My previous training was in agricultural science, specializing in animal production. After I finished my master’s degree, I worked for two years in poultry production, and then I moved to the Ministry of Agriculture in Lebanon, where I spent three years in the forestry department, and eight years in the animal resources department, working as an animal nutrition consultant. During all these years, I developed expertise and passion in livestock production, and a special interest in goats for both milk and meat production. I also had an increasing passion for wildlife, and issues related to biodiversity and sustainability. After coming to Australia in 2008, I worked for some time in RSPCA Australia, managing their Approved Farming Scheme, where my acquired awareness of animal welfare issues added to my previous interests. All this lead me to doing a degree in forestry, after which I started my PhD, which is a combination of my original knowledge in livestock production, notably in goats, and my interest in agroforestry, particularly the different positive effects of trees on livestock productivity and welfare, and on sustainability of animal farming.
- Graduate Certificate in Forestry, 2010. Australian National University, Fenner school of Environment and Society.
- M.Sc. in Animal Science, 1995. American University of Beirut, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
- B.Sc. in Agriculture and Diploma of Agricultural Engineer, 1994. American University of Beirut, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
- Australian Postgraduate Award for PhD studies 2011
- Meat & Livestock Australia Postgraduate Scholarship 2011
- Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology
- The Australian Rangeland Society
Goats, people and rangelands: Assessing the behaviour and resilience of the rangeland goat industry as a complex adaptive social ecological system
Goats are now a permanent feature of the Australian rangelands. A population of 4-6 million highly adapted wild goats currently share much of Australia’s semi-arid zone with domestic livestock and native herbivores. Goats have always been controversial in Australia, and there are two competing paradigms around them: pest or resource. Goats can significantly contribute to damaging grazing pressure, alongside domestic, other feral and native herbivores. At the same time, Australia leads the world in goat meat exports, with an industry that relies on harvesting wild goats for 95% of the supply. My research investigates how the rangeland goat industry is a complex and highly adaptive social ecological system. I used a combination of literature review, document analysis and interviews with a diversity of stakeholders involved in rangeland goats. I describe and assess the system drawing on the ‘cultural adaptation template’ framework from human ecology, and on principles from resilience thinking. I argue that there is a need for a ‘paradigm shift’ that moves towards collaborative management of rangeland goats for the mutual benefit of conservation and pastoral industries.
- El Hassan M., 2010. The importance and benefits of shelterbelts for grazing livestock: a review. Australian National University, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Independent Research Project Paper (Unpublished).
- El Hassan M., 2010. Goat meat production: an alternative industry in the Australian rangelands - Characteristics, prospects and challenges. Australian National University, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Special Topic Paper (Unpublished).
- El Hassan M., 1995. Nutritive quality and availability of Lebanese rangelands for grazing sheep and goats. American University of Beirut, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. M.Sc. thesis (Unpublished).