Keynote Speakers

Dr Erle Ellis is a Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where he is also the Director of the Laboratory for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology. Dr Ellis is a leading theorist on the Anthropocene; his research investigates the ecology of anthropogenic landscapes, their changes at local to global scales, and how this can inform sustainable stewardship of the biosphere. Dr Ellis has developed evolutionary theory to explain human transformation of the biosphere, online tools for the global synthesis of local knowledge, and inexpensive user-deployed tools for 3D landscape mapping. He is a Senior Fellow of the Breakthrough Institute, and a member of both the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the Scientific Steering Committee of the Global Land Project.

Dr Geoffrey Henebry is a landscape ecologist using geospatial time-series to characterize, model, and understand diverse ecological and biogeophysical phenomena. A recurrent theme in his research is the use of remote sensing to study ecological patterns and processes, including quantitative analysis and modeling of land surface phenology and land cover land use change. Dr Henebry is a member of NASA's Land Cover Land Use Change Science Team, and Principal Investigator on the NASA project “How Environmental Change in Central Asian Highlands Impacts High Elevation Communities.” Dr Henebry has studied land dynamics in the grasslands, croplands, drylands, wetlands, and urbanizing areas of North and South America, Eastern Europe, European Russia, and Central Asia. He is Co-Director of the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, and a Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Management at South Dakota State University.

Professor Yakov Kuzyakov has worked in various Soil and Environmental Science departments of universities and research institutes worldwide: in Germany, USA, UK, Russia and China. Professor Kuzyakov’s expertise covers soil ecology, biogeochemistry, rhizosphere processes, C and N cycling, soil degradation, land use and agroecology. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (Thomson Reuters) who has led research projects in countries such as Germany, China, Korea, Tanzania, Indonesia, Russia and Chile. Professor Kuzyakov has been and is an active member of several editorial boards, for top-ranked journals including ​​Land Degradation and Development, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, European Journal of Soil Biology, and Scientific Reports; and was awarded in 2015 the John Waid Award for Best Review Paper in ​​Soil Biology and Biochemistry, in 2016 the European Geosciences Union Outstanding Editor Award, etc. He has more than 20 Highly Cited and 4 Hot Papers. Yakov is a Visiting Professor at, and has very close and intensive collaboration with various top universities and research institutes in China.

Prof Susanne Schmidt is a researcher and educator who leads the Plant Nutrition and Ecophysiology research group at The University of Queensland, Australia. She studies natural, agricultural and silvicultural systems and how plants, microbes and soil interact. She studies organic nutrients for plant nutrition, soil microbial communities, soil carbon and the effects of land use change on biogeochemical cycles. She studies microbes in the rhizosphere and soil with view of crop probiotics and benefits for plants and soil. A current research focus is on next-generation fertilisers that repurpose organic wastes and capitalise on biotechnology advances to tailor nutrient release for crops for a circular nutrient economy without waste and pollution. Susanne is an Affiliated Professor at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation. She is also a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

​​Dr Kenneth Young is a geographer who specializes in the ecology of the tropical Andes and who has over a decade of field experience in countries such as Peru, Costa Rica and Ecuador. A Professor at the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr Young’s current research links biogeography to environmental conservation at local to landscape to global scales, with emphases on developing countries, tropical ecosystems, Latin America, biodiversity, climate change and landscape change. Most recently he has been splitting his geographic focus between high Andean landscapes and the tropical forests and floodplains of the western Amazon. Dr Young’s on-going projects include the impacts of glacial retreat on community livelihoods in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, and biodiversity, conservation and management in the montane forests of the eastern Andes in Peru.

Dr Fusuo Zhang is Professor of Plant Nutrition and Dean of the College of Resources and Environmental Sciences at China Agricultural University, Beijing. He is also an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and holds positions with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, and the city of Beijing. Dr Zhang’s work has focused on fundamental and applied research of ecological regulation and the integrated management of nutrient resources at the rhizosphere of plants. His research has realized high-yield and high-efficiency crop production systems for important Chinese crops, while reducing environmental pollution from agriculture. Dr Zhang has published numerous articles in international scientific journals such as Science, Nature and PNAS, and has received numerous awards including the National Science Prize of the State Council of China and the IFA International Crop Award.


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