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Dr Victor Squires AM

Advance Awards Education and Research Category Finalist

Dr Victor Squires AM is a desert ecology explorer, educator and researcher. At a time when the world is crying out for a greater understanding of Food Security and Land Usage under conditions of Climate Change, Dr Squires’ work provides a depth and breadth of critical insight. A former Dean of the Faculty of Natural Resources in the University of Adelaide, Dr Squires is an internationally recognised dryland management expert with a focus on ecological restoration of degraded areas and on desert ecology. He has contributed his knowledge through academic and practical fields, working directly with peers and mentoring students in desert or degraded rangelands in most of the main dry-lands of the world, covering 35 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Dr Squires work extends across the environments of China, Mongolia, East Africa, North Africa, Iran and Central Asia. He has authored and edited more than 20 books and peer reviewed over 180 papers. He has undertaken more than 10 major projects in the north-west provinces of China, especially in Xinjiang, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Gansu, and in neighbouring Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Having first travelled to China under the auspices of the Australian Academy of Science and the Academia Sinica in 1985, he lived in western China for 6 years. Dr Squires has been a regular contributor to the World Bank, to UN agencies including the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification, and to the United Nations Environment Program. He has also contributed to the ‘World Atlas of Desertification’ and influential work with the Asian Development Bank. Another notable achievement during Dr Squires career was voluntarily editing, and commissioning the authors of seven volumes of the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, involving over 1400 pages and 72 authors.

Throughout his career, Victor has acted as a Distinguished Guest Professor in the Institute of Desetification Studies in Beijing, the Foundation Director of the National Key Centre for Dryland Agriculture and Land Use Systems, an Adjunct Professor in the University of Arizona in Tucson and has also acted as a consultant to  the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and UN Agencies such as IFAD, FAO and the UNCCD focussing on Greater Central Asia that includes western China. 

“Magic happens when you least expect it.”