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Ghazala Shahabuddin

Visiting Faculty of Environmental Science, Ashoka University

Ph.D. Duke University

Dr. Ghazala Shahabuddin’s primary research interests are in the study, quantification and management of anthropogenic impacts in forest ecosystems including those engendered by fragmentation, over-exploitation and degradation. Since her PhD, her work has expanded to include larger social-ecological issues including biodiversity governance, forest policy and community-based conservation, primarily to explore questions of equity and sustainability.

To study anthropogenic impacts, Ghazala has carried out pioneering field studies on forest bird communities in human-dominated landscapes in lowland and mid-altitudinal Kumaon Himalayas, Aravalli Hills of Delhi NCR and in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan. She is currently working on long-term ecological change in Himalayan oak forests in the Mukteshwar landscape, Uttarakhand, including study of landscape effects on avifaunal communities, oak-to-pine transformation and tree species regeneration. She has mentored much other research in the region including on the distribution of forest stream amphibians and butterflies, efficacy of nature-linked tourism and sustainable forest use.

Dr. Shahabuddin has also published extensively in the area of wildlife policy and politics in India. Her book ‘Conservation at the Crossroads’ (Permanent Black, 2010) critically examines contemporary wildlife policy in India. She has also co-edited three other books- Nature Conservation in the New Economy (Orient Blackswan, 2019), Nature Without Borders (Orient Blackswan, 2014) and Making Conservation Work (Permanent Black, 2007). She has also written over eighty popular articles on environment and nature, based on her research. Earlier, she was Associate Professor at Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University in Delhi where she taught at the School of Human Ecology from 2009 to 2014. In addition, she has worked with a number of NGOs including Centre for Ecology, Development and Research (CEDAR) and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).


1. Shahabuddin, G. & K. Sivaramakrishnan. (Eds). 2019. Nature in the New Economy: People. Wildlife and the law in India. Orient Blackswan, India. ISBN 9789352876136

2. Rangarajan, M., M.D. Madhusudan & G. Shahabuddin (eds.). 2014. Nature Without Borders. Oxford University Press, Delhi, India, ISBN 978-81-250-56140

3. Shahabuddin, G. 2010. Conservation at the Crossroads: Science, Society and the Future of India’s Wildlife. Permanent Black, India. ISBN 81-7824-264-8

4. Shahabuddin, G. and M. Rangarajan, eds. 2007. Making Conservation Work: Securing Biodiversity in this New Century. Pp. 298. Delhi: Permanent Black. ISBN 81-7824-197-8.



1. Shahabuddin, G. & A. Bhartari 2022. ‘Conserving with People: Challenges and Opportunities of Conservation Reserves in India.’ Pp 88-101 In M.K. Misra (Ed). Wildlife India @ 50, Saving the Wild, Securing the Future. Rupa Publications, Delhi.

2. Shahabuddin, G. & R. Thadani. 2018. ‘Biodiversity in Managed Landscapes: A View of Potential and Constraints in Van Panchayats of Kumaon Himalayas, India.’ Pp. 109-131 In Shonil Bhagwat (Ed.) Conservation and Development in India: Reimagining Wilderness. Taylor & Francis, London.

3. Shahabuddin, G. 2016. ‘Wildlife- Creatures Great and Small’ ,Pp 126-159 in Baviskar A. (Ed.). First Garden of the Republic: Nature in the President’s Estate. Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

4. Rao, M., H. Nagendra, , G. Shahabuddin & L. Curasco. 2016. ‘Integrating Community-Managed Areas into Protected Area Systems: the Promise of Synergies and the Reality of Trade-offs’. In L. Joppa, J. Robinson & J. Baillie (Eds.) Protected Areas: Are they Safeguarding Biodiversity? Wiley Blackwill, West Sussex, UK. ISBN: 978-1-118-33816-2

5. Shahabuddin, G. 2014. ‘Tiger Crisis & the Response: Reclaiming the Wilderness in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan.’ In Rangarajan, M. & K. Sivaramakrishnan (eds.) Shifting Ground: People, Animals and Mobility in India’s Environmental History. Oxford University Press.



1. Das, A., T. Menon, J. Ratnam, R. Thadani, G. Rajashekar, R. Fararoda and G. Shahabuddin. 2021. Expansion of pine into mid-elevation Himalayan oak forests: Patterns and drivers in a multiple-use landscape. Forest Ecology and Management 497 (119491).

2. Menon, T. and Shahabuddin, G. 2021. Assessing woodpeckers as indicators of bird diversity and habitat structure. Biodiversity and Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-021-02164-0.

3. Shahabuddin, G., R. Goswami, M. Krishnadas and T. Menon. 2021. Decline in bird species and guilds due to land use change in Western Himalaya. Global Ecology and Conservation 25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01447

4. Kumar, R., G. Shahabuddin and A. Kumar. 2020. Foraging niche differentiation among sympatric woodpecker species in forests of North-western India. Acta Ornithologica 55(1).

5. Ghosh, M., D. Mohan, K. Karanth, U. Borthakur, S. Pimm, A. Harihar, T. Price, D. Mariyam, R. Athreya, A. Saxena, V. Mathur, V. Vijay, M. Onial, G. Shahabuddin, V.V. Robin, K. Wacker, P. Chanchani, A. Datta, D. Chetry, U. Ramakrishnan, P. Thatte, R. An (2019). Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation in India. Biological Conservation 237: 114-124.

6. Menon, T., H. Sridhar and G. Shahabuddin (2019). Effects of Extractive Use on Forest Birds in Western Himalayas: Role of Local and Landscape Factors. Forest Ecology and Management 448: 457-465.

7. Hudson, L.N. et al. 2014. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology & Evolution 4(24): 4701-4735. (International collaborative work)

8. Shahabuddin, G. & B. Lakshmi. 2014. Conservation-induced Displacement: Recent Perspectives from India. Environmental Justice 7(5):122-129.

9. Kumar, R., Ghazala Shahabuddin and Ajith Kumar (2011): How Good are Managed Forests at Conserving Native Woodpecker Communities? A study in sub-Himalayan Dipterocarp Forests of Northwest India. Biological Conservation 144(6): 1876-1884.

10, Shahabuddin, G. & M. Rao. (2010) Do Community-Conserved Areas Effectively Conserve Biodiversity? Global Insights and the Indian Context. Biological Conservation 143: 2926-2936.

11. Shahabuddin, G., R. Kumar and M. Shrivastava.( 2007). Creation of Inviolate Space: Lives, livelihoods and conflict in Sariska Tiger Reserve. Economic & Political Weekly Vol 42 (20): 1855-1862.

12. Kumar, R. and G. Shahabuddin (2006) Consequences of Rural Biomass Extraction for the Bird Community of an Indian Tropical Dry Forest: the Role of Vegetation Structure. Conservation & Society 4(4): 562-591.

13. Rangarajan, M. and G. Shahabuddin (2006). Displacement and relocation from Protected Areas: Towards a biological and historical synthesis. Conservation & Society 4(3): 359-378.

14. Shahabuddin, G., and R. Kumar. (2006) Influence of anthropogenic disturbance on birds of tropical dry forest: the role of vegetation structure. Animal Conservation 9: 404-413.

15. Kumar, R. and G. Shahabuddin (2005) Effects of biomass extraction on vegetation structure, diversity and composition of an Indian tropical dry forest. Environmental Conservation 32(3):1-12.

16. J. Terborgh, L. Lopez, P. Nunez, M. Rao, G. Shahabuddin, G. Orihuela, M. Riveros, R. Ascanio, G.H. Adler, T.D. Lambert, and L. Balbas. (2001) Ecological meltdown in predator-free forest fragments. Science November 30, 2001: 1917. 23-1926.

17. Shahabuddin, G and J. Terborgh. (1999). Frugivorous butterflies in Venezuelan forest fragments: Abundance, diversity and the effects of isolation. Journal of Tropical Ecology 15(6): 704-723.

  • New India Foundation Fellowship (2007);
  • Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship (1995-1997)

Undergraduate Courses:

  • Contemporary Environmental Challenges (FC);
  • Science, Society, and Sustainability ;
  • Conservation Policy in the Developing World;
  • Ecology, Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka