Zu Dienle Tan

Academic Qualifications

M.Sc. in Natural Resources and Environment Science, University of Michigan

B.Sc. in Natural Resources and Environment Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Research areas

Peatland; restoration ecology; conservation ecology; social-ecological systems; nature-based solutions

Research interest

Zu’s research focuses on understanding the drivers of peatland degradation and the social-ecological impacts of peatland restoration. She is particularly interested in employing interdisciplinary methods such as combining social science research with spatial analyses for improving sustainable peatland management.


Zu is a research fellow at the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, with a background in conservation and restoration ecology. Her research concerns tropical ecosystem restoration in complex social-ecological systems. Her current thesis work seeks to examine the social-ecological drivers and impacts of tropical peatland biomass burning and restoration interventions in Indonesia.

Selected publications

  1. Tan, Z.D., Carrasco, L.R. & Taylor, D. (2020) Spatial correlates of forest and land fires in Indonesia. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 29(12), 1088-1099. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF20036_CO
  2. Tan, Z.D., Lupascu, M., & Wijedasa, L. S. (2021) Paludiculture as a sustainable land use alternative for tropical peatlands: A review. Science of the Total Environment, 753, 142111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142111
  3. Miller, M.A., Alfajri, Astuti, R., Grundy-Warr, C., Middleton, C., Tan, Z.D., & Taylor, D.M. (2021) Hydrosocial rupture: causes and consequences for transboundary governance. Ecology and Society, 26(3), 21. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-12545-260321

Feature and publications in popular media

  1. Miller, M.A., & Tan, Z.D. (2019). Water sharing in Indonesia key to smothering transboundary haze. East Asia Forum, 14 March 2019.
  2. Astuti, R., Varkkey, H., & Tan, Z.D. (2019). Three things Jokowi could do better to stop forest fires and haze in Indonesia. The Conversation, 31 July 2019.
  3. Varkkey, H., & Tan, Z.D. (2021). How Covid-19 is affecting governance in Indonesia’s peatlands. ARIScope, 7 October 2021.  

Conference and presentations

  1. Policy brief launch: Two pathways for transboundary environmental governance in Southeast Asia. Project policy brief presentation, virtual. Feb 24, 2022.
  2. Tropical peatland restoration as an affordable nature-based climate solution with fire reduction and biodiversity co-benefits. Presentation at the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), virtual. Dec 13-17, 2021.
  3. Stakeholder workshop on transboundary environmental commons of Southeast Asia: A collaborative approach to policy brief development. Project presentation, virtual. Dec 10, 2021.
  4. Agroecosystems and COVID-19: Enhancing sustainability and resilience of peatland commons for pandemic recovery. Presentation at International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) Conference, virtual. Sept 13-17, 2021.
  5. Drivers of biomass and forest fires in the outer islands of Indonesia. Presentation at the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Jul 22-25, 2019.
  6. Patterns and drivers of forest and Biomass fires in Indonesia. Speed talk at the Open Science Meeting, Bern, Switzerland. Apr 24, 2019.