Academic Profile

Dr Mari E Mulyani received her DPhil from the University of Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment in 2014 with a thesis on climate change mitigation policy focusing on REDD+ institutions. Prior to Oxford, Mari graduated cum laude from Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia in 1995 in International Relations, and in 2009 from the University of Indonesia with a Masters Degree in the Environmental Sciences, also cum laude. Mari co-authored two books (published in the Indonesian language) on Climate Change Documents with Professor Sutamihardja, former Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1997-2007. The third book is in the process of completion.

Mari developed an elective module on ASEAN Environments for the Masters courses at Oxford University's School of Geography and the Environment, where she also teaches Philosophy of Science, Scientific Writing and Publishing, and Technical Report writing as part of the Professional Research Practice within the MSc/MPhil in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. Mari teaches a class on 'Government to Governance' and supervises Masters students on dissertations relating to environmental governance and institutions, including topics on community-based forest management, marine resource management and protected areas, forest fires and haze pollution, charcoal governance, illegal wildlife trade, human wildlife conflicts, and national food security.

Mari also lectures Masters and PhD students at the University of Indonesia's School of Environmental Science where she developed a module on 'Environmental Scientific writing and publishing', and initiated the Ambassador Lecture Series on the subject of Climate Change and Environmental Issues.

In 2018 Mari was instrumental in securing a partnership between Oxford Project South East Asia and the University of Indonesia's School of Environmental Science, to conduct a three day Symposium on South East Asian studies which attracted over four hundred participants of World academics and policy-makers. The Indonesian Vice President, Senior State Ministers, foreign Ambassadors, and the Regional Governor were amongst those participating.

Work Experience and Social Responsibility

During her years at Gadjah Mada University Mari worked as a reporter and anchor with a local radio station, this experience subsequently proving invaluable when she was retained by BBC World to assist their senior journalists covering the Aceh Tsunami disaster in 2004. After graduating in 1995 she held executive responsibility with two companies in Indonesia, the first a leading conglomerate from the private sector, and the second a German company with extensive international operations where she was Executive Director for ten years.

Mari has been actively involved in promoting the principles of social responsibility, whether in the value that can benefit corporations or within the community at large, and her many activities include establishing a school and scholarship programme for children disenfranchised from the Government of Indonesia's school system. Since 2004 she was also active in Indonesia's spiritual enlightenment movement, leading to her involvement in the production of a television talk series and hosting The Enlightenment Forum with Richard Claproth PhD' in 2010.


In 1991 Mari was one of sixteen students selected by the Government of Indonesia to represent the country in a scholarship youth exchange programme funded by the Australian Government. In 1994 she was one of forty students selected by the Government to represent Indonesia in Japan under the Leadership for the Twenty First Century programme. In this latter programme Mari was elected as the National Leader for Indonesia, subsequently becoming elected to represent the entire South East Asia region and deliver a final speech on their behalf.

Current Research

Mari's research focuses on the interplay between environmental policies and institutions developed at the international and regional levels and those at the national and sub-national levels, including informal institutions deeply embedded within local communities and indigenous people.

She has a long history of engagement with issues related to environmental and resource management, particularly with the political dynamic amongst policy actors and the underlying political economy governing the environment and natural resources in Indonesia. Moreover, community engagement with conservation and development projects, including their involvement in knowledge co-production for the purpose of environmental policy-making as well as community vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity, are at the forefront of her current research projects. She is also engaged with research determining the most effective technology to measure rice production in Indonesia with the potential to address the country's challenging problems in maintaining national food security.

Her current research projects cluster around the following themes:

1. Making Indonesia's Peatlands: Co-Production Of Science And Politics In Peatland Governance

Mari co-leads this research with an Oxford graduate Lauren Xie

Home to 47% of the world's tropical peatlands (Warren et al., 2017), Indonesia faces increasing pressure to manage its 20 million hectare of peatlands which catch fire every year. Given the serious environmental, health, and economic implications associated with peat fires, and the recent establishment of the National Peatland Restoration Agency, this research seeks to enhance understanding of how peatland has emerged as an object of governance. It combines the concepts of co-production (Jasanoff, 2004) and technological zones (Barry, 2006) in order to examine how knowledge production and politics have been intimately intertwined. Through a review of scientific literature on peatlands and key informant interviews, this study examines the uncertainties around peatland definitions and analyses the science and broader knowledge missing in the Agency's roadmap. The failure to date of the existing sciences to inform peatland governance suggests an opportunity for this research to improve knowledge production and peatland governance generally.

2. Remote sensing versus Area Sampling Frame method in paddy rice acreage estimation in Indramayu regency, West Java province, Indonesia

Mari co-leads this research with Laju Gandharum, a PhD candidate from the University of Indonesia; this project is funded by the University's research grant

Indonesia, with a population in 2019 of 267 million, faces a significant national security challenge due to the inaccuracy of the national rice data during the last twenty years. The government released rice harvest area and rice production data in 2018 through an Area Sampling Frame (ASF) method, a spatial statistic approach with very high accuracy but high operational costs. This research compares the ASF method and Remote sensing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Sentinel-1A to calculate the rice growth stages area. Indramayu Regency was selected as the area of study due to its role as the highest producer of rice in West Java province, with 1,391,928 tons of milled dry rice in 2018. Research findings will inform the production of rice harvest maps with increased accuracy, with the potential for application to another 415 regencies. This study contributes to the advancement of the ASF method for use by policy planners addressing rice data inaccuracy and the risks of either a surplus or shortage in the national food supply.

3. Mapping cultural ecosystem services in reducing the tsunami hazard within a coastal community in Pandeglang district, Banten province, Indonesia

Mari co-leads this research with Anindita Kusumawardhani, a PhD candidate from the University of Indonesia; this project is funded by the University's research grant

The ecosystem's resilience to a tsunami disaster is at the centre of marine and coastal management debate, particularly in tsunami-prone countries. A tsunami disaster's impact on coastal areas and communities, including human casualties, infrastructure damage, and ecosystem destruction, has been documented as one of the most severe in Indonesia during the past fifteen years. A tsunami on 22 December 2018, caused by the flank collapse of an active 'Anak Krakatoa' volcano, resulted in the severe ecosystem damage of Sunda Strait and the surrounding coasts located between the islands of Sumatera and Java. This article maps cultural ecosystem services (CES) and analyses the disaster's impact on the CES in Pandeglang, one of the five affected districts in Banten province which reported 207 human causalities and 11,453 displaced people. The Geographic Information System, interviews with forty-seven respondents from eleven villages, participatory mapping, and photo analysis were carried out. Research findings will inform future spatial planning and disaster risk reduction efforts for coastal areas, which is replicable for other tsunami-prone regions and countries with similar socio-cultural ecological settings.

4. Coastal Community Vulnerability Index: Assessing Fish Farming Community Vulnerability to Tidal Flooding (Rob) in Indramayu, West Java, Indonesia

Mari co-leads this research with Sepanie Putiamini, a PhD candidate from the University of Indonesia; this project is funded by the University's research grant

The complexity of social-environmental changes which cause coastal disasters, including the interactions of amongst others, climate and sea, human activities, and population diversity, has increasingly become the critical object of governance within disaster management. Indonesia, the world's largest archipelagic country with a coastline of 54,716 km (the second longest after Canada), is ranked the world's third most vulnerable country to flood hazards in Asia after China and India. This research examines the social vulnerability of a coastal fish farming community in Indramayu sub-district to tidal rob flooding, a unique coastal inundation which occurs repeatedly on the North Coast of Java. A context-specific 'Social Vulnerability Index' was developed to assess more accurately the community's vulnerability to repeated and regular flooding. This study seeks to discern how the conceptual linkage of vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity takes shape within the case study area prone to repeated disasters. Theoretically, the repeated and regular occurrence of hazards should provide the exposure necessary for the social system to learn how to absorb disturbance, to respond and adapt to changes, and hence increase resilience and reduce the scale of the impact of disasters. This was not the case which suggested that an accurate measurement of a community's social vulnerability had not been conducted appropriately, resulting in ineffective government measures and strategies towards disaster risk reduction. This study aims to discern the main factors determining this phenomenon. Research findings will provide a more-accurate measurement of local vulnerability to contribute policy recommendations for disaster risk reduction management.


  • MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management: Professional Research Practice

    As part of the module Mari teaches classes on Philosophy of Science, Academic Writing and Publishing, and Technical report Writing.

  • MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management: Conservation Governance

    As part of the module, Mari teaches classes on 'Government to Governance'.

  • All MScs: ASEAN Environments elective

    This Module explores the political dynamics amongst policy actors and the underlying political economy that governs the South East Asian region's environment and natural resources. It asks: what is the future for the environment in a region whose countries strive to become 'developed' yet are undergoing rapid structural, political, and economic change? It also examines the relationship between the path-dependence of the countries' political economy and environmental decline, and its impact on the well-being of local people.

Selected Publications


  • Anand, M. and Mulyani, M. (2020) Advancing 'Environmental Subjectivity' in the realm of neoliberal forest governance: Conservation subject creation in the Lokkere Reserve Forest, India. Geoforum, 110: 106-115.
  • Mulyani, M. and Jepson, P. (2016) "Does the 'One Map Initiative' Represent a New Path for Forest Mapping in Indonesia? Assessing the Contribution of the REDD+ Initiative in Effecting Forest Governance Reform." Forests 8.1 (2016): 14.
  • Mulyani, M. and Jepson, P. (2015) Social learning through a REDD+ 'village agreement': insights from the Kalimantan Forests Climate Partnership (KFCP) in Indonesia. Asia Pacific View Point, 56(1): 79-95.
  • Ituarte-Lima, C., McDermott, C.L. and Mulyani, M. (2014) Assessing equity in national legal frameworks for REDD+: The case of Indonesia. Environmental Science and Policy.
  • Mulyani, M. and Jepson, P. (2013) REDD+ and forest governance in Indonesia: a multistakeholder study of perceived challenges and opportunities. Journal of Environment and Development, 22(3): 261-283.
  • McDermott, C.L., van Asselt, H., Streck, C., Assembe, S., Duchelle, A., Haug, C., Humphreys, D., Mulyani, M., Silori, C., Suzuki, R., Zelli, F., Frick, S., Lentini, M., Luintel, H. and Salimon, C. (2012) Governance for REDD+, forest management and biodiversity: existing approaches and future options. Chapter 5 in, Parrotta, J., Christoph, C. and Mansourie, S. (eds.) Understanding Relationships Between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People. IUFRO, Vienna. Commissioned by Global Forest Expert Panel, The Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
  • Sutamihardja and Mulyani (2011) Climate Change: Dokumen Penting Perubahan Iklim: IPCC, UNFCCC, dan Protokol Kyoto. Climate Change: Important Documents on Climate Change (Book 2). Yayasan Pasir Luhur, Bogor, Indonesia.
  • Sutamihardja and Mulyani (2009) Climate Change: Dokumen-Dokumen Penting Perubahan Iklim. Climate Change: Important Documents on Climate Change (Book 1). Yayasan Pasir Luhur, Bogor, Indonesia.

Popular Articles

  • Mulyani, M. (2010) Flashing blue lights are a symptom of Indonesia's arrested development. Jakarta Globe, July 2010. Mulyani, M. (2009) Flashing blue lights and privilege in the republic. Maximillian Magazine, Jakarta, Indonesia. (Addresses the abuse of privilege in an emerging democracy).
  • Mulyani, M. (2007) The Garuda Indonesia. Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Indonesia. (Addresses social responsibility and abuse of power in the Republic).
  • Mulyani, M. (2006) The New Colonialist. Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Indonesia. (Addresses social responsibility and class in the post-colonial era).
  • Mulyani, M. (2004) Hue and cry. Cover Magazine, Australia and Hong Kong. (Addresses social responsibility and the consumer in a supply-led industry).
  • Mulyani, M. (2004) Retrospective reflections and forward thinking. Cover Magazine, Australia and Hong Kong. (Addresses social responsibility and the consumer in a supply-led industry).

Speaking Engagements and Conference Papers

  • Mulyani, M. (2018) Accessing forest governance through a Patron-Client Structure. The 6th South East Asia Symposium, University of Indonesia, March 2018.
  • Mulyani, M. (2017) Forest Fires and Trans-boundary Haze Pollution. Speaker at a roundtable of 'Justice, Welfare and the Environment' alongside Dr John McCarthy, Dr Constance McDermott, Dr Gillian Petrokofsky, and June Rubis. The 10th EuroSeas, Oxford University, 16-18 August 2017 (addresses the challenge faced by Indonesia and ASEAN to solve the underlying issues of forest fires and trans-boundary haze pollution).
  • Mulyani, M. (2016) Indonesia's Religion-based by-laws: how do they affect women's freedom and their socio-cultural rights? Speaker and panel leader at the Anglo-Indonesian Society Forum, Indonesian Embassy London, 25 May 2016 (addresses the issue of Local Government's religion-influenced by-laws (Peraturan Daerah), particularly those concerning 'morality' and 'clothing').
  • Mulyani, M. (2016) Energy Development in Southeast Asia. Speaker at a roundtable alongside, amongst others, Sir Tim Lankester, Private Secretary to two successive Prime Ministers, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher and Permanent Secretary at the Overseas Development Administration (now DFID) from 1989 to 1994. The 5th South East Asia Symposium, Oxford University, Thursday 14 April (addresses Indonesia's energy challenges and development).
  • Mulyani, M. (2015) REDD+ 'One Map Initiative'; a new institutional path for Indonesia's forests and land management? South East Asia Symposium. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Mulyani, M. (2013) Institutional landscape: how the REDD+ mechanism impacts indigenous institutions through participatory land-mapping and village agreements. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2013. Royal Geographical Society. London, UK.
  • Mulyani, M. (2013) The interplay between REDD+ initiatives with village institutions: A case study in seven villages within the area of Kalimantan Forest Carbon Partnership (KFCP)'s demonstration activity in central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Euro South East Asia Study 2013. Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Mulyani, M. (2013) Policy Networks and Governance Reform in Indonesia: a Study of the Policy-making Process for the National REDD+ Strategy. South East Asian Symposium 2013. Oxford, UK.
  • Mulyani, M. (2013) Policy Networks: a Study of the Policy-making Process for the National REDD+ Strategy. South East Asia Seminar 2013. Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford, UK.
  • Mulyani, M. (2013) The power of Transnational Networks in promoting good governance in REDD+ policy making in Indonesia: a case study of the development of Indonesia's National Strategy for REDD+. The 2013 Association of American Geographer (AAG) Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, California, USA.
  • Sutamihardja and Mulyani. M. (2010) Biodiversity and the Threat of Climate Change. International meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Bali, Indonesia.