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Nanjappa Ashwath

PhD (Ecophysiology) (ANU Canberra), MSc (Ag) & BSc (Ag) (UAS Bangalore), MAIAST, MEIANZ
Associate Professor-121255
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Centre for Intelligent Systems
(07) 4930 9595
+61452437226 Alternative Phone
Rockhampton North
CQIRP, Ibis Avenue - Bldg 361/ Room 1.16
QLD 4701, Australia
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About Me

Beauty Leaf Tree for biodiesel production

Associate Professor Nanjappa Ashwath is an active researcher, lecturer and a post graduate supervisor. His research focuses on Australian plants, which ranges from seed biology, tissue culture, genetics, plant propagation, contaminated site remediation to ecosystem reconstruction. He teaches into botany, land management, landscape ecology and environmental science courses. He currently supervises more than 10 PhD and Master’s students most of which come from developing countries. Assoc Prof Ashwath has won Vice Chancellor’s award for research. Prior to joining CQUni he had served as a Research Scientist at CSIRO and at the federal Environmental Protection Agency.


Assoc Prof Ashwath has a PhD from the Australian National University and a Master and Bachelor degrees in Agriculture. He specializes in selecting Australian native plants for land management and rehabilitation and biofuel production. Over the past 30 years, he has worked on mine site rehabilitation, mangrove restoration, landfill remediation, heavy metal contaminated site remediation and rare and threatened plant conservation. He is currently involved in selecting native plants for biofuel production, and quantifying the benefits of adding biochar to improve plant growth, carbon sequestration and soil health.


He was one of the Chief Investigators of an ARC sponsored national phytocapping project ($3.3 million) and was the head of the Revegetation Research Division at federal EPA, Jabiru. He is the recipient of Vice Chancellor’s award for research (CQUniversity) and Rotary University Fellowship that was targeted to promote Australian plants in India. Assoc Prof Ashwath has produced over 200 scientific publications and attracted more than $5 million research grants. He is a member of several professional organisations and assists community groups with plant identification and plant selection for land rehabilitation.

Bioethanol from Agave tequilana


Vice Chancellor's Award for Research

Rotary Foundation University Teaching Fellowship   

Professional Experience

Chair - School of Medical & Applied Sciences Research Committee (2010-2012)

Associate Director - Natural Resources (Faculty of Science, Engineering & Health)

PhD [ANU Canberra], MSc (Agri), BSc (Agri) [UAS Bangalore], MAIST, MEIANZ 

Associate Professor, Centre for Plant & Water Science, School of Medical & Applied Sciences, CQUniversity, Rockhampton (Since 1995)

Head, Revegetation Section, Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist, Environment Australia, Jabiru, Northern Territory (1990-95)

Research Scientist, CSIRO Forestry, Canberra & Brisbane (1986-90)

PhD Scholar, Australian National University (ANU), Department of Forestry, Canberra (1982-86) 

Senior Research Fellow, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore (1980-82)

Associate Professor      - CQUniveristy
Senior Lecturer             - CQUniverstiy
Lecturer                        - CQUniversity

Research Scientist         - Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist

Research Scientist         - CSIRO Brisbane
Experimental Scientist    - CSIRO Canberra

Senior Research Fellow - University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore

Professional Memberships

Australian Institute of Agricultural Science & Technology (AIAST)

Environmental Institute of Australia & New Zealand (EIANZ)

Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)

American Society for Surface Mining & Reclamation (ASSMR)

Australian Society of Plant Scientists (ASPS)

Society for Growing Australian Plants (SGAP) 

Society for Conservation Biology (SCB)


Associate Professor 

School of Medical & Applied Sciences (SMAS) and Centre for Plant & Water Sciences (CPWS) 

Borad Member



CQUni Academic Board

School Research Committee (2010-2012) 

Terrestrial Botany





Land Management & Rehabilitation

Landscape Ecology & Management

Waste Minimisation and Cleaner Production

Environmental Management Research Projects A&B 


Divisional Research Committee (FRC)


Centre for Plant & Water Science Planning and Development Committee (P&DC) 


CQU's Research Higher Degrees Committee (RHDC) 




CQU expert

CQU's Research Committee of the Academic Board (ReCAB)

CQUni's Multifaith Reference Group

CQUni's Sustainable Committee

Australian Plants/ Phytoremediation/ Biofuels/ Phytocapping/ Revegetation/ Restoration

CQU expert

Native Plant Identification and Propagation 

Professional Interests

Australian native plant identification and propagation

Conservation of rare and threatened plant species

Revegetation of degraded lands - mine spoils, heavy metal contaminated sites, mangroves, landfills

Match making: plant to soil and the environment

Supervising post graduate research students

Interacting with scientists and entrepreneurs


Key Achievements

ARC Linkage grant on Landfill Phytocapping

ARC Linkage grant on Phytoremediation of arsenic contaminated soils

NHT grant for developing Native Plant Seedbank for Central Queensland

ARC LEIF grants- Growth cabinets (CQU) and ICP-MassSpec-HPLC (UniQld) 

Establishment of revegetation strategies for coal mine sites

Development of an innovative method of remediating landfills (Phytocapping)

Establishment of field demonstration trials of phytocapping in Brisbane, Noosa, Rockhampton, Townsville, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth

Completion of PhD and Masters degrees by students (15)

Successful completion of research projects (>50)

Development of undergraduate and post graduate courses (6)

Publication of books, research papers and technical reports (150)

Attraction of research funds- both NCG and industry (>5 million)

Liaison with various industry partners and government organisations (city councils, mining companies, govt depts, Universities, CSIRO, research development corporations and other funding agencies)

Conservation of rare and threatened plant species of Central Queensland- Alectryon ramiflorus, Samadera bidwillii

Restoration of distrubed mangrove habitats - Koorana Crocodile Farm, Gladstone Port Authority

Development of revegetation practices for uranium mines

Stabilisation of railway embankments using green technology

Computer Software

Fesuk S, Shaw R and Ashwath N (2003). Grasses of Northern Territory – A Lucid key for identification of selected grasses of NT. Primary Industries Research Centre, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia.

Ashwath N and Fesuk S (2004). Electronic students key for identification of native plants of Central Queensland. Primary Industries Research Centre, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia.

Ashwath N (1991). Kakadu National Park. A video (10 minutes). Produced in collaboration with the ABC Television, Darwin.


Associate Editor: International Journal of  Environmental Science and Technology. Inderscience Enterprises Ltd., UK.

Consultancy Work


Plant Propagation

Plant Tissue Culture

Biodiesel Testing

Soil Testing

Minesite Rehabilitation

Vegetation Survey

Environmental Impact Assessment

Seed testing

Microbiological assessment

Waste management:

Contaminated site remediation: phytoremediation, phytocapping

Organising Training sessions on the above topics

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecological Applications
  • Environmental Biotechnology

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
Checking For Students Supervised
Research Interests
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Science and Management - Environmental Rehabilitation (excl. Bioremediation)
Expertise • Selection of native plants for biofuel production • Bioethanol production from Agave species • Phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated sites • Phytocapping of municipal landfills • Mine site rehabilitation • Biodiversity conservation • Biochar effects on plant production and soil health • Plant tissue culture and genetic studies • Productive use of waste lands • Solid waste management • Waste to bioenergy conversion • Supervision of research students Major Projects • Phytocapping of landfill sites- National collaborative project (ARC linkage with 5 other universities, CSIRO and the WMAA) • Biodiesel production from beauty leaf tree (RIRDC) • Phytoremediation of arsenic contaminated soils using Chinese Brake Fern (ARC) • Native plant seedbank for Central Queensland (NHT) • Revegetation of coal mine sites (Anglocoal) • Conservation of Samadera bidwillii (Callide mine) • Revegetation of high voltage power line corridors (Powerlink)

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