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Dr Ben Macdonald

Group Leader


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Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


Dr Ben Macdonald research is developing improved agricultural production systems through the measurement of nutrient and water fluxes within agricultural and natural ecosystems. Dr Macdonald goal is to enable the development of resilient and sustainable agro-ecosystems. Over the last 20 years he has investigated soil nitrogen and carbon cycling in diverse ecosystems, from cotton and sugarcane production systems, semi-arid rangelands to tropical biodiverse Pacific farming systems. This work has focused on quantifying carbon and nitrogen cycling, improving profitability and reducing environmental impacts. Besides working on intensive Australian production systems he has worked with small holder farmers in Vietnam, Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Samoa.

Dr Macdonald is the current leader of the Soil Process and Function Group within the Sustainability Program of the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Business Unit. The group is aiming to improve resilience and sustainability of Australian and regional agroecosystems. The group will achieve this aim by innovating and collaborating with diverse range of institutions, industries, and people.

Current Roles

  • Group Leader
    Soil and Landscapes, Agriculture & Food

Academic Qualifications

  • 1999

    PhD “The properties of chenopod patterned ground: an investigation of a rangeland landscape feature at Fowler’s Gap arid zone research station, Western New South Wales"
    University of New South Wales

Professional Experiences

  • 2003-2010

    Research Scientist
    The Fenner School, Australian National University

Achievements and Awards

  • 2013

    HSE Award

  • 2011-2013

    Julius Career Award

  • 2011

    Australia China Young Scientist Exchange Program
    Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

  • 2011

    Australian National University Top PhD Supervisor Award
    Australian National University

  • 2008

    Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries for the project “Drivers of soil nitrogen gas emissions from sugarcane agriculture”
    Australian Government Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)

We have publications by Dr Ben Macdonald