Ian Nuberg

Dr Ian Nuberg

Senior Lecturer

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

I identify myself as a 'generalist' in that I work across a range of disciplines within agriculture, horticulture and natural resource management. However my focus is primarily agroforestry and then agricultural extension, particularly in the context of developing countries. My work uses both biophysical and social science methods. I have also published in the areas of forest management, tree water use, horticultural plant pathology, agricultural extension, bioenergy, tree genetics and climate change.

As I retired from teaching activities at the end of 2021 I can no longer accept research students. However, I remain in an Adjunct role to undertake research.

Here is a brief pictorial description of our research in Nepal and Papua New Guinea undertaken for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)


Agroforest and Community near Dungkharka village
Agroforests and Community Forest, Dhungkarka village, Kavre District



The focus of our current research in Nepal is to improve food security and livelihoods through agroforestry and community forest. In Mid-hills of Nepal farmers' livelihoods depend on tree resources both on private farm land (agroforestry) and community forests. 

Here is our EnLiFT project website

 Here is a story "Growing Hope: Australian overseas aid empowering farmers in Nepal" on ABC TVs program Landline. Our project was visited along with two other ACIAR projects in Nepal.  

Here is a related article on  EnLiFT: How Australia is helping Nepalese people rebuild after devastating 2015 earthquake

Under utilised land
Under utilised land near Namlo village, Lamjung District







We are also concerned with finding practical and profitable alternatives for land that is being under-utilised.  Land is being abandonned because of labour shortages arising from young rural males opting for employment in India or the Gulf countries


Namla livestock
Stall-fed livestock and composted manure








Livestock are an important component of the mid-hills farming system, both for subsistence consumption and income generation. The major source of livestock nutrition comes from tree fodder from agroforestry trees or community forests.  Note the tree in the distance, how it has been heavily lopped for the fodder.

Fodder and farm yard manure
On left tree fodder brought into the farm, on right farm yard manure taken out to the fields (photo Conor Ashleigh)






The major source of crop nutrition in the mid-hills is farm yard manure from the cattle, buffalo and goats fed on the tree fodders.  So the agroforest and community forest trees are indirectly a major contributor to human nutrition and household income.

Silviculture trial
Silvicultural trial







 In the community forests we are engaged with demonstation trials of different silvicultural options to better match forest management to community needs. Some options are, for example, to open up plantations and plant fodder trees and high-value crops such as cardamon 



Af business training
Agroforestry business training workshop, Kathmandu








Our work also involves training in business skills so that farmers and community forest user groups can make the most out of the new commercial opportunities opening up to them.






The work in Papua New Guinea similarly aimed at improving rural livelihoods by better understanding the fuelwood market, finding the best trees to grow for fuelwood, and facilitating charcoal producer-vendor groups.

Israel Bewang on the fuelwood survey


We undertook a comprehensive survey of domestic and commerical fuelwood use and sales in Port Moresby, Mt Hagen and Lae, and the Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Morobe and Chimbu provinces.  We interview 3,964 domestic users, 157 fuelwood sellers, 66 commercial / industrial users, and monitored the daily use of 36 households.







Fuelwood survey chart
Fuelwood flows and dimensions

We learnt a lot about the fuelwood economy in PNG that will inform public energy policy.  You can read about it here

fuelwood trial
Harvesting short-rotation coppicing fuelwood at Pugamp, near Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province

Ten fuelwood species were evaluated in short-rotation coppicing (SRC) systems in replicated field sites around Mt Hagen and Port Moresby. They were grown at 2 spacings and evaluated against locally used, but non-coppicing species (e.g. Casuarina oligodon in highlands). Some candidates were also grown in farmer-managed woodlots and alley-farming systems. The evaluation included: growth measurements after 2 years; coppice vigor; burning characteristics as firewood and as charcoal; and consumer and market acceptance.   You can read about it here.

fuelwood poster
Poster of results from household survey

The initial market acceptance of this 2-year old firewood was not strong because it looks so different from what people normally buy.  Fortunately some of the better growing species were well accepted as firewood after people stated trying it.  Nevertheless, we realised farmers would be better off value-adding this wood by converting it into charcoal. So we facilitated the establishment of charcoal producer-vendor groups.  This involved first understanding what group business structures would work best for rural people in PNG. It turnd out that a very different business structure emerged in the coastal city of Lae, than in the highlands city of Mt Hagen.  This reflects the very different cultural settings in the two regions.  
You can read about it here

charcoal vendor
Charcoal producer-vendor in Lae market. He also makes and sells the charcoal stoves




charcoal wantok group structure


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - ongoing Adjunct Associate Professor University of Adelaide
    1994 - 2021 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    1989 - 1990 Contract researcher on Macadamias Wollongbar Agricultural Research Centre
    1986 - 1986 Agricultural volunteer Society for Education, Village Action and Improvement (SEVAI), Tamil Nadu, India
    1981 - 1985 Technical Officer (plant pathology) NSW Department of Agriculture
    1980 - 1981 Co-manager of dairy farm "Bunji-lohan"
    1978 - 1979 Full time Tutor in Botany University of New South Wales
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    University of Sydney Australia BScAgric (Hons)
    University of Sydney Australia MScAgric
    University of Melbourne Australia PhD
  • Research Interests

Funding over past 10 years





ACIAR Enhancing livelihoods from improved forest management in Nepal $2.7 million 2018-2023


Enhancing livelihoods and food security from agroforestry and community forestry in Nepal

$2.5 million



Facilitating the establishment of charcoal producer groups in Papua New Guinea




Promoting diverse fuelwood production systems in Papua New Guinea




Salinity Management training Project




National Extension Leader




Since retirement I am not longer teaching in the Agriculture program I lead the Level 3 courses except for three mornings in the course Horticultural Production and Quality (2-week winter school)


Previous to retirement I used to teach into

  • Professional Skills in Agricultural Science (3rd year, Semester 2)
  • Agricultural Systems 1A  (1st yr, Semester 1)
  • Agricultural Systems 1B (1st yr, Semester 2)
  • Food Production in a Future Climate (3rd year, Semester 2)
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Principal Supervisor Assessing the benefits and challenges of forest succession for sustainable development of abandoned agricultural land in the middle hills of Nepal Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Nicola Kate McGunnigle
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Engagement of Youth in Agricultural Entrepreneurship in Laos Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Manithaythip Thephavanh
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Farmers’ Motivation and Biophysical Impact of using Cordia africana and Albizia coriaria on Coffee-Bean Intercrops in the Mt Elgon Region (Uganda) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Joel Buyinza
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor The Utilisation of Conservation Agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa: What, Why and How Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Brendan Brown
    2014 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Hydrological impacts of community forests in the mid-hills catchments of Kavre district, Nepal Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Manoj Badu
    2014 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Evaluating spatial and social factors to effectively implement community forest management operational plans in Nepal Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Lila Puri
    2014 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Utilisation of Maize-legume Intensified Systems among Smallholder Farmers in Malawi Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Penjani Stanley Kamanga
    2014 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Evaluating the importance of fodder trees to soil nutrition of farming systems in the mid-hills region of Nepal Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Hiroshi Endo
    2013 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Adaptation to Climate Change: The Attitude and Behaviour of Rice Farmers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Hoa Le Dang
    2012 - 2019 Principal Supervisor The Application of Participatory Extension through Agricultural Innovation Systems in the Middle East Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Christopher Peter McDonough
    2010 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Soil - Plant Interactions and Establishment of Woody Perennials on Hostile Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Md Gausul Azam
    2007 - 2012 Co-Supervisor An Interdisciplinary Study of Maternal Productivity in Beef Cattle Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Stephen Lee
    2006 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Agronomy of Irrigated Tea in Low Elevation Growing Areas of Sri Lanka Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Shyamantha Bandara
    2006 - 2011 Principal Supervisor Impact Evaluation of Agricultural Research in Papua, Indonesia Using the Sustainable Livelihood Framework Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Sukendra Mahalaya
    2005 - 2010 Principal Supervisor A Critical History of Change in Agricultural Extension and Considerations for Future Policies and Programs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Katherine Boon
    2004 - 2008 Principal Supervisor Acacia saligna as a Sustainable Agroforestry Crop for Southern Australia: A Genetic Assessment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Melissa Ann Millar
    2004 - 2006 Principal Supervisor Potential to Intergrate High-value Native Tree Species into the Upland Farming Systems of Hoa Binh Province, Vietnam Master of Agricultural Science Master Full Time Mr Binh Da Tran
    2003 - 2004 Principal Supervisor INVESTIGATION OF THE USE OF OATS IN ANNUAL MEDIC PASTURES Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Grant Neville Roberts
    2002 - 2002 Co-Supervisor A PROTOTYPE COMBINE FOR GRAIN HARVESTING BASED ON INTERNAL PNEUMATIC TRANSFER Master of Applied Science Master Full Time Mr Ian Gilbert Ridgway
    2002 - 2007 Principal Supervisor Managing Overabundant and Mobile Wildlife: Social and Institutional Dimensions of Kangaroo Harvest in South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Dana Thomsen
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83130527
  • Email: ian.nuberg@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: Waite, floor GN
  • Org Unit: Agricultural Science

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