urban parks and their relationship between user perception and motivation in Kuala Lumpur. PhD Thesis. University Putra Malaysia. Received invitation as an external examiner.
  2. Mohammed Jahangir Alam. 2023. Developing Legal Frameworks for Community-Based Invasive Plant Species Governance for Sustainable Forestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Bangladesh: Lessons from New South Wales, Australia. PhD Thesis. University of New England, Australia.
  3. Nargis Aktar. 2021. Sustainable forest governance in Bangladesh: examining the role of the forest Act. Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Master of Philosophy.
  4. Gopinath Nagaraj. 2021. The Ecological, Economic and Social Profile of Boat Based Recreational Fisheries of Port Dickson. University of Nottingham Malaysia. Doctor of Philosophy.
  5. Yasir Muda Azizi. 2020. Wastewater Management in Malaysia: A study of wastewater policies and implementation in Kajang district. University of Nottingham Malaysia. Master of Philosophy.
  6. Lim Teck Wyn. 2019. Human-Elephant Relations in Peninsular Malaysia. University of Nottingham Malaysia. Doctor of Philosophy.
  7. Nanjun Jiang. 2019. Investigating LED lighting spectra to improve plant growth and energy use efficiency in sustainable urban agriculture. University of Nottingham Malaysia. Doctor of Philosophy.
  8. Abu SMG Kibria. 2013. Analysing the land uses of forest-dwelling indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. The University of Tokyo, Japan. Master of Science.
  9. Kaleem Shah. 2015. Mangrove forest and social linkages of Sibuti, Sarawak, Malaysia. University Purta Malaysia. Master of Science.
  10. Regine Stephanie Oliver Inciong. 2015. Growth, yield and root morphology of MR 220 AND MR 263 rice (Oryza sativa) varieties under water stress and zinc fertilization. The University of Nottingham. Master of Science.

Faculty of Science and Engineering

University of Nottingham Malaysia
Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih
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