Professor Ram Dalal

Professorial Research Fellow

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Faculty of Science
r.dalal@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 52573

Overview

Professor Ram Dalal is a Professor in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He has contributed significantly to create awareness in the farming, scientific and general community to the seriousness and insidious nature of soil degradation. As a consequence, restorative practices for sustainable land management were developed and promoted. The international nature of the program was demonstrated by the fact that it was part of the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Program. It is now nationally recognized by policy makers and politicians that land degradation and sustainable land management are the national and international priorities. These projects have made significant contribution towards these issues.

In the last 30 years Dr Dalal has worked towards sustainable land management systems, nitrogen management and soil carbon dynamics. He was the co-leader of soil carbon program in the CRC for Greenhouse Accounting (199-2006), leader of soil carbon changes following land clearing funded by the Australian Greenhouse Office (1998-2002), reviewer for the IPCC Good Practice Guidance (2006) for the land sector, and leader of the National Soil Carbon Program (2012-2015) and Soil Constraints Initiative - Management of Sodic, Magnesic or Dispersive Soils (2015). He has been a consultant and project research contributor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (2004-2009). Recently, he has led a number of projects on estimating soil carbon stock following land use change from native vegetation to croplands, grazing lands, and management of croplands and grazing lands and rangelands (2009-2015) funded by the Department of Environment and Heritage, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Department of Agriculture, Commonwealth of Australia. In addition, he has also been involved in estimating nitrous oxide and methane emissions/ uptake from different ecosystems including agriculture, grassland, plantation forestry and estuarine/ mangrove systems (2000 – 2015). He led the National Soil Carbon Program from 2012 to 2015.

Research Interests

  • Soil and Land Management
    Soil fertility, soil biology, soil chemistry, soil and water conservation, landscape restoration, soil carbon sequestration in cropping, pasture and forestry systems and nitrogen management in cropping and pasture systems, phosphorus and zinc nutrition, soil constraints including sodicity and salinity
  • Crop and Pasture Production
    Sustainable crop rotations, sustainable pasture production systems, crop and pasture rotations, crop and pasture nutrition, fertiliser use and nutrient use efficiency, water use efficiency
  • Greenhouse Gases Mitigation
    Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane emissions and uptake in soil-plant systems, carbon sequestration

Research Impacts

My research programs created or contributed significantly to create awareness in the rural, scientific and general community in Queensland, nationwide and internationally to the seriousness and insidious nature of land degradation, carbon loss, sustainability indicators and landscape processes that lead among others, to poor soil and land quality, fertility decline and stream and groundwater quality deterioration. For the last 25 years, landscape restoration, soil organic matter management, carbon sequestration and nitrogen management, and site-specific management for soil and subsoil and other constraints and sustainable crop and pasture rotations and vegetation management have been the central research platforms across cropping, rangelands and forestry ecosystems. The international nature of the program is demonstrated by the fact that it was one of only two sites listed from Australia with the International Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Program. The Fertility Restoration Site of this program was frequently visited by national and international scientists.

Policy makers and politicians now nationally recognize that land degradation, carbon loss and landscape degradation processes lead to deteriorating water quality, and that sustainable land, vegetation and water use, and greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change are the state and national priorities. These projects have been pioneer in Australia in these fields and made significant contribution towards resolving these issues, and provided impetus to initiating similar studies in Australia and worldwide.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Indian Agricultural Research Institute
  • Master of Science, Indian Agricultural Research Institute
  • Bachelor of Science, Punjab Agricultural University

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • The overall aim of the project is to reduce poverty in the eastern Gangetic plains by improving the productivity, profitability and sustainability of smallholder agriculture.

    The project has four objectives that will lead towards sustainable and resilient farming systems intensification in the EGP:

    1. Understand farmer circumstances with respect to cropping systems, natural and economic resources base, livelihood strategies, and capacity to bear risk and undertake technological innovation.

    2. Develop, with farmers more productive and sustainable technologies that are resilient and profitable for smallholders.

    3. Catalyse, support and evaluate institutional and policy changes that establish an enabling environment for the adoption of high-impact technologies from Objective 2.

    4. Facilitate widespread adoption of sustainable, resilient and more profitable farming systems.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • The overall aim of the project is to reduce poverty in the eastern Gangetic plains by improving the productivity, profitability and sustainability of smallholder agriculture.

    The project has four objectives that will lead towards sustainable and resilient farming systems intensification in the EGP:

    1. Understand farmer circumstances with respect to cropping systems, natural and economic resources base, livelihood strategies, and capacity to bear risk and undertake technological innovation.

    2. Develop, with farmers more productive and sustainable technologies that are resilient and profitable for smallholders.

    3. Catalyse, support and evaluate institutional and policy changes that establish an enabling environment for the adoption of high-impact technologies from Objective 2.

    4. Facilitate widespread adoption of sustainable, resilient and more profitable farming systems.