Justus Kithiia, Ph.D.


Program Manager & Associate Professor in Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values




Ph.D. in Environment and Geography
Macquarie University (Australia)

M.S. in Disaster/Emergency Planning and Management
University of Hertfordshire (United Kingdom)

B.S. in Food Technology and Nutrition
University of Nairobi (Kenya)


SFS 3020 Environmental Policy and Socioeconomics
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 3540 Rainforest Management Studies in Australia & New Zealand
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 3550 Techniques for Rainforest Research in Australia
(The School for Field Studies)

ENVG 111 Geographies of global change
(Macquarie University, Sydney)

GEOG 3521 Sustainable Urban Environments
(University of Sydney)

Back to All Staff

Faculty Profile

Justus has a PhD in Environment and Geography from Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia. His thesis constituted an interdisciplinary research, which used mixed methods to develop an understanding of how climate change adaptation processes could benefit from opportunities created by social capital and integrated planning approaches. Justus has an in-depth understanding of the interactions between human and ecological systems, gained through research, teaching and student mentoring. He is interested in interdisciplinary approaches where he can apply theories and applications from both natural and social sciences to understand environmental management and change, as well as local livelihood dynamics. In particular, he uses novel decision frameworks that support the sustainable use of cultural, economic and natural assets, and explores the negotiated processes through which communities self-organize to respond to changes in local conditions. He believes that, this understanding is critical in improving the ways in which investment in protecting community assets is identified, prioritized, commissioned and utilized. Justus has previously taught at Macquarie and Sydney Universities in Australia. He has an impressive publication record and is a reviewer of several journals.

Academics & Research

Professional Activities

2012 - present
Member, sustainability Alliance, FNQ
2010 - present
NCCARF-SEI Network Affiliate Researcher
2010 - present
Member of LOIZ-IGBP research group, enhancing resilience in Megacities in coastal areas
2009 - present
Member of Sydney Coastal council group

Research Projects

The research conducted at SFS field stations is designed to answer key questions related to critical and related social and environmental problems and to provide our hosts with detailed and accurate information for decision making and action. Faculty and student research projects are linked to the Center’s Five-Year Research Plan, which defines an overarching research directive.

An emerging interest in indigenous culture has led to the supply of a range of tourism activities. However, the question of what balance needs to be struck, to ensure that cultural experiences are not transformed into a product to be bought and sold, remains unanswered. In order to address this question, research under this project addresses several issues including; gap analysis in indigenous tourism demand, the attitudes of visitors to the exotic other and authenticity in indigenous tourism.

With high sequestration rates and numerous reforestation programs already established, the Atherton Tablelands could become a significant part of the carbon offset market. Understanding how these mitigation programs affect public and private communities and individuals, and the biodiversity benefits that may accrue, is vital to developing the most effective offset programs and participation rates. This research addresses the question about the level of carbon sequestration which can be expected from environmental plantings on the Atherton Tablelands, and establishes the economic value of the sequestered carbon.
Nature based tourism in the Wet Tropics region generates substantial employment within local communities and contributes significantly to local, state and national economies. At the same time, sustainability has become an increasingly important consideration for nature-based tourism given that continued development of visitor sites can create negative trajectories for both the environment and people. Hence, the challenge for policy makers, businesses, conservationists and other stakeholders is how to ensure access to and enjoyment of this world-class nature refuge and tourist destination in a sustainable manner. Research under this project will help to explore appropriate long term solutions for tourism in the Wet Tropics in view of its natural values.


Schram, A., Carlos J and Kithiia J (submitted-2014–see online version)
Kithiia, J. and Lyth A. (2011) Environment and urbanization. Vol.no. 23 No. 1 251-265
Kithiia, J. (2011). Current Opinions in Environmental Sustainability, 3 (2)
Kithiia, J (2010) (edited by Hannah Reid, Saleemul Huq and Laurel Murray), IIED, London.

Book Chapters

Kithiia J. and Lyth A. In Appelton, J (2013) Values in Sustainable Development. Routledge.
Kithiia J. (2013).IN Pelling M and Blackburn, S (eds)(2011)Megacities and the coast: Risk, resilience and transformation-Routledge, NY
Kithiia J (2010). In Reid, H. Huq, S and Murray, L (eds)(2010) Community champions: Adapting to climate challenges. IIED, United Kingdom.