Ram AVTAR, PhD in Forest Remote Sensing (India)

Ram AVTAR

Ram holds a PhD in Forest Remote Sensing and a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies. He has a keen interest in global climate change and is passionate about the environment, biodiversity and sustainable development.

Current position: Research Fellow at the United Nations University, Japan

Research focus: Global change and resilience, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity and ecosystem services

Ram´s doctoral research at the University of Tokyo focuses on multi-sensor remote sensing techniques for REDD+, with a concentration in Cambodian forests. After his PhD he began working as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

For his achievements, Ram was awarded a Green Talent in 2013. The jury appreciated his strong work on sustainable land-use and ecosystem services. His research stay at DLR in Munich - within the scope of the Green Talents program - allowed him to start working for DLR’s TanDEM-X satellite mission. He was also nominated as lead author for the IPBES assessment report and he received the INSPIRE award from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.

2016 INSPIRE Award by Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India
2015 Nomination for Lead Author for the IPBES assessment report


CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2013):

UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY – INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND PEACE (UNU-ISP), JAPAN

Research focus: Sustainable ecosystem services, disaster management, environmental science

With a PhD in Forest Remote Sensing and a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies, Ram Avtar has a keen interest in issues related to global climate change. Originally from India, his doctoral research at the University of Tokyo centred on multi-sensor remote sensing techniques for REDD+, focusing specifically on Cambodian forests.

Ram Avtar's PhD study, which was designed to monitor forest cover, deforestation and forest biomass, shaped his ambitions. "During the visits to Cambodia, I collected ground data several times, which in turn gave me a better understanding of ground-based realities and the roles of local people whose livelihood depends on the forest and forest products," Avtar says. "I faced certain limitations to accurately measure and monitor forests using remote sensing techniques. So I proposed an integrated approach of remote sensing and the indigenous knowledge of local people to monitor and conserve the forests."

After completing his PhD, Avtar began working as a post-doctoral fellow with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). He has, however, also worked extensively in his native India. Before his PhD, he worked on sustainable water-related research in a drought-prone area of Bundelkhand, as well as the possible environmental and socio-economic impacts of an inter-river linking project.

"I am very serious and passionate about the environment, biodiversity and sustainable development," Avtar says. "It has long been my ambition to play an influential role in sustainability and climate change. My aspiration is to be a true integrator of interrelated fields and groups to find optimum solutions to environmental and international development problems, and achieve measureable improvements in these areas."

The jury honoured Avtar's well-founded scientific work on the sustainable land-use, as well as ecosystem services. The jury was also impressed by his high quality publications. Avtar was awarded a Green Talent to support his current and future research activities.