Associate Professor Digby Race | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Associate Professor Digby Race

PhD ANU, MAppSc C.Sturt, GradDipEnvMgt La Trobe, BAppSc Melb.

  • Principal Research Fellow
+61 419 638 406
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Associate Professor Digby Race


Associate Professor Digby Race has recently been appointed a Principal Research Fellow in USC’s Tropical Forests and People Research Centre (appointed July 2016). In this role he leads an international research team exploring the socio-economic and policy dimensions of community-based commercial forestry in Indonesia. Some of Digby’s most recent positions included being a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University and a Principal Research Leader in the CRC for Remote Economic Participation (, leading the research on ‘Climate change adaptation, Energy Futures and Carbon economies’. In that role, Digby was appointed as a Senior Research Scientist with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences based in Alice Springs (Northern Territory), and worked with remote communities and businesses to explore future livelihood opportunities. Digby also has continuing Adjunct appointments at Charles Darwin University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Gadjah Mada (Indonesia).

Digby is an experienced analyst within the field of socio-economic science, using his expertise to resolve the critical issues facing society when seeking to balance economic development and biodiversity conservation. His research expertise, acquired over more than 20 years, relates to understanding the socio-economic challenges and opportunities of change in the agricultural, forestry and natural resource management (NRM) sectors. Digby has made a substantial contribution during the past two decades to research and knowledge relating to the socio-economic and policy implications of changes for regional communities, landscapes and industries – both in Australia and in Asia–Pacific countries.

Digby is a highly capable project leader and manager, having managed a diverse range of projects with a combined value of over $5 million. He has published widely on the socio-economic aspects of natural resource management and rural development for a range of audiences, with over 130 research reports, refereed articles and conference papers, including several books/book chapters. He is also an Associate Editor of The Rangeland Journal (CSIRO Publishing) Small-scale Forestry (Springer) and the Journal of Sustainable Development (Canadian CS&E).

In recognition of his expertise, Digby has been awarded an Erskine Fellowship on three occasions to undertake research and post-graduate teaching the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). He has been a Board member of the Norman Wettenhall Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that funds environmental research and development in Australia. Also, Digby was accepted as a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Forestry Institute – the University of Oxford (Linacre College), in 1999.

In his research capacity, Digby has a strong record of establishing effective collaborations with diverse partner organisations – across government agencies, private sector, NGOs and universities. Some of the organisations he has worked with include the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Agriculture), CRC for Sustainable Production Forestry, CRC for Remote Economic Participation, the Commonwealth’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), Environment Australia (EA), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Indonesia’s Forestry R&D Agency, Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), regional Catchment Management Authorities, Greening Australia Ltd., the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and Water for Rivers.

Digby is contracted by various organisations as a Senior Consultant to evaluate national and regional environmental programs, and he also facilitates workshops and training forums that focus on capacity building of research teams and rural communities (e.g. on the topic of monitoring and evaluating project impacts). During the past decade, Digby has worked throughout Australia and in Indonesia, Laos, Papua New Guinea and South Africa.


Selected research publications

Permadi, D.B., Burton, M., Pandit, R., Walker, I. & Race, D. (2017) Which smallholders are willing to adopt Acacia mangium under long-term contractual arrangements? A choice experiment study using latent class model. Land Use Policy, 65: 211-223.

Race, D., Dockery, M., Havas, L., Mathew, S., Matthews, C. & Spandonide, B. (2017) Re-imagining the future for desert Australia: Designing an integrated pathway for enhancing liveability. International Journal of Sustainable Development, 20 (1-2): 146–165.

Ojha, H., Ford, R., Keenan, R., Race, D., Vega, D.C., Baral, H. & Sapkota, P. (2016) Delocalizing Communities: Changing forms of community engagement in natural resources governance. World Development, 87: 274-290.

Race, D., Mathew, S., Campbell, M. & Hampton, K. (2016) Understanding climate adaptation investments for communities in remote Australia: Experiences from desert communities. Climatic Change, 139 (3): 461-475.

Davies, J., Race, D. & Wright, B. (2015) Innovation in Australian rangelands. A special edition from the 18th Biennial Conference of the Australian Rangeland Society. The Rangeland Journal, 37: 529-533.

Havas, L., Ballweg, J., Penna, C. & Race, D. (2015) Power to Change: Analysis of household participation in a renewable energy and energy efficiency program in Central Australia. Energy Policy, 87: 325-333.

Poudel, M., Thwaites, R., Race, D. & Dahal, G.R. (2015) Social equity and livelihood implications of REDD+ in rural communities: a case study from Nepal. International Journal of the Commons, 9 (1): 177-208.

Race, D. & Sumirat, B. (2015) Exploring the implications of social inequalities in community forestry: Emerging lessons from two forests in Indonesia. International Journal of Sustainable Development, 18 (3): 211-228.

Irawanti, S., Ginoga, K.L., Prawestisuka, A. & Race, D. (2014) Commercialising Community forestry in Indonesia: Lessons about the barriers and opportunities in Central Java. Small-scale Forestry, 13 (4): 515-526.

Sabastian, G, Kanowski, P, Race, D, Williams, E. & Roshetko, J.M. (2014) Household and farm attributes affecting adoption of smallholder timber management practices by tree growers in Gunungkidul region, Indonesia. Agroforestry Systems, 88 (2): 257-268.

Potential research areas for HDR and Honours students

  • community forestry
  • rural development
  • community participation in rural industries
  • socioeconomic analysis of rural industries

Research grants

Project name Investigators Funding body Years Focus
Enhancing community-based commercial forestry in Indonesia D. Race (project leader), B. Supriyanto, Misto et al. (FOERDIA), R Reid (AAF), H. Stewart (USC), E. Hardiyanto & S. Oktalina (UGM), M. Abdurrahman (U. Mataram), M. Schmidt et al. (T4T) ACIAR, A$1.34m 2016– 2020  Exploring different strategies to improve the adoption and benefits of community forestry in Indonesia
Overcoming constraints to community-based commercial forestry in Indonesia D. Race (project leader), E. Ginoga, Misto et al. (FOERDIA), R. Reid (AAF), H. Stewart (ANU), E. Hardiyanto & S. Oktalina (UGM), S. Syafi (WWF), M. Schmidt et al. (T4T) ACIAR A$940,000 2011–2015 Analysis of the different business pathways small-scale forest growers follow to commercial markets
Climate change adaptation, energy futures and carbon economies in remote Australia D. Race (principal research leader), T. Foran and C. Robinson (CSIRO), L. Havas, C. Joyce and S. Matthew (CDU), B. Spandonide (Flinders), K. Hampton et al. (NOL) CRC for Remote Economic Participation A$2.2m 2012–2014 Identifying integrated livelihood adaption strategies for remote communities and enterprises

Research areas

  • community-based commercial forestry
  • natural resource management
  • socio-economic dimensions of rural industries
  • socio-economic dimensions of adaptation to climate change

Teaching areas

  • Postgraduate supervision

Associate Professor Digby Race's research relates to understanding socio-economic challenges and opportunities for viable links between the agricultural, forestry and natural resource management sectors, in Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region. In his current role, Digby leads an international research team exploring the socio-economic and policy dimensions of community-based commercial forestry in Indonesia, principally funded by ACIAR.

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