Professor Peter Kanowski

BSc Forestry Hons (ANU), D Phil (Oxon)

Peter Kanowski is Professor of Forestry in the Fenner School of Environment & Society. He is also Master of University House and Deputy Dean (HDR Supervision).

Peter's academic roles comprise academic and professional leadership; research and teaching focused on forest and environmental policy, and on sustainability; and policy learning and development, and community engagement, associated with forest-related issues. Peter works extensively in each of these arenas with colleagues and partners, representing a diversity of forest- and environment- sector interests, internationally, nationally, and locally. Much of his current research is in conjunction with ACIAR projects. In addition to graduate and undergraduate teaching at ANU, Peter also co-convenes a graduate course in International Forest Governance at the University of Freiburg.

Peter was a Schlich Medallist at the Australian National University, where he completed an Honours degree in forestry, and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he completed a doctorate in forest genetics. He worked in forest management and research in Australia for 3 years, and lectured at Oxford University's Forestry Institute for 7 years, before taking up the Chair of Forestry at ANU in 1995. Peter was Head of the ANU Department of Forestry 1996-2001, foundation Head of the School of Resources Environment & Society 2001-2008, and Deputy Director of the Fenner School of Environment & Society 2007-2008. He spent two years as a Deputy Director General at CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Reseach, 2012-2014, on leave from the ANU.

Peter has worked actively with The Forests Dialogue since 2006, co-leading a number of its initiatives. He was a member of Australia's State of Environment 2011 Committee; the Council of Australian Governments' National Bushfire Inquiry 2003-4; the Board of the National Arboretum Canberra; and was Education Program Chair of the CRC for Forestry for the life of that CRC.

Peter received the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Community Outreach 2011 and was co-recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Supervision 2016. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Freiburg in 2019.

Research interests

Peter Kanowski's research addresses three principal themes:

  • forest and environmental governance. This research includes work on forest practices, Indigenous Australians and forestry, market-based mechanisms such as forest certification and REDD+, and wood legality verification;
  • planted forest policy, including farm-scale tree growing within the context of the farm enterprise, and societal development and sustainability objectives. This work includes ACIAR-supported research in Lao PDR and Vietnam, with precursors in Australia and globally; and work with The Forest Dialogue's Tree Plantations in the Landscape initiative;
  • education in forestry, environment and society, and sustainability.

I also engage with a wider range of research topics, principally those pursued by the PhD and Masters scholars whom I supervise.

My publications list illustrates aspects of my work in each of these topic areas.


  • Ward, T, Cork, S, Dobbs, K, Harper, P, Harris, P, Hatton, T, Joy, R, Kanowski, P, Mackay, R, McKenzie, N and Wienecke, B. 2014. Framing an independent, integrated and evidence-based evaluation of the state of Australia’s biophysical and human environments. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2014.891073
  • Wilkinson, G.R., Schofield, M. & Kanowski, P., 2014. Regulating forestry — experience with compliance and enforcement over the 25 years of Tasmania's forest practices system. Forest Policy and Economics, 40: 1–11.
  • Kanowski, P. 2012. The tragedy of Tasmania's forests: one act on from Flanagan. Island 127: 26-33.
  • Hatton, T, Cork, S, Harper, P, Joy, R, Kanowski, P, Mackay, R, McKenzie, N, Ward, T and Wienecke, B. 2011. Australia State of the Environment 2011. DSEWCPaC, Canberra. 932p.
  • Kanowski, P. 2011. Genetically-modified trees: opportunities for dialogue. Scoping Paper, The Forests Dialogue, Yale University. 13 p.
  • Bush, D, Kain, D, Matheson, C, and Kanowski, P. 2010. Marker-based adjustment of the additive relationship matrix for estimation of genetic parameters - an example using Eucalyptus cladocalyx. Tree Genetics & Genomes. DOI 10.1007/s11295-010-0312-z
  • Pratley, J, Kanowski, P & Bull, L. 2010. Education and training challenges for the Australian forestry sector: an analysis based on recent trends in university and VET completions. Australian Forestry 73: 227-233.