Dr Lisa Robins

B. Ed (Enviro. Sc.) (MCAE); Grad. Dip. (Env. Stud.) (Uni. of Melb); MSc (Oxford); PhD (ANU)
Honorary Senior Lecturer

Dr Lisa Robins has almost 30 years experience working in water and natural resource management (NRM) as a researcher, science communicator, facilitator, and program and project manager. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s Fenner School of Environment and Society since 2009, and Principal of Robins Consulting since 1998. In addition to an extensive record of engagement and publishing in Australia, she has worked internationally in the Greater Mekong Region, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and Canada.

She holds a PhD from the Australian National University (2005–09), and was awarded a Masters of Science in Environmental Change & Management with distinction (1994–95) from the University of Oxford. Her PhD focused on NRM governance and capacity building, published as ten journal papers and one book chapter. She has recently joined the advisory panel of the ‘Leadership in Global Change’ program, a summer residential school for 15–18 year olds in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI). She was Visiting Fellow at Hatfield College, Durham University (Easter Term 2016), and a Visiting Scientist at the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia (Jul 2007–Jan 2008).

Lisa has received awards for post-graduate study (Oxford University and The Australian National University), for professional development (Endeavour Executive Award and Land & Water Australia), for teaching (ECI-Green College Teaching Fellowship, Oxford University) and, as a finalist, for publishing (Australasian Journal of Environmental Management’s Eric Anderson Award for Best Paper in 2007, 2008 and 2011, and Australian Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing).

Research interests

In the Greater Mekong Region, Lisa was a lead writer of the ‘Ayeyarwady State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA) 2017: Synthesis Report’ (pp. 250) launched by the Vice President of Myanmar at the Asia–Pacific Water Summit in Yangon in December 2017. A critical review in Water Alternatives of the 324-page edited volume ‘Water Governance Dynamics in the Mekong Region’ (Blake and Robins 2016) concluded that it “should be required readings for students, scholars, development practitioners, and (optimistically) policy makers interested in the past, present and future of regional development trends in this vital and engaging part of the world” (Sneddon 2018, p. 217). Also in the Mekong Region, Lisa was engaged by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to provide knowledge brokering and coordination for the Rice-based Systems Research Program: Food Security in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Bangladesh (2011–14). The program concluded with a high-profile policy dialogue on ‘rice futures’ in Phnom Penh, published as a 158-page ACIAR proceedings (Robins 2014).

In Indonesia, Lisa is currently participating in a long-term ACIAR project focused on improving community-based management of peat fires and peatland restoration, and identifying associated sustainable land management practices and livelihoods. In 2017, she authored a paper on megatrends influencing change in Indonesia’s economy and society, and outlining possible implications for the status of forestry for smallholders. Earlier highlights include: developing large-scale district-level project proposals on climate change mitigation and green growth interventions in Central Kalimantan for the Global Green Growth Institute (2015); contributing to a suite of reports from the $47m Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (2013–14); co-writing and editing the 2012 annual performance report for CGIAR Research Programme 6 ‘Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’ (2013); and editing of CIFOR research framework proposals on global trade and investment, natural tropical forest management, community forestry, and climate change adaptation (2012–13).

Journal papers, books, book chapters and proceedings

  • Robins L. submitted. Megatrends affecting smallholder forestry in Indonesia: Looking forward to the year 2030. International Forestry Review.
  • Robins L., Burt T.P., Bracken L.J., Boardman J. and Thompson D.B.A. 2017. Making water policy work in the United Kingdom: A case study of practical approaches to strengthening complex, multi-tiered systems of water governance. Environmental Science and Policy. 71, 41–55. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2017.01.008
  • Blake D.J.H. and Robins L. (eds.). 2016. Water governance dynamics in the Mekong region. Fifth volume in the Mekong Program on Water, Environment and Resilience (M–POWER) series. Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, Selangor, Malaysia, 322 pp.
  • Blake D.J.H. and Robins L. 2016. “A backdrop to water governance dynamics in the Mekong Region.” In: Water governance dynamics in the Mekong region, ed. D.J.H. Blake and L. Robins, pp. 3–19. Fifth volume in the Mekong Program on Water, Environment and Resilience (M–POWER) series. Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, Selangor, Malaysia.
  • Tien L.T. Du, Duong D. Bui, Xuan T. Quach and Robins L. 2016. “Water governance in a changing era: Perspectives on Vietnam.” In: Water dynamics governance in the Mekong region, ed. D.J.H. Blake and L. Robins, pp. 241–76. Fifth volume in the Mekong Program on Water, Environment and Resilience (M–POWER) series. Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, Selangor, Malaysia.
  • Robins L. (ed.) 2014. A policy dialogue on rice futures: Rice-based farming systems research in the Mekong region. Proceedings of a dialogue held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 7–9 May 2014. ACIAR Technical Proceedings. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research: Canberra (158 pp).
  • Robins L. and Kanowski P. 2011. ‘Crying for Our Country’: Eight ways in which ‘Caring for Our Country’ has undermined Australia’s regional model for natural resource management. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management.  18 (2): 88–108.
  • Robins L. 2010. National grants: A mechanism for embedding decentralized governance arrangements for watershed management. Horizons. 10 (4): 64–68.
  • Robins L. 2009. Insiders versus Outsiders: Perspectives on capacity issues to inform policy and programmes. Local Environment. 14 (1): 45–59.
  • Robins L. and de Loë R. 2009. “Decentralised governance for natural resource management: Capacity challenges in Australia and Canada.” In: Contested country: Local and regional natural resources management in Australia, ed. M. Lane, C. Robinson and B. Taylor, pp. 179–197. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
  • Robins L. 2008. Get real: Making capacity building meaningful. PhD thesis. The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Robins L. and Kanowski, P. 2008. PhD by publication: A student’s perspective. Journal of Research Practice. 4 (2): article M3.
  • Robins L. 2008. Perspectives on capacity building to guide policy and program development and delivery. Environmental Science & Policy. 11 (8): 687–701.
  • Robins L. 2008. Making capacity building meaningful: A framework for strategic action. Environmental Management. 42 (5): 833–846.
  • Robins L. 2008. Capacity building for natural resource management: Lessons from risk and emergency management. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management. 15 (1): 6–20.
  • Robins L. 2007. Nation-wide decentralized governance arrangements and capacities for integrated watershed management: Issues and insights from Canada. Environments. 35 (2): 1–47.
  • Robins L. and Dovers S. 2007. Community-based NRM boards of management: Are they up to the task? Australasian Journal of Environmental Management. 14 (2): 111–122.
  • Robins L. and Dovers S. 2007. NRM regions in Australia: The ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Geographical Research. 45 (3): 273–290.
  • Robins L. 2007. Capacity-building for natural resource management: Lessons from the health sector. EcoHealth. 4 (3): 247–263.
  • Robins L. 2007. Major paradigm shifts in NRM in Australia. International Journal of Global Environmental Issues. 7 (4): 300–311.
  • Connell D., Robins L. and Dovers S. 2007. “Delivering the National Water Initiative: Institutional roles, responsibilities and capacities.” In: Managing water for Australia: The social and institutional challenges, ed. K. Hussey and S. Dovers, pp. 127–140. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Recent research and technical reports

  • Hydro-Informatics Centre (HIC). 2017. Ayeyarwady State of the Basin Assessment (SOBA) 2017: Synthesis Report. Volume 1, Yangon, December 2017.
  • Robins L. and Williams M. 2017. Murray-Darling Basin Joint Venture Monitoring & Evaluation Program Strategic Framework and Strategic Priorities for Investment — 2017-2020. Report to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Joint Venture Steering Committee, Canberra.
  • Thavat M. and Robins L. 2017. ACT Biodiversity Fund Project 2012–2017: Final evaluation. Sustineo, Canberra.
  • Robins L. 2016. ACIAR publications: Future directions on ‘how to’ reports. A report for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research by Robins Consulting, Canberra.
  • Robins L. 2016. 2016 ACIAR publications Review: 34-years of scientific publishing for research communication. A report for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research by Robins Consulting, Canberra.
  • Chandrasekharan Behr D, Robins L. and A.J.M. Russell. 2015. How forests enhance resilience to climate change: What we know and case studies from Burkina Faso, Honduras and Lao PDR. Program on Forests (PROFOR), World Bank, Washington DC.
  • Robins L. 2015. ACIAR publications: A review of 32-years of scientific publishing for research communication. A report for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research by Robins Consulting, Canberra.
  • IAFCP (Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership). 2014. Lessons for policy and practice: Measuring, reporting and verifying emissions reductions at the national scale. IAFCP, Jakarta.
  • IAFCP (Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership). 2014. Practical lessons from the field: A synthesis of eight lessons learned papers from the KFCP REDD+ demonstration activity. IAFCP, Jakarta.
  • Robins L. 2014. Incorporating knowledge management in the design of official development assistance (ODA) Initiatives: Ten talking points to stimulate discussion. Produced for the Food Systems Innovation initiative, Canberra.
  • ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research). 2013. Progress report 2013: Rice-based Systems Research Program: Food security in Lao PDR, Cambodia & Bangladesh. ACIAR, Canberra.
  • CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research). 2013. CRP Performance Monitoring Report 2012: Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. CIFOR, Indonesia.
  • Robins L. 2013. MurrayDarling Basin Authority: Basin Salinity Management Strategy 2011–12 Summary. Murray–Darling Basin Authority, Canberra.
  • ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research). 2012. Progress report 2012: Rice-based Systems Research Program: Food security in Lao PDR, Cambodia & Bangladesh. ACIAR, Canberra.
  • ____. 2012. Achievements of ACIAR in Africa: June 2012 Update Research to Improve Food Security and Reduce Poverty. ACIAR, Canberra.
  • ____. 2012. Progress Report 2011: Rice-based Systems Research Program: Food security in Lao PDR, Cambodia & Bangladesh. ACIAR, Canberra.
  • ____. 2012. Rice-based Systems Research Program: Food security in Lao PDR, Cambodia & Bangladesh. ACIAR, Canberra.
  • Robins L. 2011. MurrayDarling Basin Authority: Basin Salinity Management Strategy 201011 Summary. Murray–Darling Basin Authority, Canberra.
  • Robins L. and Powell J. 2011. Voluntary & quasi-voluntary instruments for natural resource management outcomes in the MurrayDarling Basin: A scoping study. A report for the Murray–Darling Basin Authority by Robins Consulting in association with Optimal ICM, Canberra.
  • MDBA (Murray–Darling Basin Authority). 2010. MurrayDarling Basin Authority: Basin Salinity Management Strategy 200910 Summary. MDBA, Canberra.
  • Robins L. 2010. Enabling regional pest animal control. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra.
  • Robins L. 2010. An options paper on capacity building for pest animal control. Robins Consulting, Canberra.
  • Joint Venture Agroforestry Program. 2009. Woody crops on farms: Integrating trees and shrubs in broadacre farms for multiple benefits. A program proposal for prospective co-investors in research, development and extension. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  • Lincoln B., Thomas K., Levin J. and Robins L. 2009. Review of the value of WA Regional NRM Groups in delivering NRM. A report on behalf of the Regional Chairs Collective Group WA. interPART and Associates Pty Ltd, South Australia.
  • McLeod I., Vercoe T. and Robins L. 2009. Designing farm forestry trials for species and provenance selection. RIRDC Publication No. 09/16. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  • MDBA (Murray–Darling Basin Authority). 2009. MurrayDarling Basin Authority: Basin Salinity Management Strategy 200809 Summary. MDBA, Canberra.
  • Robins L. 2009. Regional natural resource management: A stocktake of Land & Water Australia’s investments. A report to Land & Water Australia. Robins Consulting, Canberra.
  • Robins L., Thomas K., Lincoln B. and Levin J. 2009. Value propositions: Investing in regional NRM groups to deliver NRM outcomes. A report on behalf of the Regional Chairs Collective Group WA. interPART and Associates Pty Ltd, South Australia.