PD Dr. Alisher Mirzabaev

Research themes
  • Land use and food security
  • Renewable energy
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Ecosystem services
  • Agriculture, land use, climate change
Research countries
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Uzbekistan
  • Uganda
  • South Africa
  • Senegal
  • Mali
  • Niger
Research projects

Economics of Land Degradation, funded by BMZ

Bioenergy, Bioeconomy and Food security, funded by BMZ

The water-energy-food nexus: global, basin and local case studies of resource use efficiency under growing natural resource scarcity, funded by BMZ,

Integrated Water Governance Support System, funded by BMBF

Scientific contributions to IPCC Special report on Climate and LAnd, funded by BMBF

Additional Information:

For the list of my publications and their impact assessments, see my Google Scholar Profile and ResearchGate profile

Supervision of
ongoing doctoral theses



Arneth A., L. Olsson, A. Cowie, K. Erb, M. Hurlbert, W. Kurz, A. Mirzabaev and M Rounsevell.  2021.  Restoring degraded lands.  Annual Review of Environmental Resources, 46:569-599   . Review
Bekele RD, A Mirzabaev, D Mekonnen.  2021.  Adoption of Multiple Sustainable Land Management Practices among Irrigator Rural Farm Households of Ethiopia.  Land degradation and development, https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.4091   .
Kirui, O.K., Mirzabaev, A. & von Braun, J..  2021.  Assessment of land degradation ‘on the ground’ and from ‘above’.  Springer Nature Appl. Sci. , https://doi.org/10.1007/s42452-021-04314-z   .
Mirzabaev, A., Sacande, M., Motlagh, F., Shyrokaya A., and Martucci, A..  2021.  Economic efficiency and targeting of the African Great Green Wall.  Nature Sustainability, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00801-8   .
Stringer; L.C., A. Mirzabaev, T. A. Benjaminsen, R.M.B. Harris, M. Jafari, T.K. Lissner, N. Stevens, C. Tirado-von der Pahlen.  2021.  Climate change impacts on water security in global drylands.  One Earth, 4 (6)   : DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.05.010   .


Munoz, P., S. Zwick and A. Mirzabaev.  2020.  The impact of urbanization on Austria's carbon footprint.  Journal of Cleaner Production, DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.121326   .
Villamor G., D. Guta, A. Mirzabaev.  2020.  Gender-specific differences of smallholder farm households perspective of food-energy-land nexus frameworks in Ethiopia.  Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.491725   . (Open Access)  


Bekchanov M., Md. A.H. Mondal, A. de Alwis, and A. Mirzabaev.  2019.  Why adoption is slow despite promising potential of biogas technology for improving energy security and mitigating climate change in Sri Lanka?.  Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 105   : 378-390   . Further Information
Mirzabaev A, Wu J, Evans J, Garcia-Oliva F, Hussein I, Iqbal M, Kimutai J, Knowles T, Meza F, Nedjraoui D, Tena F, Türkeş M, Vázquez R, Weltz M.  2019.  Desertification.  An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. IPCC.   Further Information
Mussa E, Mirzabaev A., Admassie A, Rukundo E. and von Braun J.  2019.  Does childhood work impede long-term human capital accumulation? Empirical evidence from rural Ethiopia.  International Journal of Educational Development, 66   : 234-246   .


Beckhanov M and Mirzabaev A.  2018.  Circular economy of composting in Sri Lanka: Opportunities and challenges for reducing waste related pollution and improving soil health.  Journal of Cleaner Production, 202   : 1107-1119   .
Mirzabaev, A..  2018.  Improving the Resilience of Central Asian Agriculture to Weather Variability and Climate Change.  In: L. Lipper et al (eds.): Climate Smart Agriculture, Natural Resource Management and Policy 52. Springer.   477-495. 
Muli C, Gerber N, Sakketa T and Mirzabaev A.  2018.  Ecosystem tipping points due to variable water availability and cascading effects on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. ZEF Working Paper Series 174. 
Qadir, M., Schubert, S., Oster, J. D., Sposito, G., Minhas, P. S., Cheraghi, S. A. M., Murtaza G., Mirzabaev A., Muhammad Saqib.  2018.  High magnesium waters and soils: Emerging environmental and food security constraints.  Science of the Total Environment, 642   : 1108–1117   .
Villamor, G. B., Guta, D., Djanibekov, U., & Mirzabaev, A..  2018.  Gender specific perspectives among smallholder farm households on water-energy-food security nexus issues in Ethiopia (ZEF Discussion paper series No. 258). Bonn. Available at http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/27312. 


Guta, D.D., J. Jara, N.P. Adhikari, Q. Chen, V. Gaur and A. Mirzabaev.  2017.  Assessment of the Successes and Failures of Decentralized Energy Solutions and Implications for the Water–Energy–Food Security Nexus: Case Studies from Developing Countries.  Resources, 6(3), 24   . (Open Access)   Further Information
Krasilnikov P., A. Sorokin, A. Mirzabaev, O. Makarov, A. Strokov and S. Kiselev.  2017.  Economics of Land Degradation to Estimate Capital Value of Soil in Eurasia.  Global Soil Security, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-43394-3_21   : 237-246   .


Mirzabaev A.  2016.  Land degradation and sustainable land management innovations in Central Asia.  In: Gatzweiler F and von Braun J (eds.): Technological and institutional innovations for marginalized smallholders in agricultural development. Springer International Publishing.   213-224.  Further Information
Mirzabaev A, Ahmed M, Werner J, Pender J, Louhaichi M..  2016.  Rangelands of Central Asia: challenges and opportunities.  Journal of Arid Land, 8(1)   : 93-108   .
Nkonya E., Mirzabaev, A. and J. von Braun.  2016.  Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement - A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development.  Springer Open. Further Information


Mirzabaev, A., D. Guta, J. Goedecke, V. Gaur, J. Börner, D. Virchow, M. Denich and J. von Braun.  2015.  Bioenergy, food security and poverty reduction: trade-offs and synergies along the water–energy–food security nexus.  Water International, 40(5-6)   : 772-790   .
Mirzabaev, A., Nkonya, E., & von Braun, J.  2015.  Economics of sustainable land management.  Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 15   : 9-19   .
Mwale J and Mirzabaev A.  2015.  Agriculture, biofuels and watersheds in the waterenergy- food nexus: governance challenges at local and global scales.  Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems, 2(1)   : 91-93   . (Open Access)   Further Information
von Braun J and Mirzabaev A.  2015.  Small Farms: Changing Structures and Roles in Economic Development. ZEF Discussion paper series 204.  Download [PDF | 526.78KB]


Alisher Mirzabaev, Dawit Guta, Jann Goedecke, Varun Gaur, Jan Börner, Detlef Virchow, Manfred Denich and Joachim von Braun.  2014.  Bioenergy, Food Security and Poverty Reduction: Mitigating Tradeoffs and Promoting Synergies Along the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus. ZEF Working Paper Series (135). Bonn, Germany.  Further Information
Kirui O and Mirzabaev A.  2014.  Economics of Land Degradation in Eastern Africa. ZEF Working Paper 128. 
Quang Bao Le, Ephraim Nkonya and Alisher Mirzabaev.  2014.  Biomass Productivity-Based Mapping of Global Land Degradation Hotspots. ZEF Discussion Paper 193..  Abstract: Land degradation is a global problem affecting negatively the livelihoods and food security of billions of people, especially farmers and pastoralists in the developing countries. Eradicating extreme poverty without adequately addressing land degradation is highly unlikely. Given the importance and magnitude of the problem, there have been recurring efforts by the international community to identify the extent and severity of land degradation in global scale. As discussed in this paper, many previous studies were challenged by lack of appropriate data or shortcomings of their methodological approaches. In this paper, using global level remotely sensed vegetation index data, we identify the hotspots of land degradation in the world across major land cover types. In doing so, we use the long-term trend of inter-annual vegetation index as an indicator of biomass production decline or improvement. Besides the elimination of technical factors, confounding the relationship between the indicator and the biomass production of the land, we apply a methodology which accounts for masking effects of both inter-annual rainfall variation and atmospheric fertilization. We also delineate the areas where chemical fertilization could be hiding the inherent land degradation processes. Our findings show that land degradation hotpots cover about 29% of global land area and are happening in all agro-ecologies and land cover types. Land degradation is especially massive in grasslands. About 3.2 billion people reside in these degrading areas. However, the number of people affected by land degradation is likely to be higher as more people depend on the continuous flow of ecosystem goods and services from these affected areas. As we note in the paper, this figure, although, does not include all possible areas with degraded lands, it identifies those areas where land degradation is most acute and requires priority actions in both in-depth research and management measures to combat land degradation. Our findings indicate that, in fact, land improvement has also occurred in about 2.7% of global land area during the last three decades, providing a support that with appropriate actions land degradation trend could be reversed, and that the efforts to address land degradation need to be substantially increased, at least by a factor, to attain the vision of Zero Net Land Degradation. We also identify concrete aspects in which these results should be interpreted with caution, the limitations of this work and the key areas for future research. Further Information


Mirzabaev, A..  2013.  Impacts of Weather Variability and Climate Change on Agricultural Revenues in Central Asia.  Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, 52 (3)   : 179-194   .
Mirzabaev, A..  2013.  Climate Volatility and Change in Central Asia: Economic Impacts and Adaptation.  Doctoral thesis at  Agricultural Faculty, University of Bonn.  urn:nbn:de:hbz:5n-3238   Further Information
Nkonya, E., von Braun, J., Mirzabaev, A., Le B, Kwon H, Kirui O, Gerber N.  2013.  Economics of Land Degradation Initiative: Methods and Approach for Global and National Assessments ZEF-Discussion Papers on Development Policy No. 183, Center for Development Research (ZEF).  Download [PDF | 1.89MB]
Qadir, M., F. Vyshpolsky, K. Mukhamedjanov, U. Bekbaev, S. Ibatullin, T. Yuldashev, A.D. Noble, A. Karimov, A. Mirzabaev, and A. Aw-Hassan.  2013.  Enhancing the productivity of high-magnesium soil and water resources in Central Asia.  In: L. Mueller, A. Saparov, and G. Lischeid (eds.): Novel Measurement and Assessment Tools for Monitoring and Management of Land and Water Resources in Agricultural Landscapes of Central Asia. Springer International Publishing, Heidelberg, Germany.   465-474. 
von Braun, J, Gerber N, Mirzabaev A, Nkonya E..  2013.  The Economics of Land Degradation. ZEF Working paper 109. Bonn, Germany. 


Kienzler K.M., Lamers J.P.A., McDonald A., Mirzabaev A., Ibragimov,N., Egamberdiev, O., Ruzibaev, E., Akramkhanov A..  2012.  Conservation agriculture in Central Asia—What do we know and where do we go from here? Field Crops Res. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2011.12.008.  .
Mirzabaev, A. and D. Tsegai.  2012.  Effects of weather shocks on agricultural commodity prices in Central Asia..  Further Information


Nkonya, E., M. Winslow, M.S. Reed, M. Mortimore and A. Mirzabaev.  2011.  Monitoring and assessing the influence of social, economic and policy factors on sustainable land management in drylands. Land Degradation & Development 22: 240–247.  .


Vyshpolsky, F., K. Mukhamedjanov, U. Bekbaev, S. Ibatullin, T. Yuldashev, A.D. Noble, A. Mirzabaev, A. Aw-Hassan and M. Qadir.  2010.  Optimizing the rate and timing of phosphogypsum application to magnesium-affected soils for crop yield and water productivity enhancement.  Agricultural Water Management, 97 (9)   : 1277   .


Christmann, S. C. Martius, D. Bedoshvili, I. Bobojonov, C. Carli, K.Devkota, Z. Ibragimov, Z. Khalikulov, K. Kienzler, H. Manthrithilake, R. Mavlyanova, A. Mirzabaev, N. Nishanov, R. C. Sharma, B. Tashpulatova, K. Toderich, and M. Turdieva.  2009.  Food Security and Climate Change in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Discussion Paper. CGIAR Program for Central Asia and the Caucasus. 
Gupta, R., K. Kienzler, C. Martius, A. Mirzabaev, T. Oweis, E. de Pauw, M. Qadir, K. Shideed, R. Sommer, R. Thomas, K. Sayre, C. Carli, A. Saparov, M. Bekenov, S. Sanginov, M. Nepesov, and R. Ikramov.  2009.  Research Prospectus: A Vision for Sustainable Land Management Research in Central Asia. ICARDA Central Asia and Caucasus Program. Sustainable Agriculture in Central Asia and the Caucasus Series No.1. CGIAR-PFU, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  Further Information
Pender, J., A. Mirzabaev and E. Kato.  2009.  Economic Analysis of Land Management Options in Central Asia. Project Final Report submitted to ADB. IFPRI-ICARDA. 


Ibatullin S, V. Muhamedjanov, F. Vyshposky, N. Gritsenko, M. Musekenov , M. Qadir, A. Aw-Hassan, A. Mirzabaev, A. Karimov, and T. Yuldashev.  2007.  Recommendations of the socioeconomic evaluation of phosphogypsum use for improving soil fertility in Arys Turkestan, Kazakhstan. National Water Management Institute of Kazakhstan, Taraz. 
Medeubaev, P.M., D.A.Sydyk, M.N. Jamalbekov, S. Beniwal, M.K. Suleimenov, and A. Mirzabaev.  2007.  Recommendations on characteristics of safflower cultivation. Krasnyi Vodopad. Kazakhstan (Kaz). 
Paroda, R., S. Beniwal, R. Gupta, Z. Khalikulov and A. Mirzabaev (Editors).  2007.  Expert Consultation on Regional Research Needs Assessment in Central Asia and the Caucasus: From Issues to Actions. 


Mirzabaev, A.  2004.  Les Relations Commerciales entre la Turquie et les pays turcophones: Kazakhstan, Azerbaidjan, Turkmenistan, Ouzbekistan, Kirghizstan. Direction des Relations Economique Extérieures de France. Mission Economique d’Istanbul. 

(4) Lisa F. Schipper, Jonathan Ensor, Aditi Mukherji, Alisher Mirzabaev, Arabella Fraser, Blane Harvey, Edmond Totin, Matthias Garschagen, Minal Pathak, Philip Antwi-Agyei, Thomas Tanner & Zoha Shawoo.  Equity in climate scholarship: a manifesto for action.  Climate and Development, DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2021.1923308   .

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Alisher Mirzabaev

Senior Researcher


Department :
ZEF B: Department of Economic and Technological Change