Varsha Vijay, Ph.D.

Conservation and Spatial Ecology

Photo of Varsha Vijay

Dr. Varsha Vijay, Technical Director at Science Based Targets Network, is a quantitative scientist with expertise across biodiversity, land, data/modelling, monitoring and corporate supply chains. In addition to technical expertise, she has direct experience working on justice and equity in conservation to develop solutions with a diverse group of collaborators and stakeholders, including communities, NGOs, companies, and government stakeholders. As Technical Director at SBTN, Varsha provides strategic oversight and leads the development of methods, tools, and guidance companies can use to set SBTs for nature

She completed her doctorate at Duke University in Environmental Sciences and was a fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a research center funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Tennessee. Prior to that she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), another NSF funded synthesis center at the University of Maryland.

Her research focuses on global biodiversity and anthropogenic land use using a socio-ecological systems perspective. The work fuses landscape ecology, remote sensing, mathematical modeling, and participatory research methods to develop more effective and just conservation solutions.

Her current research falls into three interrelated categories: identification and prediction of novel land use threats using remote sensing and spatial modeling, monitoring and evaluation of protected area effectiveness, and the impact of anthropogenic land use on species diversity.

Learn more by clicking the photos below.

Photo of tropical forest and oilpalm

Predicting novel threats

Photo of Danum Valley Conservation Area, Borneo

Protected area effectiveness

Cheetah crossing under fence

Land use impacts on species

(Photo credit: Florian Weise)
Varsha holding oil palm fruit

Research Philosophy

From my background in community-based participatory research, I believe that representation and access are cornerstones of effective conservation. I champion open science, community engagement, and consideration of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in my research and teaching program.

I acknowledge with gratitude the contributions of my past and current collaborators in local and indigenous communities, NGOs, and academic institutions in the United States and internationally.

To learn more about my work specifically focused on justice and equity in conservation please contact me at Kedge Environmental and Social Impact Consulting: