Murdoch Commission

Professor Richard Harper, Chair in Sustainable Water Management, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences and Cluster Leader (Agriculture)

Professor Richard Harper

The Agriculture Cluster at Murdoch University encompasses 18 academic staff, 35 research officers and research fellows, 26 technical staff, 31 part-time teachers and 48 PhD and 1 MSc students. In the last ERA assessment three areas (Agricultural Biotechnology, Animal Production, Crop and Pasture Production) were assessed as world standard or above (4, 5). Other research in the cluster includes soil and water management, forestry and climate change management.

Professor Harper has a B.Sc. Agric. (Hons) and PhD (Soil Science), both from the University of Western Australia, and had twenty years’ experience with the Western Australian Government in programs addressing salinity, plantation and farm forestry and climate change mitigation. This was in both science and policy roles. I joined Murdoch in 2009 and have developed a research program investigating the use of carbon mitigation investment to drive landscape scale change in soil and water management.

Recent publications in collaboration with various authors have explored both the science and policy aspects of climate mitigation, using bioenergy, reforestation or soil amendments. This includes new approaches that enhance environmental co-benefits particularly in relation to soil and water management where there are many long-standing, intractable problems. The impacts of carbon mitigation on food security and the extension of market-based approaches to other environmental problems have also been investigated.

Professor Harper is a lead author on the recent (2014) IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGIII) chapter on mitigation using Agriculture, Forestry and other Land-Uses (AFOLU), a visiting Professor with the Chinese Academy of Forestry, a member of the Australian Council of Agricultural Deans and a member of Murdoch’s Academic Council.