Brian Harrison Walker

By Helen Wolff May 10th, 2018


Brian Harrison Walker was born and raised in Zimbabwe, obtained his first degree in agriculture in South Africa, and his Ph.D. in ecology in Sakatchewan, Canada, in 1968.

His interests are in ecosystem function and dynamics, particularly in regard to resilience of tropical savannas and rangelands. He lectured at the University of Zimbabwe for six years and was then Professor of Botany and Director of the Centre for Resource Ecology at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg until 1985, when he moved to Australia as Chief of the CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology. He stood down from that position in 1999.

He was leader of the International Decade of the Tropics Program on Responses of Savannas to Stress and Disturbance from 1984 to 1990, and of the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems Project of the IGBP from 1989 to 1998, and is a past Chair of the Board of the Beijer International Institute for Ecological Economics in the Swedish Academy of Science.


He has co-authored two books, edited seven, written over 150 scientific papers and is on the editorial boards of five international journals.

Awards and Fellowships

2013 Fellow, Australian Academy of Science
2007 (Joint recipient) Nobel Peace Prize awarded to IPCC
2004 (Joint recipient) Ecological Society of America Sustainability Award
2003 Australian Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society in Ecology
2001 Foreign Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry
1999 Ecological Society of Australia Gold Medal
1991 Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
1986 Distinguished Graduate in Agriculture Award, University of Saskatchewan, 75th Anniversary of the College of Agriculture
1971 Charles Bullard Research Fellow, Harvard University
1964-1968  Canadian Commonwealth Scholar

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