UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Darshini Ravindranath

Prior to joining UCL, Darshini was working as a Researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Asia Research Centre, on vulnerability and adaptation issues, with a focus on the social equity and distributional implications of climate change. Before that, she worked as an independent consultant specialising in climate change policy and practice.  Her projects included a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project titled, ‘Biomass Energy for Rural India’, where she led the final evaluation of a long-term biomass energy project in rural India; and an Asian Development Bank (ADB) project focusing on mainstreaming climate change mitigation and adaptation into ADB India’s projects portfolio. Darshini has also worked as an Economist at a multi-disciplinary consultancy, URS Corporation Ltd where she was involved in UK and international policy analysis related to socio-economics, labour-market economics, climate change and sustainable communities. Besides this, she has volunteered in organisations such as Water Aid and Water for Africa. 

Darshini holds an MSc in Environment and Development from the LSE. Her master's dissertation analysed the implications of rural-urban and income group inequalities on carbon emissions in developing countries.  She also holds a BA.(Hons) in Economics from the University of Manchester.

Research subject

A projected global population of 9 billion by 2050 coupled with climate change, continued loss of biodiversity and related ecosystem services has led to growing concerns about the sustainable use of land. Large sections of the population, especially in developing countries are tied to livelihood from their natural resource base and are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and rising food and energy scarcity. Concurrently, land system change is primarily driven by human induced agricultural expansion and intensification. 

My research will focus on the dilemma presented by the sustainable use of land. In particular, the study will investigate the nexus presented by human interactions with declining and impacted land use change and habitat fragmentation. The approach will include a micro-study identifying resource-use patterns pertaining to different resource-endowment scenarios. Extensive fieldwork and analysis will inform development of a robust ‘set of indicators’ that can help quantify the multifarious cumulative effects that arise from the unsustainable use of land-water-biomass. In addition, impacts of local institutions and traditional land management practices employed by local communities will be studied.

The research looks to inform policy legislation through the development of an index that helps monitor and promote sustainable land-use.