ICRAF partner ranked in top ten of Indonesia’s scientists

The best scientists in the three most populous countries of the world—China, India and the USA—don’t necessarily work on agroforestry but in the fourth-most populous country—Indonesia—ICRAF is proud to have a direct relationship with the second highest-ranking scientist, Prof Kurniatun Hairiah


Kompas.com, part of Indonesia’s leading media conglomerate, published on 12 March 2015 a list of the top ten scientists in the country based on a survey carried out by the non-governmental organization Webometrics, which drew on publication records and Google Scholar citations. Ranked second was Prof Kurniatun Hairiah—or Ibu Cho as she is affectionately known by family, friends and colleagues—of the University of Brawijaya in Malang, East Java, who is a longstanding partner of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Ibu Cho is a professor in the fields of soil biology and root ecology at Brawijaya, where she began her research more than 30 years ago. Early in her career in 1985, she also carried out research in Nigeria and spent more than 15 years working on research questions in Lampung, Indonesia, linked to biological management of soil fertility. That work fed into the globally renowned ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins.

Most recently, in Indonesia she has been sharing her vast knowledge with students, development agency staff, local governments and communities in Papua, Jambi, South Kalimantan, Gorontalo and East Java provinces through two projects implemented by ICRAF: Accountability and Local Level Initiative to Reduce Emission from Deforestation and Degradation in Indonesia; and Participatory Monitoring by Civil Society of Land-use Planning for Low-emissions Development Strategies; both funded by the European Union.

Kurniatun Hairiah, Ibu Cho

Prof Kurniatun Hairiah (aka Ibu Cho) teaching during field research. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre

‘How lucky I am’, she said, ‘after working for more than 30 years to have received such recognition. It has been a long journey which has not always been smooth; sometimes it has been painful, too. But thanks to the warm support of an experienced partner, ICRAF, who has always appreciated the expertise of national partners and respected cultural differences, everything has ended up being a sweet fruit.

‘The honour of being #2 best researcher in Indonesia should also be shared with my partners at ICRAF and ASB and, of course, with many of my students and close colleagues in the agroforestry team and others at Brawijaya. In particular, I always received full support from the former dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Prof Dr Bambang Guritno, who gave me the freedom to engage with research projects in Lampung and elsewhere’.

Dr Sonya Dewi, ICRAF’s Indonesia country coordinator, who has worked with Ibu Cho over many years, offered: ‘Many congratulations for your top achievement. ICRAF scientists are deeply honoured to be associated with you. We hope that this achievement will lead to even wider impact of your science on Indonesian academe and also on natural resource management. Very well done!’




Rob Finlayson

Robert Finlayson is the Southeast Asia program's regional communications specialist. As well as writing stories for the Centre's website, he devises and supervises strategies for projects and the countries in the Southeast Asia region, including scripting and producing videos, supervising editors and translators and also assisting with resource mobilization.

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