Dr Rini Astuti

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In 2023, Rini joined CPAS as a Research Fellow for the ANU – UNESCO Chair on Science Communications for the Public Good. Her research focuses on operationalizing social science theory in studies of climate and environmental change, drawing upon human geography, political ecology, STS, and development studies, and is grounded empirically in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. Her previous research delved into how place-based discourses, politics, and actor agencies substantively reshape how neoliberal climate and environmental projects unfold in Southeast Asia, such as carbon offset through REDD+ and peatland restoration projects.

Before joining CPAS, Rini worked as an academic in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, and ANU - Crawford School of Public Policy. She received the 2019 APEC Women Scientist Fellowship, recognizing her contributions as a high-achieving female researcher in Asia Pacific Economic Countries. 

From 2021 – 2022, Rini led a work package as one of the chief investigators for a British Academy-funded project on the just transition in the Asia Pacific, investigating the barriers and opportunities associated with rural communities’ roles and aspirations in realizing just and inclusive decarbonization in the context of Indonesia’s rapidly changing agricultural sector. 

Rini’s transdisciplinary work successfully collaborates with civil society sectors, government bodies, and authors from different disciplinary backgrounds. She is a member of the Indonesia - KAVLI Frontiers of Science fellowship, organized by the Indonesian Academy of Sciences and the United States National Academy of Sciences, which acknowledges Indonesia’s young scholars’ contributions to interdisciplinary knowledge and collaboration.



  • Global Public Voices Fellowship 2021 - 2022.

Sponsored by Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University, this fellowship promotes scholars’ public engagement on campus, in natioal debates and around the world.

  • APEC Women in Research Fellowship in 2019.

The Australia APEC Women in Research Fellowships are intended for high-achieving female researchers from APEC economies for research opportunities in partnership with Australian education and research institutions. The fellowships aim to support women’s economic empowerment in the APEC region and raise the profile of female role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Rini Astuti is a Research Fellow at Crawford School of Public Policy. Her areas of expertise are in political ecology and climate change policies.

Research interests

As a Research Fellow for the ANU - UNESCO Chair on Science for the Public Good, my primary focus is on conceptualizing and investigating transformative development in the context of a changing climate. Through case studies in Indonesia and Australia, I aim to explore how we can place social equity issues at the heart of climate change and development discussions. Some of the topics I plan to investigate include: 

  • Inclusive knowledge systems in transformative change. Under this theme, my research will examine the diverse knowledge systems that can help drive transformative change. 
  • Energy transition and climate anticipatory governance. My work in this area will focus on the social-ecological implications of clean energy transitions, using a case study of critical minerals such as nickel and the emerging electric vehicle battery sector in Indonesia. I will particularly explore the impact of these transitions on communities living in mineral-rich landscapes. 
  • Social equity in emerging carbon governance. Research under this theme will analyse how emerging forms of carbon governance incorporate social equity issues into their design and implementation.


Selected journal articles

  • Astuti, R., and Fatimah, Y.A. (2023) Science in the Court: Expert knowledge and forest fires on Indonesia’s plantations. Environmental Science and Policy. 151 (103631).

  • Zhang, Y., West, P., Thakoli, L., …Astuti, R., Ampumuza, C., Agyei, Frank Kwakyu (2023) Governance and Conservation Effectiveness in Protected Areas and Indigenous and Locally Managed Areas. Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources. 48, 559 – 588.
  • Astuti, R., Miller, M., McGregor, A., Sukmara, M.D.P., Saputra, W., Sulistyo, Taylor, D. (2022) Making illegality visible: the governance dilemmas created by visualising illegal palm oil plantations in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Land Use Policy. 114, 105942.

  • Miller, M., Astuti, R., Hirsch, P., Marschke, M., Rigg, J., Saksena-Taylor, P., Suhardiman, D., Tan, Z.D., Taylor, D. Varkkey, H. (2022). Selective border permeability: Governing complex environmental issues through and beyond COVID-19. Political Geography. 102646.

  • Miller, M., Alfajri, A., Astuti, R., Grundy-Warr., C, Middleton., C, Tan, D.Z., Taylor, D. (2021) Hydrosocial rupture: causes and consequences for transboundary governance. Ecology and Society. 26(3):21.

  • Astuti, R. (2021) Governing the ungovernable: the politics of disciplining pulpwood and palm oil plantations in Indonesia’s tropical peatland. Geoforum (124) pp. 381 – 391.

  • Astuti, R. (2020) Fixing flammable forest: The scalar politics of peatland governance and restoration in Indonesia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 61 (2) pp. 283 – 300.

  • Mcgregor, A., Challies, E., Thomas, A., Astuti, R., Howson, P., Affif, S., Kindon, S., Bond, S. (2019) Sociocarbon cycles: Assembling and governing forest carbon in Indonesia. Geoforum (99) pp. 32 – 41.

  • Gibson K; Astuti R; Carnegie M; Chalernphon A; Dombroski K; Haryani AR; Hill A; Kehi B; Law L; Lyne I; McGregor A; Wianti NI; Wright S. (2018). Community Economies in Monsoon Asia: Keywords and Key Reflections. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 59 (1) pp. 3 – 1.

  • Astuti, R. & McGregor, A. (2017). Indigenous land claims or green grabs? Inclusions and exclusions within forest carbon politics in Indonesia. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 4(2), 1-22.

  • Astuti, R. & McGregor, A. (2015). Responding to the green economy: How REDD+ and the One Map Initiative are transforming forest governance in Indonesia. Third World Quarterly, 36(12), 2273 - 2293.

  • Astuti, R., & McGregor, A. (2015). Governing carbon, transforming forest politics: A case study of Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 56(1), 21-36.

  • McGregor, A., Challies, E., Howson, P., Astuti, R., Dixon, R., Haalboom, B., Gavin, M., Tacconi, L., & Afiff, S. (2015). Beyond carbon, more than forest? REDD+ governmentality in Indonesia. Environment and Planning A, 47(1), 138-155.

  • McGregor, A., Weaver, S., Challies, E., Howson, P., Astuti, R., & Haalboom, B. (2014). Practical critique: Bridging the gap between critical and practice-oriented REDD+ research communities. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 55(3), 277-291.

Book chapters

  • Nurhidayah, L., Astuti, R., Siburian, R., Herman, H. (forthcoming). Community based fire management and peatland restoration. In Environmental Governance in Indonesia. Springer Nature.
    * Trajano, J.C., Gong, L., Sembiring, M., Astuti, R. (2020) Marine environmental protection in the South China Sea. In Non-traditional security issues for ASEAN: Agendas for actions (pp. 94 – 138). Singapore: ISEAS Publishing.

  • Graham, V., Nurhidayah, L., & Astuti, R. (2019). Reducing emissions from tropical deforestation and forest degradation. In Reference module in earth systems and environmental sciences (pp. 1-9). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Academic commentaries and working papers

  • Astuti, R., Taylor, D., Miller, M., Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency gets extension despite failing to hits its target: what are the hurdles and next strategies?. The Conversation, December 2020.

  • Astuti, R., Varkkey H., Dienle, T.Z., Three things Jokowi could do better to stop forest fires and haze in Indonesia. The Conversation, August 2019. Republished in The Conversation Indonesia edition, August 2019.

  • Wibisana, A. G., Halimanjaya, A., Astuti, R. Menteri LHK Siti Nurbaya akan prioritaskan investasi 5 tahun kedepan. Berikut tanggapan akademisi. The Conversation Indonesia edition, October 2019.

  • Astuti, R. (2018). Researching peatland restoration and protection in Indonesia. TECSEA website. https://www.tecsea.info/post/researching-peatland-restoration-and-protec...

  • Ashfold, M., Yi, W. P., Varkkey, H., De Pretto, L., Miller, M.A., Astuti, R., Ives, C., Masran, S.A., Liu, F.H.M., Kumar, P.V., (2020) Public values and sentiments regarding transboundary haze in Singapore. https://ari.nus.edu.sg/public-values-and-sentiments/

  • Trajano, J.C., Gong, L., Sembiring, M., Astuti, R. Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea: Challenges and Prospects Part 2. RSIS Working Paper, Singapore, February 2018.

  • Trajano, J.C., Gong, L., Sembiring, M., Astuti, R. Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea: Challenges and Prospects Part I. RSIS Working Paper, Singapore, December 2017.

  • Astuti, R. Sustaining Our Marine Environment. in RSIS Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Year in Review 2017, Singapore, December 2017.

  • Astuti, R. Protecting our Seas: Marine Environmental Governance in the South China Sea, RSIS Commentary, Singapore, June 5, 2017.

  • Astuti, R. Digital Peatland Governance: Surveillance Technology for Haze Free Region, RSIS Commentary, Singapore, April 13, 2017. Republished in: The Jakarta Post print edition, April 27, 2017.

  • Astuti, R. (2016). Peatland Restoration for a Haze Free Southeast Asia: Review of Opportunities and Challenges, in RSIS Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Year in Review 2016, Singapore, December 2016.

  • Astuti, R. From Paris to Marrakech: Hopes High for Carbon Emissions Reduction, RSIS Commentary, Singapore, November 2, 2016.

  • Astuti, R. Towards a Haze Free ASEAN: Private Financing for Peatland Restoration, RSIS Commentary, October 10, 2016. Republished in: New Strait Times online edition, October 15, 2017.


  • Miller, M., Taylor, D., Astuti, R. Anti-haze Damming has Flow-on Effect, Op-ed, The Straits Times, December 2018.

  • Astuti, R. Governing Interests in REDD+ Policies, Op-ed, The Jakarta Post, October 2012.

  • Astuti, R. REDD+: Greening the Market or Marketing Nature, Op-ed, The Jakarta Post, November 2012.

  • Astuti, R. Forest Moratorium: Contesting Interests and the Road to a Sustainable and Just Policy, Op-ed, The Jakarta Post, March 2013.

  • Astuti, R. Doha Talks and Effective Global Climate Governance, Op-ed, The Jakarta Post, November 2012.