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Dr Katharina Waha

Senior Research Scientist


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Katharina is an agricultural geographer and geo-ecologist interested in multidisciplinary research to understand interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and human societies of relevance for agricultural systems. She has been trained as a physical geographer and climate change impact scientist and earned MSc and PhD degrees from the universities of Leipzig and Potsdam in Germany and moved to Australia in 2014.

Katharina is a team leader in the Global Food and Nutrition Security group at CSIRO. Her two areas of interest are: climate change impacts on agriculture and adaptation, and the geography, structure and evolution of agricultural systems. Geographers are interested in anything affecting the spatial patterns of the Earth’s surface and for her, the most interesting drivers are global change and human development.

Core methods and tools that she develops and/or deploys are process-based cropping systems modelling, spatial analysis with GIS and R, scenario analysis, social science methods, uncertainty analysis, data integration and multi-scale analysis. Her recent research aims at contributing to a better understanding of the relationship between agricultural diversification and food security and the importance of multiple cropping for food production.

Selected recent publications

Waha K, van Wijk MT, See L, Fritz S, Thornton PK, Wichern J, Herrero M (2018) Agricultural diversification as an important strategy for achieving food security in Africa. Global Change Biology, 24, 8: 3390-3400.

Ramankutty N, Mehrabi Z, Waha K, Jarvis L, Kremen C, Herrero M, Rieseberg LH (2018) Trends in Global Agricultural Land Use: Implications for Environmental Health and Food Security. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 29;69:789-815

Two most cited publications

Waha K, Müller C, Bondeau A, Dietrich JP, Kurukulasuriya P, Heinke J, Lotze-Campen H (2013): Adaptation to climate change through the choice of cropping system and sowing date in sub-Saharan Africa. Global Environmental Change, 23, 1: 130-143.

Waha K & van Bussel LGJ (equal contribution), Müller C, Bondeau A (2012): Climate-driven simulation of global crop sowing dates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 12, 2: 247-259

Current Roles

  • Senior Research Scientist
    Leading research in the area of global change, agricultural systems analysis and risk analyses

  • Project team member
    Research project on the future of livestock and smallholders in South-East Asia

  • Project leader
    CSIRO's contribution to CIAT research project on climate smart dairy systems in East Africa

  • Project leader
    Past and future rainfall changes in Australia and implications for agriculture

Academic Qualifications

  • 2013

    University of Potsdam / Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

  • 2008

    Master of Science
    University of Leipzig, Institute of Geography, Germany

Professional Experiences

  • Dec 2014-Aug 2017

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    CSIRO Agriculture & Food

  • Mar 2013-Nov 2014

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Potdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

  • Jun 2012-Oct 2012

    Visiting Scientist
    CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture

  • Nov 2008-Feb 2013

    PhD student
    Potdam Institute for Climate Impact Research